Author Topic: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you  (Read 102267 times)

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Offline nacho

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DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« on: December 05, 2007, 08:00:54 AM »
So they've been trying to dramatically raise the fares for the Metro.  All while they talk big about the 1.8 billion dollar Purple Line that actually makes the Metro useful to people who don't live and work at Metro Center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Line_%28Washington_Metro%29) and telling us that they're also going to cut costs by running shorter trains in the off hours and unveiling new train cars.

So you're raising our fares so you can spend more money and cut service?

So, the new train cars have two "experimental" features.  The first is fewer and smaller seats.  The cars go from 70 seats to 54 seats, many of which are set up bench style.  According to the Washington Post, the smaller seats were receiving complaints even at the unveiling yesterday.  America's got the Fat Disease and Metro is putting out seats that are 18 inches wide?

They are also having cars that have rubber skids instead of carpeting because -- duh -- carpeting gets dirty.  In fact, they said today that it costs them $5,200 per car just to clean the carpet. 

So, guys, that's significant when we start talking about budget shortfalls.  Where would we be today if you all had ripped up that always filthy outdoor carpeting shit years ago?

A great example of what the Metro is turning into comes from an op/ed letter in Sunday's Post:

Quote
Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I do not use Metro often, as I am retired. On the occasions I do go into the city, I find it very convenient, but we had a rather annoying experience on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

My son and I and his two young children parked at the Dunn Loring Station and took Metro to the Natural History Museum. The ride on Metro was as much fun to the children as the museum visit.

Coming home, we boarded at Smithsonian and began to notice a lot of slowing down and stopping. We were not surprised when it was announced that the train would be taken out of service at West Falls Church. We were told that a train would be along soon.

It came in about five minutes, but just as we were boarding, another announcement was made that this train was being taken out of service due to an emergency. So we went upstairs to ask what was happening. The station manager was quite rude, made a call after some insistence on my son's part and told us another train would be coming.

Down we went, only to discover that that train was being taken out of service, too! My son finally cornered the train operator to ask him what was the emergency and what should we do. The driver said he wasn't supposed to tell but there was a fire at the Dunn Loring Station and that we should take a cab.

I'm not supposed to tell you, but a ball of flame is about to explode out of the tunnel.  Please let go of my arm, I've got to get out of here!!

Offline monkey!

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 09:24:17 AM »
Quote
I'm not supposed to tell you, but a ball of flame is about to explode out of the tunnel.  Please let go of my arm, I've got to get out of here!!

Ha ha!

At least you don't have constant fucking metro strikes like in Paris. Work shy bastards.
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Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 10:24:34 AM »
That's hilarious.

Okay, actually it'snot. The fact that the nation's capital has opne of the most underfunded, poorly managed public transportation systems is kind of scary.

I wonder if the EL in Chicago and the BART/MUNI in San Francisco have these same problems.

Offline nacho

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 10:39:14 AM »
I wonder if the EL in Chicago and the BART/MUNI in San Francisco have these same problems.

They do not, because the city/state subsidizes them.  What the Metro runs into is that they have to negotiate for funding from the Feds as well as Maryland, DC, and Virginia.  And nobody wants to fund them.  Plus DC can't afford to, so everyone else has to help out.  Too many chiefs.

Fares account for close to 60% of the revenue, with the various local, state and federal governments all providing only 40%...and they want to put in less.  The voters in Maryland and NOVA want Metro to be completely funded by fares and advertising while at the same time demanding Metro expand to better service them.

Two years ago, Congress tried to get Metro federal funding that would keep it afloat for the next five years.  The bill was killed in the Senate because Metro was failing to take adequate "accountability measures" (e.g., there's a fire going on and we don't want to tell you because it's bad PR, also our driver is drunk and undertrained).

As a result of that bill being killed, Federal funding has been drastically reduced.  The weight of funding is now on the local and state governments who are all woefully stretched thin because they're focusing on roads.


Offline fajwat

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2007, 08:54:56 PM »
The weight of funding is now on the local and state governments who are all woefully stretched thin because they're focusing on roads.

