“Train. Train. Take me on out of this town…”
The lyrics to an iconic song may trip merrily through your head as you wander off to your rendezvous with your favorite Metro stop – but you best know the entire song and perhaps six more to sing in your head if you decide to commute using the Red Line after August 1.
That’s when Metro’s so-called “SafeTrack” initiative will begin and directly affect Montgomery County commuters.
In some places – like the Shady Grove and Rockville Metro stops you will probably have to hum “Can’t you see?” as one of those songs because you won’t and can’t see a train but three times an hour at those stops for a while.
Shift into the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City,” and wail about your neck being dirty and gritty as you sit in this hot summer traffic trying to get to work.
In fact, you may get the “Mercury Blues,” in that hot traffic and wish you could “Bang a Gong” on the heads of those who run Metro as you contemplate the fact beloved Metro system managers are about to layoff close to 500 people from the payroll even as they struggle to update aging infrastructure.
If humming good Rock n’ Roll music isn’t your forte as you swelter, starve and search for the nearest bathroom on your three-day commute into D.C. every day, then perhaps you’d like to watch a movie on your laconic Uber ride.
Considering the Metro rail system has broken down, burst into flames, been flooded and is already so delayed as to render the term “Mass Transit” a massive contradiction in terms much like “Jumbo Shrimp,” you might just want to watch the “Ten Commandments.”
It’s a long movie and is about a lot of people aimlessly walking around the desert searching for the way home.
As on the Metro an overlord has to be overcome. “Let my people go!” has been shouted by many a traveler intent on arriving home safely on the Metro.
Suffering through fires, floods and horrible overcrowding about the only thing missing from the Metro commuting experience is a plague of locusts.
As summer is quickly upon us, and as the D.C. area is notorious for its vapidly hot weather – made worse when Congress is in session – one can’t but speculate how quickly the plague of locusts will descend on the Metro.
SafeTrack will, ultimately, one hopes make it safer for the weary commuter to get home from work before he or she has to take a shower and head back out the door for the next day’s adventure in the workforce.
But, in the meantime there will be more suffering before things get better.
We may grumble and we may gamble with alternative ways of getting to work. Some may, indeed, try to telecommute instead of sallying forth into the world of endless, hot traffic and gritty necks – but we’re all going to suffer.
It is inconceivable that we’ve gotten into this spot.
In a First-World city we have Third-World mass transit. Once a shining example of mass transit the D.C. Metro system, bogged down by endless bureaucrats, horrible upper-management and indifferent middle-management has become the textbook example of the chickens coming home to roost.
We have to get beyond the blame game and fix the mess – which is precisely what the new head of Metro –Paul Wiedefeld is attempting to do. For this he should be commended.
But there are still plenty of problems at Metro he hasn’t fixed that do not bode well for the rail system’s future.
The indifference and outright hatred shown to the media from Metro is part of it. The lack of transparency, the inability to get simple questions answered or even getting the phone answered is indicative of the greater problems still plaguing Metro.
A lackluster attempt to notify daily users of the SafeTrack plan is questionable in itself.
There are many who are unaware of when, where and how the repairs are going to be made.
Despite attempts to communicate to the media, there are still – every morning – many who take the Red Line at Rockville who have no idea what’s coming and when.
It might be “30 Days in the Hole,” for those riders as they pray for “Two Tickets to Paradise” instead of the daily commute which may well feel like “Around the World in 80 Days.”
Pull up a chair. Let’s take our “Exile on Main Street,” and follow it up with a “Magical Mystery Tour.”
Ahhhhhhh…. Summer. Yep. It’s a “Whole Lotta Love.”