5 Reasons Why the Metro is Annoying


Okay, I have come to the conclusion that riding the Metro is utterly annoying. Here’s why:

  1. You’re not in control of your commute. The waiting time in between transfers is unpredictable. Obviously, during rush hour, there’s a shorter wait time. With rush hour, I’m not a fan of standing around scheming about how I’m going to knock over everyone in my way. It’s really not fun when you’re packed on an outdated metro car like a pack of sardines. Sometimes, there’s the occasional breakdown, which can set you back.
  2. Germs. I’m not a germophobe, but I do like to be conscious of my surroundings. I try not to touch a door handle or pole unless I need to prevent myself from flying into someone’s lap. Not to mention, there always that one person who’s coughing incessantly. Gross. Don’t even get me started on flu season… see kidshealth.org article.
  3. Metro car operators. It’s the most uncomfortable ride when your life is in the hands of a jerky metro car operator. (By the way, did you know they make up to $100,000 a year?) Yesterday, the operator came to a slow, jerky stop. Each time I thought the car was stopping, it picked up again only to stop again suddenly. Talk about a headache.
  4. No unlimited pass? This one perplexes me. The D.C. Metro operates its finances a little differently than MTA or CTA does. After spending time on the El in Chicago and Subway in New York City, I came to the assumption that all rail car service providers allow commuters an option to purchase an unlimited monthly ridership pass. I quickly realized that I was wrong. The Metro has no option to purchase a flat monthly pass. At least they have the SmarTrip®, which I thought you could re-load on the Internet, but I can’t find it. Do you know how I can add money to my card online? By the way, it’s cheaper to take the Metro, which in my case would be $357.20 a month as compared with $514.80, according to this Commuter Calculator tool.
  5. Mood killer. Whenever I am forced to ride the Metro, due to inclement weather or car repairs, I often find myself in a depressed mood because of the environment. Many riders on the Metro look tired, moody, cranky, or just plain old blank. If I get lucky, someone will smile at me, which is highly contagious — hence, why I *try* to do it myself. Okay, so maybe you’re not a morning person, I’m not either. That’s why I like to drive and listen to Jack Diamond’s crew on 107.3 — they always get me laughing and ready for the day.

You’re probably thinking, “So, if she hates it so much, then why does she ride the Metro?” Answer: I had to drop off my car for maintenance at a local gargage and take the Metro to work. While it was a hassle, I’m thankful that I have options. Do know that I am an advocate for public transportation, however, it is simply not for me during commuting hours.

*UPDATE* 12/15/08 — This article has been linked to on DC Blogs.


12 Responses to “5 Reasons Why the Metro is Annoying”

  1. 1 Emma December 8, 2008 at 3:13 am

    I enjoy not being in charge of my commute. Leave the traffic-worrying and driving to someone else. Read the paper. Flirt with cute boys, when they rarely show up….After NYC this weekend though, mm, you just cannot get a better public transportation station. We’re pretty lucky in DC to have SOME sort of light rail i guess though :-\

  2. 2 Cindy December 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I agree, it’s a great thing to have. I used to be a big fan when I commuted in Chicago and NYC, but I guess something has changed for me in 2008. It might be the fact that when I was living in the heart of the city, public transportation was the way to go. Now that I’m living in the suburbs, I think I like having more flexibility and options. 🙂

  3. 3 Gil December 15, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I will just say this. I now live and work in the Baltimore area and would GLADY ride the DC Metro again. You think that system is bad. Try dealing with the Light Rail on a day to day basis, when and if it decides to show up.

    Granted, the DC Metro is not without it’s problems, but I would endure that anyday over the MTA system.

  4. 4 ouij December 15, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I live in the suburbs, too–Fairfax. What kills my mood is when I CAN’T take the metro–the times I have to drive in and out of DC at rush hour. I get to my destination stressed-out and exhausted.

