Wednesday, October 09, 2013

We're back...

So...after nearly five years away, I have decided that Rail Ravings needs to be revived.  Maybe it's the new commute on the commuter rail, or maybe just a bunch of pent up frustration.  Whatever the reason, stay tuned...there are years of stories to tell.  Oh, and the Android app will make it even easier to post so you can hear all about my trip to work.  Oh crap, almost missed my stop...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bad Fiscal Management...Tax the Consumer

Well, since we are in a financial crisis and people are losing their homes and jobs let's raise taxes and make more tolls!!! The MTA is deciding to put tolls on the East River crossings. Since the MTA has been losing money due to fiscal irresponsibilty for years they figure let's charge the hardworking public ti make up for our ineptitude. I am sure the state and city is going to start to start increasing welfare benefits and increase taxes on the upper middle class, so why not spread the wealth around some more. We already know Barack is going to do this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Airline Finds Way to Make Cabin Even More Crowded

Due to rising fuel costs, American Airlines has decided to start charging passengers for their checked luggage...even the first piece. What is this going to do?...this is going to encourage even more people to carry-on even more luggage. You already have the idiots who carry-on their huge rollie bag and in addition to their "personal item" thus taking up all the space preventing the people carrying on a small tote from having any room to stow it. That is why I don't fly American...this and the JFK incident.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

METRO FARES TO DECREASE!

FROM THE DC/MD/VA METRO...with the conviction of former transit supervisor who stole more than $560,000 and the seizure of over $75,000 METRO has reqalized it no longer needs to raise fares. The money from the seizure and the fact they will no longer lose $12,000 a month from this stealing b**** will be more than enough to lower fares by 2 cents were ride.

Ok, just kidding...but I am struck by the investigative journalism of the Washington Post...the story reads:
Catoe said the agency has not identified a particular motive in the theft.
"We received no comments from anyone that these monies were needed," he
said.
"This was just a case of an employee who stole money from the public."

Well, if you look up the page you'll see the motive for this woman who makes $48,000 a year:

Prosecutors said today in court that Anderson used the money to make down payments on two homes, one in the District and one in Silver Spring, purchase a Nissan Pathfinder and pay $37,000 for a BMW, laptops and home furnishings.

Ever wonder why...

Ever wondered "why is there carpeting in the Metro?" Well, Metro officials are wondering the same thing. Most subways have tile of linoneum floors making it easier to sweep, mop, wipe, clean, them. WMATA is considering changing it's floors accroding to the dcist.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote

Skateboards are transportation too...while you are enjoying your $9 Metro funpass on April 17, one lucky New York youngster will be enjoying the glory having designed the official Papal Visit Skateboard. Don't forget to vote for your favorite. Voting ends at 12:01 am on April 12th, so hurry.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The new "Pope-Mobile"?

FROM THE METRO...it appears WMATA is at it again, this time with a "controversial" web ad promoting the $9 Metrocard to commemorate the Pope's visit to America. Following the rave of the "Peeps" ad, Metro decided to depict the Pope (by way of Benedict XVI bobble head) going Mass at National Field via the Metro. Good times.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

STRRIIIIIIIKE 1!

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...I thought I saw it all, but this morning at the Essex Street station I saw a man in full catcher's gear--no it wasn't Jorge Posada or Paul LoDuca (or even Kelly Stignet or Sal Fassano)--it was just some old dude wearing catcher's gear. He was sitting on a bench chilling wearing two black shin guards and a black chest protector. The man was a little disheveled and clearly homeless; but he had on a nice set of gear.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dogs On A Train

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- So metro is video-happy lately. Here's a fun one on how to not be an a-hole to service dogs on the metro from a dog's eye view. Um, how much money did you spend on this, Metro? Or is this where the money is going after the failed "Doorker" campaign?

On a different note: Seriously, Metro? Eight minutes for a train on the Green line at Rush Hour? Seriously? You might want to fix that before I have to adjust my commute in a few months when my office moves.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Did You Remember Your Flashlight?

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Metro has a new safety video for you. Basically, don't forget your flashlight, whistle, and map so that you will be able to fend for yourself.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Future Commuter

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Yesterday morning on my way into work a mother and her son got on the metro with me. The mother put her little boy in the seat next to me and she took the seat behind me (for the record, I offered to move so that they could sit together but they declined). This little boy was no more than three years old but he was the most well mannered child I have encountered in ages. He had a copy of the Express paper on his lap and when he saw that I was reading it, he held it up like he was reading it too. WhenI flipped the page, he'd sneak a glance at me and then flip the page too. When we got to the sports section, he tapped me on the arm and said in his excited little voice, "They got football guys!" This might have been the first time that talking to a stranger on the metro made my morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh, Yeah? Well, I've ridden FOUR metros!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Some of my friends (you know who you are) used to try to out-do each other by seeing who had visited the most state capitols. [Insert nerd joke here.] Well, I have a new challenge -- How many metro's have you ridden? Check this out.

My total is a measly four. Apparently, I've got some work to do.

Sidenote: Compared to just about everyone else, Metro sure has a stupid, boring symbol.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Metro News

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- So I realize I've been a slacker lately. There is plenty of metro news to go around -- newly configured rail-cars, suspicious packages that shut down service for four hours, etc. But I just can't get excited about any of that lately. So in lieu of providing you with any actual metro news, I'm going to post about some "news" I read on the metro. From Wednesday's Express Paper:

CALLING AN AUDIBLE: Bengals fans annoyed by bad behavior in the stands can now report it by cell phone. (513) 391-JERK will be the hot line available to notify security officers of unruly conduct. A video promoting the service will be shown at home games.

A jerk hot line. Ha! I can think of so many times when a jerk hot line could have come in handy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What are you waiting for?

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Last night on the way home from work I sat next to a gentleman reading a book entitled, "A Guide to Proactive Waiting." I was desperately curious about what he was waiting for, but couldn't bring myself to ask.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Doesn't that loud piercing sound bother you???



FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...the MTA recently put up large red signs and red tape on the emergency exit/service doors that are present at every subway entrance. These doors either serve as service entrances when a station agent is on duty (for handicapped persons or mothers pushing baby strollers) or as emergency exits (for unmanned stations). When the MTA put up the red signs they also installed loud piercing sirens on the doors. The siren goes off when a customer pushes the door open instead of a station agent remotely unlocking the door. The stated reason for the alarm is to alert MTA employees when there is an emergency and when someone is exiting--due to an emergent situation. You could also assume the sirens are in place to deter people from using the exits in cases of non-emergency. Well, do you think that stops people? Particularly at the Canal Street station people push through the door (and activate the loud, annoying, piercing alarm) rather than use the force to push through the exit turnstile. People have become so inconsiderate to their fellow riders that some stations have disabled the alarm because it goes off so often. The obvious solution is not to turn off the alarms, but to not use the gates unless it is an emergency or it is opened for you by a police officer or an MTA employee.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We Apologize for the Delay . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I loved this article from today's Washington Post -- copied here in full for your reading pleasure. My favorite part is about the metro driver who didn't get the memo on the 4th of July.

Posted at 07:53 AM ET, 07/12/2006
Bodily Fluids, High Water, Dead Animals: Why Your Train Was Late
Most of the time, when there's a delay on a Metro train, the muffled voice on the PA system comes on to explain that there's a train stopped ahead and we have to wait.
But a good number of delays go unexplained--until now. The Post's wizard of databases, Derek Willis, has set up a dandy tool that lets reporters check out every single delay on Metro trains and scan them by date, station and category. So what do we learn? Metro trains have suffered 3,269 delays since last July, and while the single largest cause of delays is Mechanical Problems, which account for nearly half the database at 1483 reports, there are some really strange reasons why your train is late.
"An inbound Green Line train was not dispatched from Greenbelt because bodily fluids were discovered in one car." Just for example.
Delays occur because a train hit a deer (one report), because someone reported unusual odors (four reports) or because of weird noises (six reports.)
I knew that street traffic is halted for presidential motorcades, but I had no idea that Metro stopped its trains to let the president's limo go by. "Orange Line trains at West Falls Church were held by Metro Transit Police to allow the Presidential motorcade to pass on I-66," reads one report.
The second biggest category of incidents is Train Overran Platform, something that has happened 510 times since the database started last summer. Almost all of the reports are variations on this: "An outbound Green Line train at Suitland overran the platform but was able to pull back and service the station."
Amazingly, only one train in the past year was delayed because of an intoxicated customer, though 18 trains had to stop because there was an unauthorized person on the tracks.
The balky doors on the trains only accounted for six delays, including this unlikely culprit: "An inbound Yellow Line train at Gallery Place was delayed because a newspaper was blocking a door. Service resumed after the object was removed."
Sometimes, the cause of delay is downright bizarre, as in this case from the Fourth of July, when Metro shuts down its Smithsonian station so it doesn't get completely overrun by fireworks fans. Apparently, one train operator didn't get the memo: "An outbound Orange Line train at Smithsonian serviced the station, which was closed due to Fourth of July events. Customers were picked up by the following train."
And then there's this one from last April, about which I wish I could offer more details: "An inbound Blue Line train at Addison Road was delayed because the operator was locked out of the cab. Service resumed after Metro Transit Police opened the cab."
Feel better about that delay now?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Turnstile Turbostyle


FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...get ready for the Turnstile Turbostyle starring Tiki Barber. Citibank customers can now use their PayPass to "zip" through subway turnstiles. Sounds fun.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Morning Workout

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Good Morning, Washington! I hope you all had fun on your morning workout this morning. For those of you outside the area, we've received quite a bit of rain lately. Consequently, many of metro's busiest stations are closed this morning due to standing water on the rails. I, for one, thought the walk from Chinatown to SW this morning in 85% humidity was invigorating. How 'bout you? I could have taken the shuttle, I suppose, but as I learned at my last Nationals game, it's just faster to walk. Have a nice day!

Friday, June 16, 2006

THE 100TH POSTING ON RAILRAVINGS


THE 100TH POSTING ON RAILRAVINGS...We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and commentors through the years. We will be hosting a celebration sometime this summer to thank our loyal bloggers and bloggettes.

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY..."starting at fullback, number 44, NYJUSTICE"...when I was preparing to exit the train today at the Delancy/Essex Streets station to transfer for a downtown JMZ train, I noticed the woman sitting in the row of seats next to me preparing to detrain as well. I was about 10-15 feet from the train doors, but there were at least a dozen people standing in between me and the door. As the door opened and I began to move towards the door, I felt this woman's hand grabbing my shirt and pushing me into the crowd towards the open door. She was holding on to me for dear life. I was saying excuse me (should have said "excuse us") to the people in front of me (the O-Line) and they were slowly parting for me and my running back. As we inched towards the door and a stream of people were exiting in front of us I felt her again grab hold, just like a running back would grab his fullback and push through on a HB dive play. Well, we made it safely through the hole and to the endzone. However, there were no highfives or chest bumps. I walked modestly up the stairs to the JMZ platform knowing I had done by deed as the unsung hero of the backfield. To fullbacks everywhere--your duties do not go unnoticed, we salute you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Please Move Away From the Doors . . .


ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – So what do you think of the new proposed railcar seating configuration? Note the removal of all vertical bars anywhere near the doors.

Here’s what I foresee: a great deal of swaying, sweaty tourists with their children clinging to their legs for dear life; no reduction of door crowding; more frequent intrusions into that minimum-one-foot personal space radius as everyone scrambles for a piece of the overhead bar; exposed midriffs of folks whose midriffs I’d rather not see; an army of really angry short people.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hello?


ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- They say that a blog is considered dead if no one posts to it within 30 days. Well, I don't know if this blog is dead, exactly -- maybe just on life support.

Tourists descend on the city like locusts in the spring and summer so one would think I would have plenty of commuting stories to tell. But for the last few months I've been walking a lot more, cutting out a significant portion of my commute home at night. Sure, I see plenty of amusing things on my walks – like the Segway tours that I always meet up with at 4th and Madison, or the homeless man who gets his fair and balanced news from the live shots Fox News does out on the corner of Louisiana and North Capitol – but these things sometimes just aren’t as funny as the things I witness in a confined space shared by hundreds of my neighbors.

Anyway . . .

