Time-consuming repairs and delays have plagued the Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority after two Metrorail trains collided June 22, killing nine and becoming the deadliest crash in Metro history.
The accident on the Red Line between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations killed nine people, including the train’s operator. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into Metro’s train control system is still ongoing but, since the accident, trains have been operated manually at all times and are stopping at the end of station platforms.
Ian Gindoff, a GW junior from Potomac, Md., said his travel time from the Grosvenor-Strathmore station into the city on the Red Line doubled in the weeks following the accident. Though he said the system is old and in need of updating, he was not put off from riding Metrorail.
“I keep riding it, my family keeps riding it – it’s still hell during rush hour,” Gindoff said.
Ridership reports from Metro indicate that the number of people that rode Metrorail this July dropped 2.3 percent compared to the same time last year. Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel points out, however, that the crash and delays might not be the only reason ridership went down.
“For Metrorail, if you compare July 2008 to July 2009, you will see a decrease, but there are many factors to consider. For example, gasoline prices on the East Coast were about $1.50 higher last June and July than they are this year,” Taubenkibel wrote in an e-mail.
At the beginning of next year, Foggy Bottom’s Metro stop will undergo renovations to have new escalators, a staircase, and a canopy.
Taubenkibel said a final schedule has not been set for the project at this time. “The work should not impact the Square 54 work. We will alert the Foggy Bottom community once we are prepared to start work at the station,” he said.