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It would be big news in almost any town that the head of a major public utility doesn’t bother to make use of his own service. But in D.C., it’s the exec’s use of his own service that warrants attention. According to a Nov. 8 Washington Post Metro-section article, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Chief Executive Richard A. White only recently decided to park his car in Fairfax and risk mingling with the masses on Metrorail’s Orange Line.
“I need to see and feel and experience what the customers see and feel and experience,” White told the Post.
But instead of hopping on board, maybe White should have stayed in his car. Between May and November, Metro sent out at least 139 eAlerts, ether-borne updates announcing near-daily delays across the 28-year-old transit system.
We have taken the raw eAlert data and translated it into the kind of snappy graphics that even a CEO can understand. As our eAlert-based map indicates, White is fortunate his commute isn’t on the Red Line, that bulging, infected intestine of anguish and impediment. But don’t think a commuter has it easy on the Yellow Line, either.
With so many of the eAlerts announcing such specifics as 13-minute, 18-minute, and 54-minute delays, we wonder: If you can pinpoint a problem’s impact to this level of accuracy, why does the problem persist?
Perhaps White will ponder this as he shuffles his feet impatiently on the Dunn Loring platform every morning.