Thursday, July 22, 2010

The End

Dear Readers:

We are sorry to report that, due to lack of interest, Sir Ride A Lot and the Red Rider have decided to terminate this blog. Our goal in taking the time to write this journal was to provide an unbiased account of two riders' commute in hopes that we could help those who did not ride Metro on a regular basis, as well as the Metro Board and other interested parties, get a first-hand sense of what was really going on underground. We sought to remain as objective as possible, while, at the same time providing a bit of levity to keep things interesting. Regrettably, we have failed.

We understand that others have formed blogs which seek to provide a forum for people to rant about the horrors of Metro, post pictures, post videos, etc., etc. We have no problem with such sites and feel that perhaps they will serve some purpose in passing along the message to the powers that be that the system is fundamentally broken and needs fixing from the ground up. We fear, however, that such posts may not have this effect, but will instead simply create a forum for people to, at best, show their creativity and humor and, at worst, simply mock their fellow riders in a public forum. Such mockery achieves nothing positive and creates no real change in the system.

It was our conscious decision not to go this route and, in so doing, we found once again that the high road is truly the road less traveled. So to those who have read our site and hopefully obtained something of value from it, we are glad we could have been of assistance. We would encourage you to keep up the fight and make the effort to hold the Metro to account for the disgrace it has become. Only through the actions of a committed populace will any change actually occur.

Goodbye to all, I'll see you on the Red Line.

Sir Ride A Lot

Monday, July 19, 2010

Washington Post "Seat Hog" Article

Dear reader(s), it has been far too long since I have posted to this illustrious forum. In that time, service has gotten worse and fares have gotten higher. With the realities of Metro problems staring us all in the face, the Post has decided to give front page attention to the "problem" of seat hogs. This article can be found in its entirety at (

Sir Ride-A-Lot takes issue with this phantom problem and defends the actions of his fellow riders finding that, in general, Metro riders are courteous and accomodating even under very trying circumstances (some aren't...and you know who you are). He therefore has sent the following e-mail to the author of this article. Enjoy and please send me your comments.

Good Morning Ann:

As a co-writer of the blog The Well Red Commuters ( (with the alias Sir-Ride-A-Lot) and a daily Red Line commuter for well over 12 years, I can sadly say without reservation that commuter's behavior on the Metro is one of few things for which I can call myself a bona fide expert. As such, I feel I am well within my expertise to take strong issue with you regarding your "seat hogs" analysis.

In my vast experience, for the amount of overcrowding, breaking-down, surly treatment by Metro officials, fare hikes, faulty equipment, etc., etc., which can be experienced on a daily basis in the Metro System, Metro riders by and large should be commended for taking things in stride. The so-called "seat-hogs" I have seen are very rare and generally come in the following four basic categories: One, the man (almost always a man) who spreads his legs beyond the center line of the seat for no apparent reason; Two, the young person (generally high school, but also drunken college and twenty somethings) who gets on, slouches down, and spreads out like he/she is on his/her couch at home (and generally begins to immediately and frantically text God knows who); Third, a tourist family which is on vacation, having a great time and forgetting that, yes, people do work around here; and fourth the passenger who has a particular fondness for the aisle seat and/or has gotten up to let a rider get out and has failed to shift in.

Now, it has been my experience that any passenger from one of these categories of "seat hogs" can be easily restored to civility with an equally courteous "Excuse me." It's simple, if somebody is taking up more than their allotted seat simply say "Excuse me, could you please shift over" or "Excuse me, may I sit in that seat next to you." I have had to do this I would guess two hundred to three hundred times in my Metro riding career and most passengers are happy to comply with my request. In fact, I can only think of two or three instances off-hand when somebody was anything but courteous.

In light of these anecdotal but thorough observations, I would ask that in the future front page stories in both The Post and The Express categorizing Metro riders in a negative light be based upon actual facts rather than the need to fill a paper on a slow summer news day. While I understand the desire to bash Metro - since in many cases it is well deserved - inaccurate depictions of Metro riders in a prominent paper such as The Post create a false factual record and do a severe disservice to the riders of Metro, as well as the Washington region itself. Somebody reading this article either now or in the future would get the mistaken impression that Metro is packed with rude, selfish, mean-spirited cretins. While your article may make for good reading by those who want an excuse not to take Metro and stay in their cars, I'm pretty sure this in not what the goal of the area's newspaper of record should be.

So, in the future, I would beg you that before you bash Metro riders, please get your facts straight. If you need a source to report on what actually happens on Metro, I remain your humble servant. I would also ask that you check out our blog. If you do you will note that we have not updated it recently because - to be honest - nobody was looking at it and blogging into the abyss is just kind of sad. However, on behalf of myself and my colleague the "Red Rider" we would be happy to ramp things back up if there was an audience out there.

