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The Metro system, once a reliable point of pride for D.C.’s boosters, has had a rough few years: Safety problems, escalator outages, and rising prices have made the subway a regular subject of local griping. At times, it can be hard to keep up with the torrent of unflattering Metro-related scoops. As a public service, Washington City Paper is offering beleaguered riders this irregular round-up of recent media lowlights:
-A former WMATA chairman (and current board member) says he’s stepping down
-House Republicans just killed a bill which would have restored $150 million to WMATA’s coffers for safety measures.
-This video, posted on the blog Unsuck DC Metro, shows two guys fighting on the Orange Line train.
-A report released by Mayor Vince Gray’s office this week accuses D.C.’s transportation department of having skimmed money off the funds the city is supposed to provide to Metro. The money allegedly paid for things like the Circulator bus instead.
-The report also said the city’s streetcar plan—not part of Metro, but feeding the system—had fouled up in a variety of ways, including purchasing three streetcars it won’t be able to use because they don’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Looking for a silver lining, City Desk called WMATA today, seeing if there was any chance Metrorail trains could ever get free wi-fi, like the kind Amtrak’s planning to extend to all its trains later this year. In response, Metro sent along a press release announcing cell phone service was being extended to Metro’s 20 busiest stations.
The press release was dated 2009. Though, to be fair, people were very happy about the change when it happened.
Illustration by Brooke Hatfield