Smoke, captives and breakdowns: DC Metro’s no good very bad day

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s FAIR - Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Okay, fine. Maybe that quote isn’t from WMATA. Maybe it’s the Joker talking to Two-Face in The Dark Knight. AND maybe the last thing that comes to mind in DC metro inconvenience is “fair.” However, it would be hard to argue against WMATA as an agent of chaos yesterday. Observe:

8:00am: All Dupont metro escalators on the North Entrance are broken. A few minutes later 2 out of 3 escalators are the South Entrance are broken as well.  In the words of the Washington Post, “that’s an 80 percent failure rate at a peak ridership time at one of the busiest stations on Metro’s busiest line.” That, and those escalators are LONG. The above video was shot by wfpman during that time. CHAOS.

12:45pm: An adult and 4 children were trapped in the Cleveland Park elevator on the way to the National Zoo. They were stuck in the elevator for around 40 minutes while Fire and EMS crews worked to extricate them. The elevator obviously does not have air conditioning. The family becomes the zoo’s newest WMATA exhibit. (Examiner)

5:45pm: Back to Dupont Station. Smoke is seen coming out of the Dupont Station North Entrance. It was caused by an equipment malfunction on, you guessed it, one of the escalators. The Dupont Station fills with smoke. Panic ensues. The North Entrance is immediately closed, which people ignore:

Yes, that is footage by @jaredev of people climbing up the barricaded North Entrance escalator and jumping the handrail to exit. And God, I don’t blame them. Confidence in the system is lost. By 7:10pm, the malfunction is fixed. The situation returns to normal.

And you know what is the most alarming about this? Despite all the horrendous events that occured yesterday, and seem to occur always, the Post reports that people would still rather pay more in fares, than have metro services cut. Yes WMATA, your riders are fine with paying more money to make metro better. Cut to NYC, where the city almost went up in flames because of fare hikes. Jesus. The ball is in your court WMATA. Stop the chaos. Your riders will thank you.

(UPDATE: As if the red line drama wasn’t enough, the  blue-orange and yellow – green lines also faced steep morning delays yesterday due to multiple ”sick customers.” Bravo, WMATA. Bravo. Thanks to POPTDC for the tip!)

3 thoughts on “Smoke, captives and breakdowns: DC Metro’s no good very bad day

  1. While incredibly annoying, I do like how it’s causing people to walk up the escalators. Anything to get their heart-rate up should be considered a win.

  2. Maybe it wasn’t the focus here… but you also forgot 3 “sick customers” yesterday morning that nearly brought the Yellow, Green, Blue, and Orange lines to a halt. Yesterday was one for the books but unfortunately those days are becoming far too numerous and common.

  3. No, as a red line traveler I missed the throngs of other delays! Silly me for thinking chaos was isolated to my line. The post has been updated accordingly. Thanks for the tip!

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