Dude, they better focus on roads, because Metro sucks!!  Only suckers like you and me ride it now; everyone else has given up.
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Offline nacho

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007, 07:17:47 AM »
That's what the guy next to me said as we inched towards Silver Spring over the course of 80 minutes last night.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2007, 11:49:01 PM »
80 minutes?!? Ugh.

Offline nacho

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 06:20:17 PM »
Well...there we go...

Quote
Metro Board Approves Subway, Parking Fee Hikes

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 13, 2007; 2:30 PM

By an overwhelming majority Metro board members approved today the largest increases in subway fares and parking fees in the agency's history after months of contentious debate among directors.

The 8-2 vote came during the board's finance committee meeting and essentially guarantees that the full board will formally adopt the plan at its meeting today following the committee sessions.

The committee approved a plan offered in recent days by Maryland members that lessens the impact on suburban and long-distance riders. That plan followed a public hearing that drew more than 400 comments from riders, many of whom said that proposed fare and fee hikes were too high and not merited by Metro's unreliable service.

For months the public debate has pitted suburban board members who want to keep parking fees and train fares low, against urban members who want to hold down bus fares for low-income riders.

Under the plan adopted by the finance committee the largest increases would affect rush-hour suburban riders who make up the biggest group of daily users. The rush-hour boarding charge would rise 30 cents to $1.65 per trip, a 22 percent hike. The plan would raise the maximum fare per trip by 60 cents to $4.50. There would be no increases for off-peak riders or for MetroAccess.

At parking lots where the daily fee is as high as $4, the plan calls for a 75-cent hike for six months with an option to increase parking fees by 25 cents after that. Reserve parking would also increase by $10 to $55. That fee is in addition to the daily parking charge. Reflecting sentiment from passengers who park and ride, there would be no increase in the number of reserved parking spaces.

Bus fares would increase a dime for passengers who pay in cash, but would remain $1.25 for riders who pay with electronic SmarTrip cards.

The increases are meant to raise $109 million to help close a projected shortfall in next year's budget. Officials estimate the plan would raise $3-4 million less than the targeted $109 and that some, but not many passengers, would stop riding. Nearly three-fourths of the money would come from the increase in rush-hour train fares, an additional 25 percent from increased parking charges, and 1 percent--about $1 million--from higher bus fares for riders who pay cash.

Although federal workers make up 34 percent of subway riders, Metro receives no federal dollars for its operating costs. Unlike other major transit agencies, it has no dedicated revenue source. Its operating cost is paid by fareboxes, revenue from advertising and parking, and subsidies from local jurisdictions that Metro serves.

Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2007, 10:08:09 AM »
Quote
Although federal workers make up 34 percent of subway riders, Metro receives no federal dollars for its operating costs. Unlike other major transit agencies, it has no dedicated revenue source. Its operating cost is paid by fareboxes, revenue from advertising and parking, and subsidies from local jurisdictions that Metro serves

Nice!  Just get rid of those subsidies and we've got a real-live corporation!

Offline fajwat

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2007, 07:05:02 PM »
libertarians always seem to hate the environment.  and the poor.  and sometimes anything other than pure brute personal strength. 

can you imagine navigating downtown errands without the metro?
can you imagine fares so high that only the rich could afford it?
There would not be enough riders to pay for it.  Fares would spiral to infinity; public transit requires an economy of scale.

public transit improves quality of life for me personally.  it improves quality of life for everyone who currently drives -- since there's less traffic clogging the roads.  I see no problem sharing that benefit to the public and to the public's roads by paying for it with taxes.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 07:09:07 PM by fajwat »
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

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Offline nacho

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 09:57:35 AM »

There would not be enough riders to pay for it.  Fares would spiral to infinity; public transit requires an economy of scale.


Yep.  And here is the great flaw of relying on fares as your main source of income.  DC is a small town.  Sure, you've got millions when you factor in the suburbs, but DC also has a somewhat unique economy compared to other cities and their suburbs.  Our suburbs are less feeders and more independent little cities in themselves.

