WASHINGTON – A Metro power outage last month left riders stranded after protocols weren’t followed, Metro has admitted. But questions linger about how the situation got to that potentially dangerous point.
At a meeting before the WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council, Deputy General Manager of Operations Dave Kubicek was asked about the meltdown on the Green Line last Wednesday.
“I am going to decline to comment on an active investigation,” said Kubicek.
He would only suggest to council members to attend a Safety and Security Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14 when Metro will release its findings.
“Trains get stuck. That happens. It’s the question one of our members relayed, which was: ‘who’s in charge?'” said Ben Ball, chairman of the Riders’ Advisory Council.
That member, Carl Seip, says he looks forward to the report and hopes it will answer the question.
Metro says an arcing insulator, which is part of the third rail, was smoking and brought trains to a stop outside the Anacostia station around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
About 2,000 riders were left on two six-car trains. They were completely in the dark.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says about 100 to 150 customers decided to self- evacuate after 30 minutes, which exacerbated the problem.
Last July, Green Line passengers stranded on a hot train near the College Park Metro station decided to self-evacuate, frustrated by the lack of information.
A week later, Kubicek told the Safety and Security Committee that Metro would contact emergency assistance within five minutes, improve communications with stranded riders and develop a new philosophy going forward.
“Now that we’ve had two incidents, how are we going to make it clear that we have a different plan moving forward,” says Ball, when asked what Metro needs to address.