Metro union leader says riders share blame for state of system

WASHINGTON — The president of Metro’s largest union said on Twitter that riders who have not paid attention to the deterioration of the system are among the groups responsible for the system’s decline. 

Jackie Jeter, in an account a spokesman for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 has confirmed belongs to her, said in a series of tweets this weekend that workers, riders and management are all to blame for Metro’s issues.

When asked by other Twitter users how riders are at fault, Jeter responded that riders are not doing enough to lobby for the system.

“You can demand improvements! You never participate!” she tweeted Sunday. That prompted a number of responses pointing to riders who regularly reach out to Metro through social media, emails and phone calls and who participate in groups like the Riders’ Advisory Council.

Union spokesman David Stephen said Monday that riders Jeter was referring to include those who “actively neglect” the system through vandalism, fare evasion or other means.

“In addition to the other problems that we have in the form of maintenance, in the form of safety issues … to just say it’s all the union’s fault it’s just not a fair,” Stephen said.

“There are riders that have contributed to the deterioration of the system in addition to all the other parties … Therefore, we all have a responsibility to make it better,” he added.

The union has long felt that Metro workers are unfairly targeted on social media by people who love to hate the system.

One Twitter user, who said Jeter’s tweets amounted to blaming passengers for Metro’s problems, tweeted: “You are a joke.”

Jeter replied “You’re the joke if you don’t think that riders have a part too!”.

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