Greater Greater Washington

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Breakfast tweets: Drops on Metro


Photo by nevermindtheend on Flickr.
  • Weekend ridership falls on Metro after aggressive trackwork starts (Examiner, @kytja, @perkinsms)
  • Crime on Metro drops in 3rd quarter of 2011 (Post, @vebah)
  • A group of senators is pushing to extend the commuter tax benefit before it runs out (The Hill, @ajfroggie)
  • Even the Competitive Enterprise Institute opposes GOP plan to subsidize roads with oil drilling revenue (National Review, @MilesGrant)
  • Study shows WI "non-users fork over $779 per household for roads, as opposed to $50 for transit" (Streetsblog, @MilesGrant)
  • Whole Foods in Riverdale Park delayed again; town unhappy with proposed connection to surrounding n'hoods (Patch, @justupthepike)
  • In DC, you're 4x more likely to have somebody drive into you on purpose than anywhere else on the planet (NPR, @cityglaze)
  • Staunton News Leader calls on @BobMcDonnell to support a higher gas tax (News Leader, @MilesGrant)
  • London Tube Map made out of Drinking Straws by artist Kyle Bean (The Slow Hunch, @nickgrossman, @perkinsms)
  • Gabe Klein grew up in a Virginia ashram and played D&D with Rivers Cuomo (Grid Chicago, @Naparstek, @bogrosemary)
David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I still don't understand the purpose of having twitter handles if they aren't even actual links to the twitter accounts as they would be on twitter.

by selxic on Dec 14, 2011 8:42 am • linkreport

I thought the tweet versions of this were temporary, when does it go back to normal?

by Joe on Dec 14, 2011 9:31 am • linkreport

1. Ditch the twitter form.

2. Ridership falling during track work. Have you tried getting around during track work. It's a nightmare. Commute time doubles or triples. Closing stations doesn't work. Single tracking doesn't work. It's past time to look at constructing third and fourth tracks to eliminate this idiocy for the next generation of transit riders.

by Redline SOS on Dec 14, 2011 9:37 am • linkreport

I'm also not a fan of the new "style" but I understand it might be easier to put together.

There was some discussion on WMATA ridership on the budget item a few days ago. I don't think trackwork came up, although "service" clearly did. The shortfall is about 50K riders a week -- or maybe around 2.6M a year.

Shutting down the red or orange line for two weeks and doing the work might be a better alternative.

by charlie on Dec 14, 2011 9:44 am • linkreport

"Shutting down the red or orange line for two weeks and doing the work might be a better alternative."

Other than the fact that it would be disastrous for people who rely on those lines (for work, school, general transportation, etc.) that would be a great idea.

by The Heights on Dec 14, 2011 9:52 am • linkreport

@Redline

Ridership falling during track work. Have you tried getting around during track work. It's a nightmare. Commute time doubles or triples. Closing stations doesn't work. Single tracking doesn't work. It's past time to look at constructing third and fourth tracks to eliminate this idiocy for the next generation of transit riders.

Track delays for maintenance are so bad that you're complaining vociferously, yet you think that somehow adding extra tracks to the existing system wouldn't involve massive construction-related delays?

by Alex B. on Dec 14, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

@TheHeights; true; but a well advertised, smaller shutdown might be easier than this year long service slowdown.

Cities can deal with emergiencies. The question is how long -- a weekend, a week, a month? I am not sure where the breaking point is hiding.

by charlie on Dec 14, 2011 9:56 am • linkreport

There seems to be a defensiveness from WMATA about the ridership decline being tied to the track work. Obviously the track work increases time to get around the system and so would make travel on those lines on those weekends less appealing. But the track work is necessary and temporary and I don't see any better alternative, so they should just be upfront about its effect on ridership.

Otherwise, it's good to see Metro Transit Police improving its crime-fighting capabilities. Five out of every million rides involving a crime seems like a pretty safe system.

by DCster on Dec 14, 2011 9:59 am • linkreport

@Redline SOS:

I think the problem is track work coupled with already abysmally long transfer times on weekends. Speaking for myself, it's rare that I take Metro into town on a weekend unless I'm taking a straight shot in on the Yellow Line; I don't want to wait, and wait, and wait for a transfer in the first place. Track work merely exacerbates the issue.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Dec 14, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

@Alex B

It's the same logic that leads people to say "Single-tracking every day?! Why won't WMATA step up and show us they're doing something to fix the system?!"

@RedlineSOS
Third and fourth tracks are extremely expensive for very little benefit. We should focus that money on improved capacity through the city core with separate lines rather than duplicating existing services for a short-term benefit. Track work sucks right now, but that's because we're playing catch-up after years of neglected maintenance. Eventually track work will be able to be reduced significantly.

