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August | 2008 | Expect Delays

Monthly Archives: August 2008

Short people represent!

So, according to The Express (who I think lifted the story from their parent paper, The Washington Post) metro is testing out different styles of straps and handles on the metro trains for short people.

Now, the article says that they are testing these on the orange and red lines, and have been for a bit of time. Seeing as how I ride both the orange and red lines every day, twice a day you would think I would have run into these by now. But I haven’t seen a single one of them and now I’m on the lookout for them.

I can’t believe it’s take Metro this long to figure this out. I’ve been consistently frustrated with the trains since I started riding in April because I’m just barely too short to reach the overhead bars at all. If I’m not near a vertical bar, then I can’t stand there. I know some people have the balance to not hang onto things, but I’m not one of those people.

So I’ve had a few extremely frustrating moments trying to find a place to stand where I can reach, but at the same time trying to be one of the only people who actually tries to move away from the doors after boarding. What is especially bothersome is the new metro cars, which have a lot fewer vertical bars to hang onto. I end up getting on those and trying to wedge myself towards a wall or something solid just to try to stay upright.

Now, the handles that are in most of the buses I ride aren’t actually that useful either, but at least they’re something and if Metro actually put these in it would make it easier for me to move away from the crowds and find a place to stand. I do encourage them to get the metal handles instead because the cloth straps would need replacing so much faster, and would end up getting a little stained and funky if the carpets on the metro are any indication.

If this would make people actually move towards the center of the car like the benevolent voice tells you to, then my commute would be so much easier.

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I brake for everything

I’m starting to believe that they use my bus route to train new bus drivers. Why? Because whenever I get used to seeing one driver, there’s a different one the next week, for one. But the other thing is that just when the ride starts to smooth out, I’m back to being jerked around all over the bus.

I know it can’t be easy to drive a city bus, I understand that. But one of these days somebody is going to get whiplash or just get straight thrown out of their seat from the way the bus drivers hit their brakes so hard. Not to mention that it’s not just slamming their brakes, it’s brake-pause-brake-pause-brake-pause-stop. You get jerked all over the place.

I get a little bit of that from the bus that I take to work, but the more experienced drivers that I recognize don’t do it as badly, that’s why I think it might be that I’m on a training route or something.

The metro trains do the same thing sometimes, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to avoid it. Is it because I tend to sit in the first or second car? Is it because of bad driving? Is it because they speed and it’s the only way for them to slow down and not overshoot the platform?

Of course, it is possible that this is the way these people drive their regular cars too, I’ve been running into that some lately. Whatever happened to the slow steady brake? I thought that was how you’re supposed to stop.

I never used to get motion sickness, but this is starting to test my stomach’s patience.

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Dear Metro,

The other day in the express you had a letter talking about how much you’re doing for the environment. Kudos, I’m glad most of the buses in the metro fleet are running on alternative fuels. I’m also glad that having viable public transportation gets so many people out of their cars so that the pollution is that much less.

But there was one note that made me raise an eyebrow. You say that Metro has helped recycle so many thousands of newspapers.

Then why, sir, have I seen Metro employees emptying the newspaper recycling bins into the trash cans or into the same bins as they empty the trash? If this had only happened once I would think maybe it was a lazy employee, but this has been a couple times now.

If you don’t want to recycle my newspaper, then fine. I’ll cart it home and put it in the bin there, and hope that my county offices aren’t lying about recycling. But please don’t say you’re doing one thing and do another.

And if it’s a few employees that are doing this when they aren’t supposed to, please ask them to stop. I don’t really like the implications of having a physical paper every day in the first place, so making me feel like I’m not even recycling it is just worse.

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