The Good-Weather Transportation System

Weather forecasters predict that Washington, DC will get as much as two feet of snow tonight through Sunday morning. Fortunately, Washington has Metrorail, an “all-weather” transportation system.


Some buses might get stuck, so we’ll shut the whole system down. Photo taken during 2009 snowstorm by Mr.TinDC.

Metro officials’ faith in their transit system in the face of bad weather is revealed by their decision to preemptively shut it down completely for the weekend. Though the big storm isn’t predicted to start until after 3 pm today, buses are running on limited schedules and will stop service completely at 5 pm, paratransit will shut down at 6 pm, and trains will run until 11 pm and not restart until Monday morning.

That’s the kind of bravery we can count on from our intrepid transit providers, who promise to spend billions of dollars of our money but don’t promise to provide decent service in exchange. Seriously, considering that the region was practically shut down after having just one inch of snow Wednesday, you’d think the Metro system that is already losing riders due to service breakdowns would make a little more effort to provide back-up transportation if only to generate positive publicity.

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6 thoughts on “The Good-Weather Transportation System

  1. OFP2003

    I was waiting on a train the other day, one had just broken. The public address system came on with another “elevator outage announcement” but the speaker was faulty and that was all I could hear. The station had huge water stains/calcium build-up on the walls, was filthy and dark (okay it’s always been dark). I was suddenly struck with a realization that this system really was failing. News report of a train that “came apart” recently. Why am I still paying $12/day to ride this??? Answer: Because someone else is doing the driving!!

    They are parking the trains in the tunnels during the blizzard.

  2. prk166

    Given the scope of the storm, it would seem Metro is doing the prudent thing. If something went wrong – and given the poor state of repair the system is in it’s likely – emergency crews would have a difficult time responding.

  3. Sandy Teal

    I get the Antiplanner calling Metro on its sloganeering. That is fine.

    But Metro should be applauded now for realizing its limitations. People have to bend to nature, even in DC and NYC. There is a huge arrogance in modern society that everything can be scheduled regardless of weather and nature. It is only rational, and probably good zen, to shut everything down for a few days every year or two because of natural events.

    When a few years ago the Iceland volcano shut down air traffic across Europe and the Atlantic, there were a lot of new ideas and experiences generated. Much smarter than the “invincible” Titanic and living below sea level in New Orleans.

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