    On the Metro, I can relax. I can’t read the paper if I commute by car, but I can on the Metro. That’s a huge plus. I’d much rather read something substantive on the way to work than have to struggle through the inanity of most morning radio hosts, whose professionally perky demeanor only succeeds in reminding me that I am stuck in Beltway traffic YET AGAIN.

    There are a few things that I find annoying. There isn’t really a monthly pass available via SmartTrip–but I understand that Metro will roll that out over the next year or two.

    The delays–particularly the “sick passenger” delays– really do get me down. New York’s subway system is triple-tracked, and has express trains–something I wish we had here in DC. Most of the trouble is because the system is already operating at capacity. Write your local legislator and tell them to approve major Metro expansion–like, say, building a separate Blue Line, so that Blue and Orange don’t have to share the same tracks, or digging a tunnel to connect Farragut West and Farragut North to create one Farragut Square transfer station.

    [By the way: systems like the New York Subway and the DC Metro are technically “heavy rail” systems, because they use standard-gauge railroad tracks and operate on separate rights-of-way. The proposed Purple Line will be a “light rail” system, presumably using narrower tracks and lighter cars. The propsed revived DC Streetcar system would also technically be light rail, but running at street level. Somewhere in between would be something like London’s Docklands Light Railway, which uses cars that were designed for street-level running, yet runs on separated tracks.]

  5. 5 Cindy December 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for your perspective, Gil. I have yet to try out Baltimore public transportation, but I will be sure to give you my two cents whenever that day may come.

  6. 6 Cindy December 15, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Ouij, whenever I do ride the metro, I like that I can read (only if it’s not jammed packed). I also had no idea about the purple line, thanks for that info. I need to find out more about that.

    I’ll be counting down til the SmarTrip rolls out the monthly passes, until then!

  7. 7 Gil December 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Cindy, If you DO try it, be prepared for the unexpected, lol. Other than that, I think you will enjoy Charm City.

  8. 8 Cindy December 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Haha, thanks for the heads up 🙂 I do enjoy me a Baltimore crab cake! I hope to make it there for a weekend getaway. Any suggestions for the best seafood restaurant on/near the innner harbor?

  9. 9 M S March 3, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Oh honestly stop being such a sissy and get over with or stop using it. Oh, and did YOU know that Metro operators actually have almost NO control over the train? That’s right little missy the trains are computer-controlled during normal operation, which means it’s the computer system’s fault the trains do that, your operator is basically in the cab to make announcements, watch the track in front to ensure nobody is in the way, and open and close the doors. The only way an operator can gain control over the train is if there is an emergency or the computer goes totally offline, and a manager in the control center makes that call… in fact, some of the accidents in the past were caused because the managers DID NOT give control to the operator when they should have. And 100k a year? Who do you get your news from?! No DC Government or Metro employee makes that much, at least not the ones working in and around the trains…try again! So really, got any more complaints I can poke holes in?

  10. 10 Refined Designer March 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Hi there M S. While I appreciate the time you took to give your opinion, I would like to make one thing clear. I believe that comments are the heart of a blog and individuals who choose to comment should do so in an open, honest, and constructive manner. Please take note that I have supported my casual, yet opinionated post with several reputable links for your own reference.

  11. 11 Obion_G June 24, 2009 at 7:54 am

    MS seems to be fortelling the DC Metro rail crash computer malfunction:

    “The only way an operator can gain control over the train is if there is an emergency or the computer goes totally offline, and a manager in the control center makes that call… in fact, some of the accidents in the past were caused because the managers DID NOT give control to the operator when they should have.”

    Not good.

  12. 12 Hank December 26, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    The Metro is not perfect, but it still beats creeping along on a congested highway. Stuck in traffic, engine running = zero mpg + more air pollution the DC metro does not need. I always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer to deal with Metro cooties should I have to touch anything. As for the chronic hackers, you can always move to another car. The level of overtime pay you cited is staggering; no wonder the budget is always bursting at the seams (not to mention all the constant repairs needed to keep the system operational). BTW, I would be careful of who I smile at on the Metro, the last thing you want is a Metro stalker as your new friend!

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