Metro under microscope for recent safety incidents

Adam Tuss,

WASHINGTON – The agency with primary oversight of Metro safety spoke out at a meeting Thursday about their concerns over recent incidents.

During a board meeting at Metro headquarters, Tri-State Oversight Committee head Matt Bassett said Metro has been proactive in tracking down safety issues like cracked rails, brake problems and massive power outages. But he didn’t excuse the agency for the lapses.

“I think we have asked a lot of questions over the last two months. They need to do a better job communicating about some hazards. And they are doing the work (on the system), but they need to do a better job of documenting it and communicating the results,” Bassett said.

The little known TOC was thrust into the spotlight after the fatal Red Line crash of 2009. Since that time, the committee and Metro have had a tumultuous relationship. At one point Metro even barred TOC members from performing visual inspections of Metro’s tracks.

However, Bassett says the relationship between TOC and Metro now is at a “mature” point.

“We are in a stage where instead of talking about the architecture of our relationship as a whole, about whether or not they are going to be responsive to our concerns or about whether or not they are going to tackle the problems that we see and they see, we’re now figuring out the best way to (fix the problems),” Bassett said.

He said the TOC recognizes the significance of issues like cracked rails and brake problems on trains.

“But we’d rather be dealing with rail brakes than collisions,” he said.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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