Thanks for your time. Have a great week.

Monday, March 1, 2010

40 minutes -- First workday of increased fare amount

There was an announcement as I was walking in at Shady Grove about two trains having problems, but nothing more was said about it. The train left SG promptly after arriving, and held for 1 minute downline and again for another 30 seconds.

Yesterday Metro instituted its temporary fare increase of $0.10 per ride.

Red Rider believes that when it comes time for the fare to expire, the Metro Board will vote to increase fares permanently.

Red Rider Rating: 8.5

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Senators to Metro: Fix problem or face intervention - Washington Times

Senators to Metro: Fix problem or face intervention - Washington Times

Excerpt from letter:

Five Metrorail employees working on the tracks have been killed in the past year. "Such a pattern cannot be viewed as a string of isolated accidents," says the [Senators'] letter to Metro Chairman Peter Benjamin. "Rather, it is clear that there is an institutional failure on the part of WMATA..."

35 minutes

Bravo to Metro!!! After an absolutely hideous display for so many weeks, this morning everything ran smoothly. The train was relatively clean and uncrowded, there were no delays and all escalators worked. For the first time in a long time I felt I actually got my monies worth.

Sir Ride-A-Lot Rating: 10

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

42 minutes + 1 offload

The parking behind the small garage at Shady Grove is improving. There is still snow covering parking spaces, but the top level of the garage is open which helps ease the congestion.

The train was offloaded at Bethesda this morning due to mechanical problems. There were no indications that there were problems on the train, nor an explanation, just an announcement between stations that the train was out of service at Bethesda.

The down platform escalator at Shady Grove is out, but all three street escalators were working at Dupont (South Side).

Red Rider Rating: 5

Monday, February 22, 2010

9 minutes to wait at Shady Grove

The trip itself from Shady Grove to Dupont Circle made good time. I had just missed a train at SG and waited 9 minutes for the next train to come. It did leave after sitting for just 1 minute.

However, in the first 6 minutes of the commute, 4 trains passed going in the opposite direction. I don't understand why there was a 9-minute gap with subsequent trains so close together.

How long should the interval be between trains during peak/rush hour? Metro website says "Due to the high frequency of service, timetables for peak hours (weekdays 5-9:30 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.) are not available."

The Metro timetable for midday, available online
(, show trains operating every 6 minutes during the mid-day.

This indicates that "high frequency" operations should have trains departing the station at less than 6-minute intervals during the peak/rush hour. In my experience, if things are running smoothly at SG, trains depart about every 6 minutes. I guess I'm a little confused by Metro.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good Metro; Bad Parking, People

The total Metro experience does not get high marks today.

The parking situation is not improved and there are many illegally parked cars throughout the parking lots. As I was leaving in the evening, there were 6 inoperable gates.

The Metro rides themselves were fine, a little slower than usual, but not out of the ordinary -- morning commute took 40 minutes.

The evening ride home was marred by my seat mate, who was sitting in an aisle seat next to an open window seat. I asked him to move, which he did, and despite Red Rider being small, no matter which way I faced -- forward or turned sideways -- dude next to me was determined to keep his elbow stuck in my rib cage! Dude needs to learn some public transportation etiquette.

Red Rider Ratings:
Parking -- 3
Metro rides -- 7
Dude -- 0.2 only because he moved when asked

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Still dealing with the snow

Metro gets very poor marks this morning. The small garage and the parking lot behind that garage were absolutely full this morning. I saw a car pulling into the last available spot at 8:25am. Dozens of cars were parked illegally, and plenty had started parking in the reserved spaces that don't officially open until 10am.

Note to Metro: When you pile up the snow and don't open the top level of the garage, people are going to park wherever they are able! Congrats on getting the system running after the snowstorms, now lets work on the parking availability so passengers can use the Metro!

I arrived on the platform at SG and two trains were waiting. I heard one conductor tell another that the train was supposed to leave 8:35 -- it was 8:41, and we didn't leave for another 2 mintues.

Red Rider Rating: Metro ride - 6; Parking at Shady Grove - 0.5

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

After the snow

It's been a while since our last post, because of the two big snowstorms DC got in one week. It wreaked havoc on the city and on Metro. Hopefully things will get back to normal, and if this morning's Metro ride in is any indication, we are well underway.

Total ride in this morning was 40 minutes, with a short wait at Shady Grove and a 2 minute schedule adjustment along the way. All the escalators were working.

Parking at SG was unusually tight, Metro has piled up the snow and there are far fewer spaces available than normal. Metro said about 70% of the parking was available, but I would put it closer to 60%.