For the last couple of mornings, I have shared the same train car with the same woman. Normally, I don’t pay much attention to the folks around me, but she’s got a messenger bag that sticks out. Her bag has a picture of a NYC Subway station that covers the front flap of the bag. Metro also offers a similar bag. So here’s my question: Which is worse – wearing the metro bag on the metro and thereby advertising to the world that you are a metro nerd? – or wearing the NYC Subway bag on the metro? Isn’t that like wearing the hat of the opposing team to a baseball game? Is this her NYC-is-the-center-of-the-world way of thumbing her nose at metro? Should I be offended?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Local Shout-out


FROM NEW YORK CITY...this picture accompanied a Reuters new story about hurricanes in New York City. The red building is St. Mary's Star of the Sea R.C. Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The F train is travellng between the Carroll Street stop and the Smith-Ninth Streets station (the highest station in the MTA New York City Transit system.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's Kinda Hard Being Snoop D-O-double-G . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I would have put on money on the fact that Snoop Dogg was my metro train conductor this morning. I swear it sounded just like him. I thought maybe he was doing role research for his follow-up movie to Soul Plane (and, no, I never saw that movie, despite my affinity for all things transportation and all things Snoop).

Soul Train to Shady Grove.

Fo'Shizzle.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good News (For Now)

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- WMATA (interim)leader, Dan Tangherlini, tells the Washington Times this morning that metro fares are unlikely to increase until at least 2008. It seems that increased ridership caused by an increase in gasoline prices has helped to offset metro's own cost of energy increases.

Junk to Be Sold in Metro Stations

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- According to today's Examiner, WMATA is considering a pilot program to bring retail sales to metro stations in the near future. So will we have food in the metro under such a program?? "The proposal makes it clear that the sale of food and beverages is not permitted, but asks potential retailers to indicate how sales revenue would change if food were allowed. If food would generate significantly higher revenue, transit officials said, they might rethink their stance." So, um, yeah -- we'll have food on the metro.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Expanding Your Metro Vocabulary



ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- This is apparently the ad campaign that just isn't going away. Looks like metro has added two more words to our metro vocabulary. We here at RailRavings still like "Doorker" the best.

Pictures from http://dcist.com

In other news, the new "doors closing" voice and chime have been added to a large number of metro cars. I, for one, find it a bit annoying. The chime sounds like some sort of computer error message. What do you think?

Monday, April 24, 2006

A disappointing turnout...?

From my perch high above the Tombs, it appears that the numbers are kinda low for poor Roger. The march was on the sidewalk...they didn't even have enough people to march in the street. More to come later...http://www.1010wins.com/pages/28476.php

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Yellow Line to . . . Fort Totten?

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- WMATA announced today that 2007 will bring a new pilot program extending yellow line service to Fort Totten and eliminating turn-around trains at Grosvenor-Strathmore. For more information click here!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Jail


FROM THE NYC SUBWAY...Toussaint goes to jail. Sevres him right. Today they argue that the judge can't fine the TWU 100 because the union can't afford it. Could millions of New Yorkers afford missing three days of work or having to spend 4 hours commuting to/from work back in December?

Friday, April 07, 2006

It'll Be Great For Tornado Warnings . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Here’s a fun conversation I overheard on the metro last night.

Background: A young couple is looking at the floor plan of their new townhome and discussing where to put their now combined furniture.

Woman: So where are we going to put my antique church pew?
Man: I think that’s going to have to be put in the basement. We really don’t have room for it anywhere else.
Woman: Who’s going to want to sit down there next to the washer and dryer and the heater, just looking at the unfinished cement walls?
Man: Well, it will be great for tornado warnings. You know, when they issue a warning and we have to take shelter in the basement we’ll have a nice place to sit.
Woman: (brief silence before she decides to change the subject) So I think you’re forgetting about that other chair that I already own. Where are we going to put that?
Man: (sheepishly) Well, maybe we should put that down in the basement, too.
Woman: What?!?
Eavesdropping Stranger: (Laughing)(to Man) Son, let me give you some advice. After thirty years of marriage, I’ve learned something about this. Let the lady put the chair wherever she wants to put it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nice Guys Finish Last (apparently)

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- To the woman on the other end of the cell phone conversation being had by the man sitting next to me this morning.

Hi. I don’t know you or anything, but let me give you some unsolicited advice on relationships. If you don’t want the nice guy sitting next to me on the Red Line, then please let him go so that someone more deserving than yourself can have him. I mean, really, he comes home last night to find that eviction notice on your front door and he has the gall to pay your March AND April rent?!? (Note: after all, he’s got his own apartment to pay for.) And then you go barging into the room “disrespecting” him while he’s MAKING THE BED?!?! Honey, you need to wake up. As far as I can tell, this man just saved you from eviction by paying your rent AND he just made your bed. Am I missing something? He didn’t even get pissed at you when you hung up on him. TWICE. I saw him tearing up when I got off the train. This is obviously a nice and caring guy, and from what I overheard this morning, you don't deserve him. Have a nice day.

Captive Audience

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I saw the new “moving” advertisement in the tunnel between Gallery Place and Judiciary Square last night. Not too bad, I think. If I’m going to be subjected to advertisements, which is inevitable, I would rather have them be A) silent, B) easily ignorable, and C) more creative than your usual print ad.

Metro needs funding, no doubt about it, and if they choose to get it from advertisers rather than taking it out of my pocket (for now, at least), then I’m not going to complain too loudly. But I have a few questions about these new advertisements. First, are they going to have to single track the Red Line every time they want to change advertisements? Or now that the hardware is installed will they be easily interchangeable in the overnight hours? And, second, what is the logic behind running a “luxury car" commercial to the poor saps riding mass transit?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Spring Ahead

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Happy Friday, everyone! Don't forget that daylight savings time begins this Sunday at 2 a.m., so "spring ahead" on Saturday night. Remember that this also means that the last metro trains of the evening will depart one hour earlier than normal.

In other news, metro has finally come to its senses -- at least in this one area. You may now transfer your paper fare cards OF ANY AMOUNT to your Smartrip card. No more waiting until the thing gets down below two dollars.

Oh yeah -- I also heard the new metro voice for the first time today. I'm surprised it has taken this long. I'll have to hear it again to know if I like it since it took me by surprise to hear it the first time. They also changed the door chime to sound less like a door bell and more like a computer error message sound.

