When it comes to public transportation, residents of the greater Washington area are relatively fortunate. Metro trains and buses come with relative frequency, they are clean (for the most part), and they can accommodate the masses of commuters and tourists that congregate in this city. But since Saturday, four people have died at local transit stations. Shouldn’t this be cause for some concern about the system?
Around noon on Saturday, an unidentified man moved into the path of a train at the Potomac Avenue station in Southeast and was struck by an Orange Line train. EMS technicians worked to free the man and eventually transported him to a local hospital but he later died from his injuries. Approximately 24 hours later, Gweno Ladisch, a French woman living in Chevy Chase, also purposely placed herself in front of a train at Bethesda station and died as a result. Metro suicides like these are tragic, isolated incidents but are becoming more frequent, according to a poll in today’s Examiner. It’s the other incidents of violence that have greater shock value.
Yesterday, two employees of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transit Commission were shot and killed at a bus terminal in Prince William County. A suspect, Glenn Wade, who also happened to be a roommate of one of the victims, turned himself in and was charged with murder last night. According to police, an altercation between the two men may have resulted in the shooting, but a reason behind the action doesn’t make it better.
What is it about this area? It was only last November that a 15 year old boy was shot and killed on a Ride-On bus in Silver Spring. Two years ago, people nation-wide were praising Wesley Autry, the New Yorker who saved a stranger’s life by throwing himself onto the tracks as the train passed over them. In DC, four people have died in three days with little fanfare. Our public transit system needs a safety overhaul, that’s for sure. But maybe Washingtonians aren’t fazed. According to Metro’s ridership statistics, the number of people using Metro is constantly rising.