As breadmaker Mark Furstenberg pointed out in our Answers Issue this week, D.C. is still a car city. That’s particularly true in the suburban swaths served by the Metrorail’s red line. And at this point, the riding the red line has become a miserable experience for many. Peruse the WMATA Twitter feed, and tweets about service delays quickly fill the screen.
One of the underpinnings of urban planning is that travelers should be able to get around without a car. But what are people supposed to do when it’s impossible to know if they’ll arrive at their destination on time?
Yesterday after a broken rail in the morning, red line riders were caught in massive delays during the rush hour. During a power failure late last night, riders received no communications about why they were sitting motionless for up to an hour.
Yet Metro wants to raise fares to close a $116 million budget gap. As our smart commenters here have pointed out, the first step should probably be an audit of the budget to see where inefficiencies can be eliminated. Metro fares—unlike fares for Metrobus— have stayed relatively commensurate with inflation, so a rush to raise fares without showing how those fares could improve service is likely to (and should) go over like a lead balloon.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery