This week in transit failure…

Once again, why I can’t stand American public transportation:

Smoke poured into Metro subway tunnels again last night, a day after an unprecedented and unexplained series of such incidents. Baffled officials began to consider the possibility that the events were more than mere accidents.

“This is not normal,” Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said. “This is highly, highly irregular.”

Asked whether he suspected terrorism, Catoe said no. But he added: “Could it be something else? Everything now is suspicious.”

Asked whether he suspected sabotage, he said, “I don’t know the answer to that question.”

The system reopened Tuesday at 5 a.m., and Metro officials said trains were running normally, with no service disruptions or problems.

Yesterday’s events, like Sunday’s, came just after the height of the evening rush, halting train travel on part of the Green Line in the District and much of the Blue and Yellow lines in Alexandria and in Arlington and Fairfax counties. At one point, a Metro spokeswoman said, seven trains lost power in the Blue and Yellow Line tunnels south of the Pentagon.

The chaotic situation forced thousands of irritated and bewildered passengers to disembark from stopped trains and use shuttle buses or search for other ways to complete trips home that, in some cases, stretched hours longer than usual. Well after 10 p.m., there was no service between the Pentagon and Braddock Road stations on the Blue and Yellow Lines. The U Street/Cardozo Station on the Green Line in the District was closed by smoke from about 7:20 to 8:40 p.m.

Officials provided some explanation for the shutdowns but could not provide a detailed basis for much of what happened. “We’re at a loss to identify the root cause of the problem,” Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

The Washington Metro may be one of the least efficient, least effective, bass ackwards organizations ever to be stood up in the history of the planet, and continued incidents like these just goes to further perpetuate that image…


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