I can only hope this is a good sign, that the new leadership recognizes that sometimes drastic measures are needed. Metro has never shut down all underground operations like this for non-weather operations, and I can only hope this day provides them the information they need to tackle safety and improvement strategically and swiftly going forward. I realize buses are still running and the region is lucky to have a robust bus system, and things like the streetcar and the Circulator bus (which operates separately) are still going and in some cases increasing service. I am lucky, because I telecommute. I am lucky because when I was using metro (or technically a combo of bus and metro) to get to work, I wasn't hourly and had a flexible schedule.
Not everyone has such luxury, although the #wmatabikepool hashtags and other various alternates
, last night on Twitter were making my heart happy. But the point is not just that I'm okay today, but that a lot of people rely on metrorail (I certainly do to get to church, and to many of the other things I do) and a lot of them work with people who assume they drive, who don't understand how single tracking, or buses breaking down can impact their on time work arrival. I have a friend who once called into work to say that the bus she was on had begun leaking (and it wasn't raining), so the driver had taken it out of service and they were all waiting on the side of the road for the replacement bus. Her co-worker told her it was fine, she could just say she overslept.
It fascinates me that in an area with terrible traffic, people somehow expect public transit to be magic. Although, admittedly, my longest period of lateness was when I moved ten minutes east and discovered that almost doubled my morning commute time. It took about two weeks of me leaving progressively earlier each day, trying various alternate routes to finally figure out what the magic leaving time was that got me to work reliably.
All of this is to say. Be kind to DC area folks today. Be kind to each other. This is a day. And hopefully things will look normal tomorrow.