Offline nacho

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2008, 11:21:20 AM »
We'll just turn this thread into a clearinghouse of Metro shit.

http://wmata.us/
http://www.wmata.us/metrokills/

Here's the WP article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/15/AR2007021500610_pf.html


Quote
This video, which is public information, contains the footage taken by The National Archives Building security camera pointing directly at the crosswalk where Martha Stringer Schoenborn and Sally Dean McGhee were run over and killed at 7th & Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C. at 6:39 PM, February 14th, 2007 by the bus driver, Victor Kolako, operating a WMATA Metro bus. It captured, in vivid detail, each and every second of what happened. Without a doubt, Mr. Kolako gunned the accelerator on his bus in order to try to turn left in front an oncoming car that had the right of way. In fact, he almost hit that car head-on. His actions, coupled with the testimony of eyewitnesses, prove that Mr. Kolako never even bothered to check the crosswalk for pedestrians before racing to make the turn and instantly took the life of these two women.They had the right of way easily seen in the video by the crosswalk lights.
Before you click this link, understand that this is a VERY graphic video.
To learn more, Google "Martha Schoenborn" or "Sally McGhee"

And some more video from the TV Show "Seven On Your Side"
Listen to these videos as Jackie Lynn Jeter/Transit Union President says: "I would hope even if you see someone doing an unsafe act they would do so as safely as they can."

 

This web site is independent of those involved.
If you find this offensive -- it is.
savedc.org

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2008, 04:59:44 PM »
Did they have a walk signal?

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2008, 05:08:00 PM »
Yes.  The driver got clipped with a double homicide.

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Re: DC Metro: The money's gone, and we're going to punish you
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2008, 01:25:14 PM »
Well, not directly Metro related...but it feeds into the arguments:  Why isn't the Metro getting the funding it needs? 

DC plans to announce their toll plan... The American version of a Congestion Zone:  Charge for entry into the city, but don't put anything into the infrastructure.

Quote
Report Suggests New Tolls For Region
Plan Could Produce $2.75 Billion Yearly For Roads, Transit

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2008; B01

Regional transportation and political leaders are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the only way to keep the chronically congested Washington region moving is tolls, and plenty of them.

A report to be released Wednesday pushes a regionwide system that would place tolls on most existing area highways, bridges into the District, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, George Washington Memorial Parkway and such major District thoroughfares as New York Avenue. The key to success, the authors say, is the comprehensiveness of the network.

Officials, pointing to the lack of any sizable investment in the region's transportation infrastructure by Virginia, Maryland or the federal government, say they see no other realistic options to keep traffic moving, accommodate newcomers and get desperately needed money to pay for new roads and improved transit. The tolls could generate more than $2.75 billion a year, according to the report.

"We've got to be straight with people," said Michael Knapp (D-Upcounty), a Montgomery County Council member who worked on the federally funded study undertaken by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Policy Board. "These recommendations put them out there. It's pretty clear that there's no money coming from anywhere outside the region."

The Washington region has the second-worst traffic in the nation, and projections call for the region to grow by 1.3 million people and 1 million jobs by 2030, according to the planning board.

No one is suggesting building tollbooths in the middle of New York Avenue. The study envisions tolls being deducted through E-ZPass-like transponders as vehicles travel at normal speed. Tolls would range from less than 20 cents a mile to an average bridge toll of $2.80.

"Here we are in a rapidly growing region and barely able to maintain our systems, address congestion or add transit," said Ronald F. Kirby, transportation director for the council of governments. "The needs are so great after years of not keeping up. Given the dearth of resources from other sources, it's time to really start to look at things."

The study, which will be presented to the council of governments' Transportation Planning Board, includes three scenarios. The first would add a series of new toll lanes to every freeway in the region, with tolls applying only to drivers on those lanes, a proposal that is seen as unworkable. The new roads and overpasses would be so costly and eat up so much land that it is essentially a non-starter.

"We can't build a duplicate highway network; it ain't gonna happen," Kirby said.

