Archive for the ‘WMATA’ Category

New Metro Shuttle Bus?

August 27, 2008

New Metro Shuttle Bus?
New Metro Shuttle Bus (artist conception)

16 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines on Labor Day Weekend, August 27th to September 3rd. What better time to rip up the Metrorail tracks serving Washington, DC’s Ronald Reagan National Airport?

The crack planners of the  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) have developed an ingenious strategy to accomplish those track repairs with a minimum of traveler discomfort: they’re not flying anywhere themselves.


Metrorail Labor Day Death Wish?

August 26, 2008

Metrorail Labor Day Death Wish?














It’s a good thing that nobody flies in or out of Washington, DC on Labor Day Weekend, or Metrorail would be in trouble. That’s when track work is scheduled on the Yellow and Blue lines, the ones that go to Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Luckily, people are in no hurry to catch their planes at National, because the track work delays won’t be indicated on Metro’s state-of-the-art Trip Planner. And people flying into National are so refreshed and cheerful, without any bulky luggage, so they will be amused that Metro explains: “The stations will remain open, but the track between them will be closed . . . .”


No Quarter!

March 1, 2008


Writers handle rejection well (they better) but this stung. Not only did the D.C. Government reject my design for our quasi-state’s commemorative U.S. quarter (above), the U.S. Mint rejected  D.C.’s “Taxation Without Representation” design as “too controversial.” This is apparently the first coin proposal in the entire “State Quarter” series to receive an outright rejection.


21st Century Metro (Update) — Inside Story

January 14, 2008

21st Century Metro (Update) -- Inside Story

While the authorities propose half-measures like the Model 7000 Metrorail cars, we have looked at the future of DC’s mass transit, the Model 8001 (above). The Washington Post and other worry warts fret about Metro’s ability to carry an increasing passenger load, but NotionsCapital Engineering and others are working on the problem. Our most elegant solution, HPS (Horizontal Passenger Stacking), met with some petty objections, so we suggest this simple interior redesign:


Sci-Fi Subway — 21st Century Metro

January 10, 2008

Sci-Fi Subway -- 21st Century Metro

Series 8001 Metro Meteor Series (concept, NotionsCapital Engineering)

DCist had a post yesterday on the 7000 Series Metro Cars. Yawn. Look pretty much like the old Metro Cars after someone’s ralphed on the upholstery.

NotionsCapital, of course, has previewed Metro’s wish-list rolling stock before, but today we have a really Sci-Fi Network (Psychic Network?) type exclusive. Not the ho-hum series 7000, but the 8000 series.

Exterior view above; interior below.

Well worth the fare increase..

Interior, Series 8001 Metro Meteor prototype

Top image by Mike Licht, who would credit the bottom image but it’s in Japanese. It may be from some recreation company.

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New Year, New Metro Fares

January 6, 2008

New Year, New Metro Fare

The new year brings Metro fare increases and the predictable whining and moaning over the nickel-and-dime price hikes in a service that hasn’t seen a price rise in four years. This is especially rich coming from suburban cry-babies who commute to federal jobs — they get subsidized fares anyway.


New Metro Cars

December 10, 2007

New Metro Cars

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) put two new prototypes of the 6000 Series subway car into service last week, outfitted with video cameras so Metrorail management can observe customer reactions to them.

The new railcars, which lack Metro’s trademark mildewed carpeting, have exciting new features like spring-loaded hanging loops, folding bench-type seats and grab poles, things only seen on other American subways since about 1908.


Meaningless Moaning About Metro

November 12, 2007

Meaningless Moaning About Metro

Did the prices of, gasoline, food, construction materials and, um .  .  . cable television go up in the last four years? Yes.

Have Metro fares? No. Time to raise fares a little bit, pocket change daily, to cope with increased energy, materials and labor costs. Forty percent of Metrorail commuters get employer-subsidized fares anyway.

Public Reaction? Outrage! Indignation! Fury!

Points to ponder:

  • Many commuters take Metro because gas costs $3 a gallon. Does Metro get energy for free?

  • On Metrorail, the greater the distance, the higher the price – you know, like in a taxicab.

  • Not enough suburban Metro station parking? The way suburban property values are falling, Metro should be able to pick up plenty of cheap land for parking lots real soon. There, isn’t that a comforting thought?

Image by Mike Licht. Please step back from the edge of the platform.

Bend It Like Brooklyn?

September 20, 2007

The double-jointed bus 

Washington’s “CarFree DC Day” was Tuesday, while I was in New York City, so here is a car-free scouting report from the Big apple. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is run by NY State, not New York City, and operates the regional transportation network of subways, suburban commuter rail, urban and suburban buses, bridges and tunnels, and transportation construction. Repeat: MTA is a state agency, so metro-NYC-area transit is well-coordinated. It is as if the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments (COG) actually ran stuff and did not just plan, advise, and advocate Best Practices to competing and conflicting systems and constituencies, giving good advice nobody takes.

 Most of the MTA buses I saw in Manhattan were “articulated,” weird-looking 60-foot-long vehicles with bendable accordion sections in the middle. These buses hold twice as many passengers and can negotiate the small, twisting 18th century cow paths that pass for streets at the foot of Manhattan Island. 


Dude, Where’s Your Car?

September 12, 2007

Car-free alternatives - technical directions.

Time to get out the WD-40 and tune-up your bike, deodorize those walking shoes, or buy a Metro card. DC Car-Free Day 2007 is September 18th and World Car-Free Day is September 22nd

These celebrations started as ad hoc affairs during the Oil Crisis of 1973 and became more organized in October 1994. This year, Chinese cities are participating.

Washington, DC has an alternative transportation-promoting Mayor and at least one bike-riding Council Member, Tommy Wells. You can join them by taking the Car Free Pledge (just for a day or so). Save some gas, and you might win a new bike.

And if you live in DC’s Ward 6, save a tree while you’re at it – read Tommy “Ten-Speed” Wells’ newsletter on the web.