Monday, March 27, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Happy Birthday, Metro! That's right, today our beloved metro turns 30. On this day in 1976, over 51, 000 people were treated to a free ride on the newly opened Red Line. Cake and ice cream would be in order if it weren't for those pesky no food rules.

Happy Birthday!

On The Way To Work This Morning . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- My reaction to a couple of this morning's Metro passengers.

1. Dear Express Man: Thanks for noticing.
2. Dear Woman Trying to Be Stylish at Union Station: I like your shoes, really, I do. Those sandals will be great once the weather warms up. Until then, if you insist on wearing white athletic socks with your fashionable wedge sandals, might I suggest a pair without the gold toe. Just a suggestion.
3. Dear "Doorkers": When you see a man dressed in a Navy uniform having trouble scooting past your oversized selves to get on the train because he's got one leg and is using crutches, you MOVE. Show some respect people. Geez.
4. Dear Roll-y Backpack Lady: It's a BACK pack. Back. Get it? If you insist on wheeling it behind you because it is just too inconvenient for you to carry it on your back (where it was intended), then please have enough courtesy not to drag it five car lengths behind you while you speed up and slow down, zig zaging through the crowd, tripping all of us behind you. Unless you are carting around a stroller or are taking your giant suitcase to the airport, all metro passengers should be limited to carrying items that fit within a two foot radius of the person carrying it.
5. Dear Grandma with a Cherry Blossom Sweatshirt with Matching Visor: Welcome to our city. Enjoy your day!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Take Five

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- There are few things that brighten my morning like a little live music. Today's glorious rendition of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" (one of my all time favorite songs) by the saxophone playing gentleman on top of the L'Enfant Metro station made my day. Thank you, Mr. Saxophone Player!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Subway...tastes great

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...ever wonder if there were more subway restaurants or subway stations in Manhattan? Wonder no more. click here to learn the answer.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Port Controversy

SORT OF ABOUT TRANSPORTATION...the entire UAE Port Controversy thing is far too complicated for me, particularly because nobody has all the facts. I not have heard one comprehensive story about it yet. However, I think it is telling that DP World's vice president's name is Michael Moore.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- There are a few things that always brighten my day when I spot them on the metro. Today (Valentine's Day, of course) affords me many day-brightening moments. I always smile when I see a man carrying flowers on the metro. Of course, it's more fun to see this on a random day of the year when one can ponder the reason for the flowers -- but even today it makes me smile. Good going, gentlemen -- keep it up!

Seeing flowers isn't quite as great as a really fabulous afro spotting, but I digress.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Get On The Bus, Gus!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Just wanted to remind everyone that the WMATA surplus sale is now in progress. Now you too can own your very own 1986 WMATA bus! Now that's a collector's item!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And The Winner Is . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- And the winner is . . . Randi Miller. Listen to Randi's first recording using the link below.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Your Vote Counts

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Okay, so maybe your vote won't really count toward determining the next "Doors Opening" voice, but the WashingtonPost.com is giving you the chance to listen to the ten finalists and register your vote. Now does anyone want to place bets?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Who's It Gonna Be?

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – When WMATA put out the call for a new and exciting Metro voice the people responded. Over 1,200 applicants submitted recordings of themselves telling folks to move away from those doors. Here, are your finalists: (drum roll, please)

Jill Apple, Washington, DC
Steve Broido, Washington, DC
Linda Carducci, Vienna, VA
Sarah Fraser, Washington, DC
Jon Garcia, Washington, DC
John Howell, Fairfax Station, VA
Angela Stevens, Frederick, MD
Randi Miller, VA
Carol Rabel, Silver Spring, MD
Mary Whittington, Washington, DC

These lucky folks will make professional recordings of these messages later this afternoon:
1. (Chime) The doors are opening. Please stand back so customers exit the train. When boarding please move to the center of the car.
2. (Chime) For your safety, please step back. The doors are closing in 3,2,1. (Chime)
3. To be played if doors can not close after second message. (Chime) Please stand back to allow the doors to close.

A panel of industry professionals will listen to the recordings and choose Metro's new doors closing voice next week. The winner is scheduled to be announced the first week in February. Metrorail riders should expect to hear the new voice on select trains next month.

Anyone care to place bets?

You Look Awfully Familiar . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – Riding home from work the other day I encountered my long-lost twin. I didn’t even realize I had a twin until I saw her. But there she was riding home to Silver Spring same as me – same coat, same pearl earrings and a pearl ring, same blond hair pulled back the same exact way I do, same face (almost). When I caught her staring back at me we gave each other the same awkward half smile. It was eerie.

I wonder if the fake me knows the fake Paul who lives in my building – now that would be weird.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Metro Fun Fact of the Day

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Here's your fun metro fact of the day: The escalator at Wheaton Station on the Metro's Red Line holds the title of longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere, coming in at 230 feet. Anyone know where the longest escalator in the Eastern Hemisphere is? Special prize to anyone who can prove the correct answer.

Enough Already

Looks like the NYC Transit Workers, by a seven vote margin, rejected their proposed contract. Jerks.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Toussaint Needs to Be Jailed

TWU President Roger Tousaaint needs to go to jail. He, and he alone, caused the major shutdown of New York City just days before Christmas. Read the story of Matthew Long and his mother's attempts to throw this dirtbag in jail. If Matthew had been on duty and her husband wasn't the Conservative Party Chairman, Mrs. Long might have the support of all New Yorkers. Hopefully people will take her efforts seriously and there will be more support to throw this guy in jail.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Get Your Ass Away From the Door!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I saw a notice for this a couple of weeks ago, but the time is finally here. That's right -- YOU could be the next voice of Metro. You won't be compensated, but just think of the lives you will touch every day!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Safe Travels to everyone!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas in New York 2005

Passed on by a special reader...

'Twas five days before Christmas and all through the town; Not a train wasup running, they'd all been shut down.

The turnstiles were locked and the stations were cleared, in hopes that the MTA would give them their share.

The workers were nestled all snug in their booths; Where oft they're foundsleeping, to tell you the truth.

Toussaint wants their pensions to be like the cops' - you know, 'cause it'sstressful announcing each stop.

