During my 10 hour trek on Monday to all 91 Metro stations, I wanted to find out what frustrates riders most and how they would fix the system if they were in charge.
Nathan Gentry, who commutes from Vienna, Va., downtown to Federal Triangle, said he's had issues with delays ever since a September transformer fire affecting the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. "I don't know of a long-term solution. I think they need to do better maintenance on their trains, have backup plans in case things fail," Gentry told the Washington Examiner. He criticized Metro's communications with customers when things go wrong, saying he often has to turn to Twitter to figure out what's happening.
Another Vienna rider was frustrated with the fare system. Unlike the subway systems in New York City and Boston, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) charges a higher fare for riders travelling longer distances. She said she could put up with bad service if she paid closer to $2 per trip, like in those systems. Instead, she pays almost $6 one-way. "I expect to get more for my money," she said. "I pay all that but I've been sitting here waiting for the train to leave."
A frequent theme in rider complaints was inconsistency. "The time it takes me to get into work varies so much every day, it can be from an hour to two hours," one rider at Wiehle-Reston East told me. "I'm late almost every day because it's completely unpredictable." She said fares are already high, but hopes that additional federal regulators will help.