@charlie
Shutting down entire lines for weeks is completely unfeasible and I'm not sure how it would be "better" than the current scheduled interruptions which only happen off-peak. Good luck selling a line closure to people who don't have another way to get to work, or people who drive and would see increased congestion. Why would it be better at all?

by MLD on Dec 14, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

Re: Ridership

If the hurricane really did wipe out most of a weekend's ridership, then that would basically explain all of the Q3 decline. Add in 300K trips and ridership would have increased slightly.

Again, regular people could actually figure this out if they posted daily ridership numbers like they used to!

by MLD on Dec 14, 2011 10:15 am • linkreport

Does anyone actually believe that Washington DC drivers are 4Xs as likely to purposely collide with another car? Does anyone actually check crazy statements?

The survey page: http://tinyurl.com/lxts5n

The description is fundamentally wrong since the survey is on 25 US metro areas.

As one might guess, the percentage of drivers self-reporting that they purposely slammed into another car is very small: the national estimate is 1%. Oh ... the analysts report a +/- 10% margin of error -- never mind that this bound includes negative numbers -- for the Washington DC estimate of 4%.

BTW, the survey concludes that Washington DC is the 6th _most_ courteous metro area in 2009 after being the 5th _least_ courteous metro area in 2008.

http://tinyurl.com/lgpq4e

by Geof Gee on Dec 14, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

@MLD

"Third and fourth tracks are extremely expensive for very little benefit."

I won't argue that it would be expensive, but why do you say there is no benefit? @RedlineSOS pointed out one, which is that track work can take place without disrupting the line. Another one is having express lines. It would be of great benefit to the region and increase ridership. One example of an express would be when the silver line opens and having an express from Dulles to Metro Center. That being said, I don't think that there will ever be a third or fourth lines in Metro. But one can dream, can't they...

by dc denizen on Dec 14, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

Again, you can't just add a third and/or fourth track to the existing system. It can't be done.

If you are arguing for that, you are essentially arguing to completely destroy the existing system and rebuild it in place with more tracks. How's that going to work for you with construction delays?

by Alex B. on Dec 14, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

I don't understand why you even bothered linking to that inane Examiner article about ridership. The "journalist" interviewed an "ex-executive" who hides behind a shield of anonymity to spout personal opinions. Why not just interview my 6 year-old neighbor?

by OX4 on Dec 14, 2011 11:04 am • linkreport

RE: "In DC, you're 4x more likely to have somebody drive into you on purpose than anywhere else on the planet"

Clarification... an intentional collision as a result of road rage. There are plenty of non-road rage intentional collisions: parallel parking being most common but also the "Boston Bump" that often occurs in lieu of using a horn to get a driver's attention.

by Bossi on Dec 14, 2011 12:51 pm • linkreport

I thought the tweet versions of this were temporary, when does it go back to normal?
by Joe on Dec 14, 2011 9:31 am

I agree. It was too general (broad but not deep) before, this is worse.

Does anyone actually believe that Washington DC drivers are 4Xs as likely to purposely collide with another car? Does anyone actually check crazy statements?

The linked article is so ignorant. It reduces road rage to some new-fangled disorder and recommends anti-depressants.

by Jazzy on Dec 14, 2011 1:34 pm • linkreport

On the format-

If it's a matter of it being vastly easier to just arrange tweets & that's what it takes to keep the links coming: I'm all for it. Though I agree with selxic that it'd be nice to link to the tweet or at least to the users.

But if we can go back to the old format without taxing the editors too much... I'd absolutely support that. I was quite fond of the greater summary/description as well as the extra nod to more coherent use of the English language.

by Bossi on Dec 14, 2011 5:10 pm • linkreport

As a frequent Metro Rider I appreciate that sites like Greater Greater Washington keep a spotlight on Metro performance. But at some point we have to get to the root cause of the problem, which unfortunately for me and the all the rest is reflected in the morning mirror. The Shanghai Metro wasn’t built until the mid 90’s yet it is now larger than NYC subway and it’s a modern first class subway system. How can that happen? How can the subway system in the capital of the U.S.A, and across this country be so far from number one, so outclassed, that they are not even in contention as also-rans. Well China as most civilized countries outspends the U.S. on public transportation by orders of magnitude. Yes, orders of magnitude. The budget just for Beijing city in 150 billion for the next 5 years. U.S. annual public transportation spending is ~2 billion for the entire country! Why? Because we the citizens have allowed our government to squander trillions on banksters and Duke Cunningham style contracts, while starving our public transportation systems. Until we address the root cause of the public transportation problems in this country, I’m afraid things will only get worse on our daily commutes.

by Root Cause on Dec 20, 2011 7:42 pm • linkreport

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