Alas, from the public arose such a clatter, Their leader seems not to have thought out the matter.

With shoppers not shopping and travel delayed, public support dwindled, NewYorkers' nerves frayed.

You dumb, lazy morons! The people did cry. Pensions the same as the FDNY?It'll cost us a fortune, illiterate twits!The people weren't happy. In fact, they threw fits.

There's strength in a union, or so they believed but not before Christmas -now everyone's peeved. It's terrible timing for stranding the masses; If Reagan were here he'd havefired your asses.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is It Over Yet? Maybe.

ON THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY -- The Washington Post is reporting that negotiations have resumed and that TWU has agreed to send their members back to work.


UPDATE: The TWU executive board voted 38 to 5 (with two abstentions) to accept a plan to end the strike. Service should resume in about 10 to 18 hours.

Separated at Birth?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Transit Strike Photo Roundup

ON THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY -- Here's a transit strike photo roundup courtesy of gothamist.

Z Z Z Z z z z z z . . . .

ON THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY --

Yes, folks -- these people DESERVE a pay raise and a pension.

I'm sure the fine people of New York who were forced to walk to work for the last two days get to sleep when they get to work, too.

(Thanks for the photos, John!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

International TWU urged TWU 100 Not to Strike!!!

STRIKE UPDATE...it seems the International TWU urged the local union NOT to stirke. Also, a judge is broken is imposing a $1,000,000 a day fine on TWU 100 for vioalting the Taylor Law.

NYJUSTICE'S PREDICTION: Strike ends tonight at 830 PM. The TWU 100 got its point across (and in fact only angered people rather than cause sympathy) and can't oafford the $1 million a day fine. Besides Toussaint is afraid of being held in contempt and spending some time in Rikers.

Why the transit strike is aiding the terrorists.

STRIKE UPDATE...it is nearly impossible to "close down" the New York City subway. It is designed to operate 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Many areas do not contain locked doors (Q: Why does a 24-hour 7-11 have locks on the door? A: In case the slurpie guys go on strike.) The NYPD is concerned that this is a perfect time for terrorists to sabotage the system. If something happens, who is to blame?

Toussaint , where did they find this guy?


Has Roger Toussaint worked a day in his life? Does he have any idea what he is doing? Are you telling me of all the transit workers, past and present, and anyone else cut out to be a union president, this is the guy they found? I think if the TWU had a better president then they would have gained more respect from the public.

Proof that the TWU 100 is broken: apparently their website crashed during the strike. See the Dec. 2oth post.

MTA YOU HAVE TO PAY, MTA WE WANT IT OUR WAY.

TWU 100 Strikes...the TWU 100 better have enough money to not only pay tjhe fines that the 33,000 transit workers will be paying the state, but also to pay for all of the lost revenue to the city and to businesses, to pay the police overtime, and to pay for the PSAs and press releases the City has put out. But most importantly, to pay the citizens of this city for Metro-North and LIRR tickets, increased cab fares, thera-flu and doctors bills, gasoline, and parking fees. I suggest everyone KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS and send them to TWU 100 president Roger Toussaint and ask him to pay.

Strike's On

ON THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY -- Our own NYJustice would have provided all of you an update on this morning's transit strike, but he's busy WALKING to work. More to come!

Monday, December 19, 2005

STRIKE WATCH

Will TWU 100 go all the way at midnight?...I doubt it. They took the easy way out. These workers are not covered by the Taylor Law.

Friday, December 16, 2005

HO HO HO


Photo of the day.

STRIKE WATCH

UPDATE...no strike yet...more to come soon

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guess who has a blog on blogspot???

TWU Local 100 Check out all of the angry comments.

STRIKE WATCH


FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...the MTA has also listed its contingency plan. It also posted the injuctions prohibiting the TWU from striking. Stay tuned to Railravings for up to date info. Follow the news stories on 1010 Wins.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So, how are you going to get to work on Friday?

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...as most of you know the TWU's contract runs out at midnight on Friday. That may leave over 7 million people without a way to get to work. But, have no fear, the City of New York (which is not a party to the negoiations) has come up with a contingency plan. Good luck and don't be late on Friday; there is no excuse, we all knew about the possibility of a strike for several weeks. BE PLANBDEXTRIOUS!

Today's Craft Project

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Have you ever wondered just exactly how that Smartrip card of yours works? Have you ever wished you could modify that card to express your own personal style? Well, you're in luck. Today's DCist ran a fun article on how to take that Smartrip card apart and make it into a keychain. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What's up G?

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...everything you ever wanted to know about the G train courtesy of the New York Times.

How do YOU feel about the new subway regulations?

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...our first READERS FORUM...yesterday the MTA announced five new "shalt nots" for the subway and buses. Some of them make sense, others are just downright crazy. review the new rules and let us know how you feel about the new regs. Are you going to obey them or are you going to say #$%! the new rules.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Yesterday WMATA announced that it will begin testing new signs and other strategies at many metro stations to improve the flow of traffic within the station. One of these important efforts will be the "Please Stand to the Right" stickers they plan to place on station escalators. Great! Now tourists won't just think we're being rude when we stand close behind them saying "Excuse me. EXCUSE ME!" in our attempts to get to work one minute sooner.

But apparently WMATA has not sent out the Stand-to-the-Right memo to its employees. This morning, after blocking the entire escalator entrance while yelling his morning greetings to the station manager, a metro train operator proceeded to STAND on the LEFT hand side of the escalator. All. The. Way. To. The. Top.

I'm betting he also failed to "move to the center of the car" once he boarded the train, too.

Thanks for setting a good example, man.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Safe travels to all of you this Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ridin' That Train, High on . . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I've never actually been to one of the WMATA town hall meetings but I am definitely going to start going for the sheer entertainment value alone. The latest meeting started off normal enough, but by the end the crazies were allowed to take the mic. This transcript makes for some pretty good reading.

My favorite comments from my crazy neighbors:

"I've had the president kiss me all over my face."

Um, fabulous.

"You can't shut me down, sir. I will die a soldier's death. I might get punched out, but you going to reckon with me because that's what a district court is."

Okay . . . .

"The problem ain't the problem. The problem is how you address the problem. That's the problem."

