Metro’s fall report card shows historic lows, few bright spots

WASHINGTON — Metro’s latest report card shows the transit agency is meeting targeted goals in only four categories, and registered its lowest performance ever in two others.

The fall Vital Signs report card evaluates Metro in 11 categories, ranging from bus and rail service to crime and escalator reliability.

Rail on-time performance fell below 80 percent in July, August and September of this year, while rail customer satisfaction came in at 67 percent, based mostly on poor reliability.

Factors contributing to those numbers include service adjustments after a derailment near the Smithsonian station and a transformer fire near the Stadium-Armory station. Also, an aggressive summer maintenance schedule took rail cars out of service; as a result, the “minimum car requirement” was met on only 10 out of 64 weekdays.

The Vital Signs report notes that crowding on the Blue line has reached “challenging levels” during rush hours. In July, the optimal “Passenger Per Car” count of 100 was exceeded at Court House (103) and Rosslyn (102) during morning rush hours, and at Metro Center (107) and Rosslyn (130) during evening rush hours.

A bright spot in the report is availability of escalators and elevators: There were about 10 percent fewer unexpected breakdowns.

Crime nearly doubled in parking lots, in buses and at bus stops, increasing 48 percent over last year’s third quarter. Those numbers were driven by robberies and thefts of handicap placards from cars. On Metro trains, where snatch-and-grabs and pickpockets are the leading problems, crime declined by 17 percent.

Metro employees also are being affected by crime. Twice as many Metro Transit Police officers were injured while chasing suspects and/or making arrests than during last year’s third quarter, and three times as many bus and rail operators sought help for stress after seeing gun violence and/or being threatened by customers.

Assaults on bus drivers increased 23 percent and many of those incidents included customers spitting on bus drivers, the report says.

Vital Signs Q3 2015

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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