Mass Transit Also Experiences Major Accidents And Delays

COST Commentary: The short story below of a simple light fixture fire and its resulting delays and disruptions to tens of thousands of commuters in Washington, DC serves to remind us that the often expressed advantage of rail transit to provide consistently reliable travel time is just another myth regarding this generally ineffective mode of transit.

During the past few years there have been an abundance of such stories of equipment failures, bad weather/icing closures of train routes and tragic accidents resulting is many injuries and deaths. Train equipment in many cities is at or approaching the recommended end of its performance period and many tens of billions of dollars are needed for upgrades and replacements. Since all of these systems are heavily subsidized by local and federal tax dollars, there is no available and adequate source of funds in most cases.

These situations further substantiate the importance of the firm principle expressed by COST: A transit system will always be subsidized by tax payers and must be ‘cost- effective’ to be sustainable. If it is not cost effective, it cannot maximize its service to meet the transit needs of the greatest number of citizens needing transit in their daily lives and do not have alternatives.

Blue, Orange Lines delayed following closures, Washington, DC, December 13, 2010 – 9:28am

WASHINGTON – Orange and Blue Line trains remain delayed Monday following a full closure in a heavily trafficked corridor on those lines, according the D.C. transit agency.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced through Twitter around 9:00 a.m. Monday morning that there was no Blue or Orange Line service between the Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle stations. WMATA was running shuttle buses at street level along this route.

The closure and delays included the Farragut West and McPherson Square stations. Metro Center access to Blue and Orange Lines was also closed.

The transit authority announced earlier Monday morning that these trains were running on a single track between McPherson Square and Federal Triangle.

Metro says a light fixture that caught fire at Metro Center was to blame.

(Copyright 2010 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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