What?

"I think the most important issue tonight isn't new rail cars, environmentally friendly busses, or snappy farecards. It's health. Heath of the patron, meaning the riders . . . . in clarity, bird flu."

Exactly.

"The resolution would ask that Metro will support a song that has been created in honor of
those who have given us the right to vote. The name of the song is 'U.S. Voters Twin National Anthem for a More Perfect Union.' How would Metro support this? We just had a threat in London where the bomb went off. If this song is played in Metro to encourage people to think about democracy, think about voting, think about being a part of the process, then we are standing up for our democracy every day on our train systems, which Ms. Rosa Parks
stood up and did."

God Bless America.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

If Only She'd Used Her Smartrip Card . . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- The folks at WMATA were all in an uproar yesterday when the script of Nicole Kidman's upcoming movie called for her to (gasp!) jump the fare gates at the Cleveland Park metro station while attempting to escape aliens. (Let me just say that if I were attempting to elude aliens, the metro might not be my first choice of escape vehicle.) But the movie folks and WMATA compromised by adding a bit part that I think would best be performed by our own NYJustice.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Planbdextrious

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- WMATA will be passing out this alternative route home brochure this weekend. Are you planbdextrious?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Free Press!!!

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST EXPRESS...Rail Ravings got it's first shout out today in the free commuter tabloid Express published by the Washington Post. The Express has a daily feature entitled "The Blog Log." The October 21, 2005 edition features a quote from Redline's submition "Stu-pid" on page 45 The Express earned itself a link in our links section.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

If It Makes You Happy, It Can't Be That Bad

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- This story taken from today's DCist.

Metro Riders Satisfied With Service: Maybe the critics just complain really loudly. Regardless, WJLA is reporting that 90 percent of Metrorail users and 85 percent of Metrobus users are satisfied with the service they receive, an increase from this same time last year. But WMATA officials aren't satisfied with satisfaction -- they want smiles and thumbs ups. They vowed to improve Metrorail's 97 percent on-time record and cut the number of mechanical failures.

Despite your shortcomings we still love you, Metro!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Stu-pid

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I usually don't mind the WMATA's ad campaigns, but this one is just dumb. Only a dork would come up with a word like "Doorker."

UPDATE: DCist has come up with some suggestions of their own. I especially like "Wasteomoney" to describe the entire campaign.

Monday, October 17, 2005

How to get to the World Series

Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox on becoming the American League Champions. Here is a quick guide to get you to the New Comiskey Park (US Cellular Field).

Friday, September 30, 2005

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- A friend of mine, and a long time user of the metro system, had the nerve to question my extensive metro knowledge recently by insisting that there are no bathrooms in the metro. "There are," I replied, "you just have to ask to use them."

There are, in fact, bathrooms for public use in the metro system. You have to ask an attendant to escort you to one and let you in. (Someone should have pointed this out to the man I recently saw relieving himself behind the air quality sensor in the L'Enfant metro). Mind you, if the terror alert is at Orange or (heaven forbid) higher (in which case you have bigger issues than needing to pee), the public is not allowed to use these restrooms.

I've never personally been in a metro restroom -- and really, I would rather not. But for all of you who might need to seek out the metro restrooms in the future, the Restroom Ranger has this report.

Update--iPod Map Guy in Trouble

An update on a post left a few months ago by red line. Red line told us about a website that offers FREE subway maps to download onto your iPod photo. It seems that the MTA has filed a cease and desist order against the website. It appears that the NYC Transit map is copyrighted. Apparently no one is allowed to find their way around without express written consent of the MTA. Now this seems a little strange since the subway map is FREE and is available just about everywhere and anywhere (including on the mta.info web page.) The website is attempting to raise the $500 required for a 1-year license, but since it gives the maps away for free it is having a hard time raising the money.

The MTA is very protective of its licenses and copyrights. A neat little bagel shop opened up on Smith and 9th Streets in Brooklyn a few months ago. The shop, F Line Bagels, is located underneath the F train line in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The bagel shop is set up like a subway station with tiled walls and old subway station signs. The MTA threatened to sue them as well. However, after a local campaign in support of the shop, and the fact that the owners alerted the MTA that they had purchased the subway memorabilia from the MTA website and at MTA auctions, the MTA seemed to back down a bit.

Watch out--New Subway Rules

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...the MTA announced new rules for the subway and also to enforce some old existing rules. These are rules that effect the every day rider, not just perps and skels. Some of them make all the sense in the world; some of them are pretty stupid.

$25 fine--"the non-alcoholic beverage rule." riders cannot have beverages on the subway trains (however, they decided not to extend the ban to the subway platform.)

$75 fine--passengers cannot pass between cars in the train. Law enforcement will have the discretion to not ticket riders who are fleeing threatening passengers.

$50 fine--for putting feet on bus, subway, or platform seats. This includes putting baggage on a seat in a crowded bus or subway.

Discuss.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Some People Just Don't Get It...

FROM O'HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...on a recent trip from Chicago to New York I saw something that caught my eye. Remember right after 9/11 when the newly formed TSA wouldn't allow old ladies to carry knitting needles and nail clippers into the airport? The TSA and DHS have been able to evaluate their search criteria and have streamlined the list of prohibited items, which is a plus. Cigarette lighters are forbidden but chopsticks are not. We still have to take off our shoes though (???). After I successfully made it through security--and was putting my shoes back on--I noticed a TSA employee (complete with latex gloves) going through a little travel bag inspecting each piece inside of it. The passenger, who looked annoyed, was bringing a 100-piece manicure, pedicure, hairstyling, acupuncture, surgical kit onto the airplane. The TSA employee was inspecting each piece (and I saw him look at at least 9 pairs of scissors) and putting them back into the bag. I am not sure which surprised me more--the fact that this idiot was trying to bring this kit of 100 sharp objects on the plane (enough to distribute to the entire cabin to use to overtake the plane from the crew) or that the TSA was allowing him to bring these ON the plane!!!

Maybe our security has become too lax?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Metro v. Subway

submitted by a very special reader...click here

Friday, September 16, 2005

Are They Serious?

