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This morning, Metro commuters may have encountered a mysterious system-wide communications breakdown. Metrorail and Metrobus arrival predictions weren’t delivered to transit apps and platform information signs, and the public address system went down, as did Metro’s website and e-mail alerts. (This comes within a day of a chunk of concrete falling through the ceiling at the Farragut North station. Nobody was hurt. But Metro’s public persona, again, is taking a beating.)
I’ve been, thankfully, blissfully ignorant of all of this. Ever since I wrote my “App Trap” cover story earlier this fall on the proliferation of real-time transit data into civic life, I’ve made a conscious effort to pull back from the regular bombardment of logistical information. I’ve been walking to and from work, about five miles roundtrip (uphill, both ways), negating the need to use public transit or check arrival predictions on my smartphone.
I haven’t shunned all transit information—when I was at the French Embassy compound on Reservoir Road NW on Tuesday night, I helped fellow reception-attenders figure out when the next D6 headed toward Dupont Circle and downtown would show up at the sort-of remote location between Burleith and Foxhall Village. But I’m less reliant on it (and using my phone’s data plan more wisely).