Metro has poorly managed the transit agency for years and a lack of adequate funding continues to hurt the system, a survey of area riders found.
The survey of 450 residents from the D.C. region, conducted by Alexandria, Virginia-based Fingerhut Granados Opinion Research, showed “overwhelming” support for improving Metro by taxing sales, car rentals at airports and businesses located near Metro rail stations.
The Amalgamated Transit Union International, which has an affiliated group Local 689 with employees at Metro, commissioned Fingerhut to conduct the poll Dec. 11-15.
Lawrence Hanley, president of ATU International, said there’s been a crisis going on for several years with the transit agency.
“Over the course of the last 40 years where there should have been upkeep in the system and preventive maintenance, there was not,” he said. “All of a sudden, the entire system is collapsing at one time.”
According to a survey question about the best way to solve Metro’s problems, 73 percent said acquiring new funding sources such as a regional sales tax. About 17 percent were unsure and the remaining 10 percent said to curtail services and hours of operation.
However, roughly 80 percent of respondents were against decreasing Metro’s workforce ot hiring less experienced workers to save money.
“The public doesn’t buy the anti-worker stuff,” said Vic Fingerhut, whose company conducted the survey. “Cutting the workforce is not the way to go.”
Meanwhile, Metro gave an update Tuesday on an eight-car train derailment between Farragut North and Metro Center in Northwest the day prior. The derailment happened just after 6:30 a.m. on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Patrick Lavin, Metro’s chief safety officer, said it took almost 30 minutes to determine the train went off the track. He said there was spotty radio coverage between workers in the tunnel, but it was unclear whether that contributed to the derailment.
The radio communication should be fixed by Wednesday, he said.
The broken rail will be sent to a lab for forensic testing and the entire eight-car train will be inspected, Lavin said.
A full presentation on the derailment will take place Jan. 25 before the Metro board of director’s safety committee at the agency’s headquarters in northwest D.C.