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- A solution for all of you short, germ-phobes out there.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Random" bag searches

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...I experienced my first two random bag search checkpoints the other day. The first was at my home station during the morning commute. At first I found it odd that the police would be checking bags in my beloved little quiet neighborhood, but then I realized, if I was a terrorist I would go to a nice, quiet, small station to begin my journey of terror. Anyways, I did not get stopped.

Later that evening I was entering the train entrance at the Canal Street station when I realized I was walking into another random bag checkpoint. I was on the way to an inter-bureau softball game and I was chosen to carry the equipment bag. The bag was about 4.5 feet long and two feet wide. It weighed about 40 pounds. It was huge!!! As I walked into the station I knew I was going to be stopped. But, nope, I walked right in. I must not have been the requisite numbered person carrying very large baseball equipment bags into the subway...or I just didn't meet the profile, oops did I say profile.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Eight is Enough

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Looks like Metro has finally started testing its eight car trains on the red line. Thank you Metro!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Man, if I had known I would have beat his ass."

FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...on my way home from work the other day I witnessed a near incident. When the F train pulled into the Delancy/Essex Streets station it was unusually crowded, even for a PM rushhour. I got in the train at the second set of doors. To my left, near the first set of doors, I could hear some yelling and what appeared to be a small scuffle. Keep in mind the train was packed. "Just someone trying to push their way off of the train," I thought to myself, "just look down and ignore it." But it continued, and I became curious. The shouting was getting louder and it was coming from more than one person now. I looked over to see a tall Asian man in his mid-20s who looked pissed (and annoyed) and was swinging at someone/something. Then I noticed a very perppie looking short guy trying to squirm his way out of the train, get violently pushed, and then walk down the platform, just as the doors closed and the train began to move.
"He was trying to take your wallet."
"That dude was gonna rob you."
"Yes, Yes, I saw him."
"What was he doing? Oh my."
"He had your wallet, I saw him. You stopped him."
I could hear all of this coming from the near end of the train. The victim was silent and still looked annoyed and pissed. And then I heard a middle-aged black woman who was about 8 feet from the victim say, rather loudly, "He was trying to pickpocket you? Man, I wish I saw him. I wish he was still here. Man, if I had known I would have beat his ass."
Sometimes civilian mobs may be the best form of crime prevention.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – Commuting during normal rush hour times on the metro is often pretty bland. One might occasionally see something unusual or amusing, but mostly the crowd is your run of the mill nine-to-five-ers. The crowd on the metro at night, however, is decidedly different. Last night, for example, I came across three of D.C.’s unusual residents on my way home.

Sitting directly in front of me on the metro last night was a very large woman in scrubs. Okay, nothing odd there. What made her unusual was her hat. She wore a very large black headpiece that was an odd cross between a jester and a pirate hat. The thing was huge. Now, I chose to make the assumption that this woman was probably a nurse in the children’s ward of one of our local hospitals, and that she wears this silly hat in an attempt to brighten the lives of terminally ill children. Great. I applaud that (if true). But really, did she need to wear the hat home?? I’m betting she’s probably got a place to stash it at work. A bit of advice, lady – when you wear it at work, you’re a hero, when you wear it on the metro, well . . . you look like you’ve got some problems.

Sitting close to the jester/pirate lady was another young man who caught my attention. This guy reminded me of that certain nerdy kid we all knew in high school – the one who was a little chubby and had the constant scowl from being picked on his whole life. This kid was a little different though, in that he also had his lower lip, eyebrow, and nose pierced – a good look on a tough guy anarchist type, I suppose, but just downright silly on a chubby guy from the burbs. The look was really topped off by his shirt. It read: I heart my penis. Umm . . . Good for you. I’m betting you might be the only one who feels that way about it. Enough said.

And finally, I saw the dude who must have been the model for the cartoonist who created Bevis from MTV’s Beavis and Butthead. I actually had to stare at this guy – I couldn’t help it. He was ridiculously skinny, and had a huge head with crazy, fluffy blond hair. His forehead was huge and he had that same skate-ramp of a nose and jutting chin that Beavis had. I was just hoping that he would laugh out loud at something or so I could confirm that this was in fact the real-life Beavis. (Note: hopefully the fact that you now know that I have watched Beavis and Butthead in the past will not be held against me – we all make mistakes, right?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Our Map Has Fallen Into the Wrong Hands!!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- Our local NBC affiliate is reporting that a map of the Metro has appeared on a terrorist website that encourages attacks against Americans. While I am as concerned about the threat of terrorism as anyone, I can't help but be a little bit unimpressed with this news. Seriously . . . people have t-shirts and shower curtains with this information on it -- so is anyone really surprised that it has fallen into the hands of the evil-doers?? Did anyone honestly think they didn't already have this information? or that they didn't consider Metro a target??

That being said, please heed the words of my metro conductor this morning: "Please remember to be aware of your surroundings and to stay vigilant. And as always -- be careful out there today."

On the Way to Work This Morning . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- I spotted a few amusing things on the way to work this morning:

1. A very well dressed and well built twenty-something black man doing cross-stitch (it was a lighthouse).
2. A woman carrying a Le Bag. I was left wondering if she also rode around in her Le Car when not riding the metro.
3. A Best Buy employee listening to his old-school cassette tape Walkman. This is probably the same dude who sells MP3 players all day long.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The 6 Wins Again



The Straphangers Campaign, a subway-consumer activist group, released its annual "State of the Subway" report. The group compiles statistics given to it by the MTA and ranks the subways lines on a number of different categories, such as regularity of service, breakdowns, getting a seat, cleanliness, etc. Check out the New York Post's coverage of the report and the MTA's reactions here.

And yes, the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign is always in a hurry to get off to work.

"Highways just don't happen."

President Bush signed the Highway's Bill today. The bill also gives money to train and bus systems.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – Every morning on my way to the metro I walk past the same wheelchair-bound, middle-aged black man holding a cup. He’s a friendly guy who always says hello to everyone he sees. But for the occasional jingle of spare change hitting the bottom of his cup, you’d never really be able to tell he is a pan-handler. This guy shows up every morning wearing a different clean, put-together outfit with matching baseball cap. He wears plenty of jewelry, has one of those fancy ear-piece cell phones, and rides around in one of those super-fancy automatic wheelchairs. So I always wonder what exactly this guy’s story is. What’s he there for? Because the last time I checked panhandling didn’t pay all that well -- even for a dude in a wheelchair -- and especially for a dude in a motorized wheelchair who appears to have money of his own.

