Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is the Washington Metro-Rail holding Virginia commuters hostage?

A little context.

The commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington Metro are locked in a struggle over funding. Metro wants Virginia to cough up a whole bunch of money for system upgrades, while Governor McDonnell is insisting that two board members be appointed by Virginia.

I’m sure this is just one of those amazing coincidences, but I didn’t ride on a single train last week that had air conditioning (I commute on the orange line from Vienna, VA to Washington, D.C.) This situation has been especially wretched during the evening rush hour, with over-crowded trains – standing room only – having temperatures that were the same, or higher, than the outside air temperatures (this past week, the thermometer has registered in the mid to upper 90s). It’s a miracle that no one has experienced heat stroke yet. And, oh yes, by the way, Metro is preparing to launch its largest one-time fare increase in history (typical government operation: service deteriorates, charge more for it).

To me, it is simply not credible that the air conditioning systems on ten separate trains suddenly “malfunctioned”. I have complained to Metro, and have received no, let alone a satisfactory, explanation of the sauna-on-rails service last week. Until I get an explanation, I’m as justified in believing this to be a thuggish attempt by a bloated, top-heavy, government-run bureaucracy to extort funding from Virginia taxpayers by subjecting Virginia Metro riders to agonizing trips in mobile sweat boxes, as I would be in viewing the execrable service as being merely the result of “normal” mechanical failure.


JeffS said...

Extortion from anyone in DC wouldn't surprise me, Paco.

richard mcenroe said...

Reminds me of the good ol LIRR back in the 70's.

Boy on a bike said...

We used to have the same here in Sydney in the good old days of very thuggish Labor transport ministers - funny how the conservative voting suburbs never got the air conditioned rolling stock for years on end. And how every train had to stop at the piddly little stations in the minister's electorate.

Isophorone said...

I have noticed this phenomenon too. Interesting now that they ahve raised the fares!