Fix All of the Machines

Farragut North. Photo by Peter Roome.

Farragut North. Photo by Peter Roome.

At Starbucks, pre-Orange/Blue Line to Capitol South, I had the pleasure of meeting a not-to-be-named Metro Station Manager waiting for coffee. She was still wearing her uniform jacket which caught my eye and interest. My app development team in San Francisco, SMARTmuni, began its journey to the eponymous iPad app through the encounter of a Station Manager at the SFMTA’s Embarcadero station.

The Farraguts (West and North) the subjects of political and commute drama alike, provide access to 49,691 people per day. When an escalator, schedule or a passenger goes down, it is the problem of the Station Manager. I asked one question of this woman (we’ll call her Shirley). “Ma’am, what is the one thing that would make your job easier?” Shirley heard me incorrectly.

 “This job ain’t easy…”

“No no, what would make your job easier?”

“Oh,” coughed Shirley, “Machines. New machines. All of ’em.”

“Which machines, ma’am? The fare machines…?”

“No, the machines I use. They don’t work and we need new ones.”

“Thanks, Ma’am.”

I take this to be a call for action. This Shirley, who is responsible for thousands of people getting to-and-fro her station during her shift doesn’t have the tools to do her job. At 7th St/Convention Center/Mt. Vernon Square Station, I chatted the Station Manager up as well.

Q:”When is the next Yellow Line train to Braddock?”

Looks at Screen

A: “I don’t know. I gotta wait until the train hits Fort Totten and turns around before it tells me.”

There is plenty of “Metro sucks” sentiment out there, but perhaps we can investigate this further and help the pros over at WMATA fix things… for Shirley’s sake? Using know how and affordable solutions? Let’s.


About Matt Kroneberger

Recent graduate of UCLA in Political Science and Geography - Environment. Fascinated by and active in sustainable transportation, infrastructure, politics and international development.
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