Anyway, he must be doing something right because last week, approximately one hundred yards away from him was another middle-aged black dude in a motorized wheelchair. Granted, his wheelchair wasn’t as fancy and he definitely could have been mistaken for homeless, but he carried a similar 7-11 Big Gulp cup and seemed to be doing pretty well. You can’t blame a guy for wanting a piece of the action, right? Then, this morning, as I passed these two guys and rounded the corner to the metro entrance I saw a THIRD guy. No joke. Sure, this guy was in a standard-issue wheelchair, but still!!

These guys have got to get together and work something out or else their business is sure to suffer. One dude could wheel across to the entrance on the other side of the street in the morning, or one could show up for the evening rush. I’m waiting to see how long it takes the original guy to reclaim his turf.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Which Way to the Beach?

Transit maps are now available for downloading to your iPod. Not really necessary if you only commute on the Metro, perhaps, but fun nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

If I were in charge...

One of the reasons for this blog is the authors' respect for the smooth operation of the very complicated transit systems in NY and DC. The over 106 miles of track and 86 station in the DC area and the 840 miles of track and 468 stations in New York City are truly a remarkable feat and usually run very efficiently. However, there are always those little things that make me wonder..."What are these idiots thinking." That is when I am full of ideas for the MTA.

Last Saturday night I was trying to get from downtown Brooklyn to the Upper East Side. I decided to walk to the Borough Hall Station. One of the two central hubs in Brooklyn (8 trains stop there). I wanted to take one of the two Lexington Avenue express trains that stop at the station. As I approached the turnstile a hand-written sign read : No 4 or 5 Service. I had to walk about 50 feet to a big wall with a bunch of red and white paper signs marked: Service Advisories on it. I found the one that said "No 4 service between Brooklyn Bridge and Franklin Ave" and looked to see my alternative to getting to the UES. It said to take the J to Chambers Street. Now, I don't frequent the Borough Hall station that often, but I know that the J train does NOT go into Brooklyn. But, I followed the red and white paper signs pointing me to the J train. I walked past the 4, 5 platform--no trains running; the 2,3 platform--no trains running and eventually entered the Court Street station (which is connected underground to the Borough Hall station) and waited for the J train. When it finally came I got on and exited at Chambers Street like the paper signs instructed and went to the 4,5,6 platform. And to my surprise a 4 train came rolling down the local track. Do I take it, do I wait for an express 4? I quickly looked for a red and white paper sign to instruct me. None. I got on. I least I would be going in the right direction and could always transfer to an express train if we met one. Well, that never happened. The 4 trains were running local. I found out when my 4 train passed 14th Street-Union Square. There were red and white paper signs stating there was no 4 express service.

Now, what would I have done if I were in charge for the day? First, I wouldn't have been doing construction on every single train line on the same day. Second, why was the "J train" the alternative to the 4 when it could have been the M train--since it runs there anyway. Why confuse people. Third, why not call the 4 local train the 6 train? If it looks like a 6, stops like a 6 and runs on the 6 track, it must be a duck, I mean 6.

Now, I am sure there is a good reason for all of that, but it is just not apparent to me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On The Way to Work This Morning . . .

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO -- On the way to work this morning I saw a dude wearing an Oingo Boingo t-shirt. I have seen lots of random band t-shirts in my day, but never an Oingo Boingo t-shirt. I couldn't even tell you what the band sings, but I do know that they were featured in the movie "Back to School" starring Rodney Dangerfield (which just so happened to be filmed on the campus of my beloved alma mater -- except, of course, the scene where you can see mountains in the background).

Friday, August 05, 2005

And the winner is...



Caroline from Morningide Heights. The 2004 Ms. Subway. Read all about her and what she is doing for YOU.

Random bag searches


FROM THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY...for the past few weeks the New York City Police Department has been randomly searching passengers entering the subway system. These searches take place inside the station, but outside of the turnstiles. The police allow any one who doesn't want to be searched to not be searched, but they are also not allowed to enter the subway system. The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD saying that the searches violate people's civil rights. The suit says that "the bag searches were almost useless in stopping would-be bombers, and therefore violated the Fourth and 14th Amendments allowing innocent people to move around the public streets without police searches." There are a few things wrong with that statement. First, the usefulness of the searches should not determine whether or not one's civil rights are being violated. Second, the subway system is not exactly a "public street." Have these people been in an airport in the last 30 years? We can save the constitutional rights arguments for a later date (like in the comments) but I heard an interesting alternative solution to the problem. If you do not want to be searched, fine, but you have to sit in the last two train cars. The last two train cars on each train would be designated as the cars in which "NYCLU Security techniques" have been used tp protect against terrorism. Let's see how many people decide to use those cars. I bet they will be empty.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

And you thought it would be difficult getting the metro to Dulles!

Here's an interesting article on the difficulties of building a subway in Istanbul. Enjoy!

And They’re Off!!

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – Many of you know the chaos that is Union Station on any given weekday afternoon. Commuters rush to catch the metro, the MARC trains, or an AMTRAK out of town. When these commuters originate from a spot on Metro’s red line, they pack like sardines into the very first car of the train. They all stand huddled by the doors, wheelie briefcases and backpacks at the ready and poised like track runners in the blocks, waiting for the moment the metro doors open. Whether they are truly agonizing milliseconds away from missing their train home to the family, or whether they just get caught up in the competition we’ll never know.

I suppose being a train operator on the red line at this time of day gives one the best vantage point to view this scene -- men and women, dressed in their suits and ties, frantically pushing each other out of the doors of that first car and racing each other up the escalator stairs. One day, before opening the doors, one metro driver announced: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE TRACK MEET HAS BEEN CANCELLED. I REPEAT THE TRACK MEET HAS BEEN CANCELLED. THERE IS NO NEED TO SPRINT. THE TRACK MEET HAS BEEN CANCELLED.”

I think they just like the competition.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fun Metro Fact of the Day

ON THE WASHINGTON METRO – When the metro first opened in 1976 it operated from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and was closed on weekends and federal holidays.