The report lays out two other scenarios that would add tolls to existing highways:

One would add tolls to all District river crossings and existing freeway lanes in the city, where there is no room for new or expanded lanes. The plan would, in effect, connect the 1960s-era highway network that was discontinued in favor of Metrorail. For example, the stretch of New York Avenue from the District line to the Third Street tunnel, which connects U.S. 50 and Interstate 395, would be tolled. Similarly, the stretch of Independence and Maine avenues that joins the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Southeast/Southwest Freeway would be tolled.

The most comprehensive scenario, which has captured the imagination of planners and government leaders, would toll every regional highway, plus all the regional parkways, including the Baltimore-Washington, George Washington, Rock Creek and Potomac, Clara Barton and Suitland parkways.

According to the report, the most comprehensive tolling network would raise $2.75 billion a year, increase transit use by 6 percent, boost carpool rates by 4 percent and result in a relatively small -- 1.2 percent -- increase in vehicle miles traveled, which is how traffic planners measure the amount of driving.

Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman (D), who leads the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and is chairman of the Metro board, agreed that a tolling system would work best if it was comprehensive.

Underscoring the difficulty of securing funds for Washington area transportation projects, Zimmerman is currently wrangling with state lawmakers over $300 million in local taxing authority that was ruled unconstitutional by the Virginia Supreme Court.

Toll proponents say users should pay for the true cost of highways. Unlike traveling by Metro or airplane, users can take roads for free, and there is no financial incentive to reduce unnecessary trips, adjust timing, carpool or use transit. Roads in the region are so overused that they no longer operate dependably.

Under a toll system, "You would get a bill every month, depending on how much you use the highway system, just like any other utility," said Zimmerman, a member of the committee that issued the report. "It would operate like a regular market with market efficiencies," he said.

"My worry is that we would do something piecemeal, which I think the study shows would not be effective," Zimmerman said.

On that point, Zimmerman is not optimistic. Unlike London, Stockholm or Manhattan, which have or are considering congestion tolling, the Washington area is covered by three jurisdictions -- two states and the District -- plus the federal government.

The National Park Service is already on record as opposing the tolling of parkways, saying such action might be illegal and is impractical; the parkways already have problems handling large sport-utility vehicles, let alone a heavy increase in transit buses.

And it doesn't take much imagination to envision local elected officials trying to exempt their local roadways from the tolling network.

"It's worth talking about all of it," said D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who is also chairman of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. "But I think it will be a decade before we get there."

Said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer: "We can't leave any funding options off the table, but we have to be realistic. These are not easy problems to solve."

Jack Cahalan, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation, described the report as a "visionary exercise" that doesn't take into account cost, regional politics or citizen solutions.

"There is not one blanket solution," Cahalan said. "We have to use every tool in the toolbox. We've got to look at transit, variable pricing, transit-oriented development. . . . Just looking at variable pricing as a solution is not the end-all. It's a tool in the toolbox where it makes sense to do so."

Kirby said the 18-month study, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, was more than an exercise.

"We think it should be seriously considered; otherwise, we wouldn't put it out there," Kirby said.

"Does it all have to be done immediately? No. We've already added some tolling facilities and we're on our way. So let's look for some more," Kirby said, referring to tolls planned for Virginia and Maryland. "But the absolute key is to plow every penny of tolls back into transit."

Washington area drivers will soon experience for themselves the pluses and minuses of congestion-priced highways. The first of a network of high-occupancy-toll, or HOT, lanes in Virginia could open in just two years, and the intercounty connector in Maryland, which also will impose tolls, is scheduled to be completed by 2012. A widening of a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 95 south of Baltimore will have express toll lanes. The projects will use tolls to regulate traffic by raising or lowering tolls every few minutes to encourage the optimum number of vehicles on a highway while keeping traffic moving at highway speeds.

Transportation leaders point to the grudging acceptance of HOT lanes and think there is a new openness among Washington-area leaders to tolling the region's way out of its traffic mess.

"I've been surprised by the lack of horror at this idea," Kirby said of tolls. "Ten years ago, people would have said you were out of your mind. Now, people are saying, 'Push a little farther.' No question it's a tough sell politically. But it's becoming much more realistic."