An Update on WMATARU


In light of recent events there have been some changes with the WMATA Riders’ Union. If you haven’t already read about the history of how we got where we are today Mr. Kunkle at the Washington Post has 2 good articles here and here you may want to read. Those explain where we’ve been. I want to talk about where we’re headed and answer some questions.

Yes, I’m back. As the founder of WMATARU a piece of my heart will always be tied to it and since the former leader, Ashley Robbins, has offered to hand off the union I’ve stepped back in to facilitate a transition. I’m working with Graham Jenkins and some of the other former leaders as well as those who have indicated an interest in being a part of a WMATA riders’ union going forward to determine where this transition takes us.

In the near term this means we’re taking a “pause” to regroup. I realize all too well this isn’t the best time for a union representing hundreds of thousands of frustrated WMATA riders to not be active and for that I am sorry. However, I feel it’s important to regroup and try to do this again in the way that best serves the ridership in the long run.

I am back at the helm of the @WMATARU Twitter account but it will likely be quiet while we regroup. I’ve also forwarded the website to a “holding page” – apologies for the play on words you’ll find there. Graham and I are still trying to reach out to Ashley to recover any funds that may remain and I promise to keep you updated on that endeavor.

If you have any questions or want to help with a relaunch of WMATARU please email me at

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Chris – FixWMATA

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Fox5 DC Wants Answers for Viewers and WMATA Riders

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WMATA’s Red Line: A Brief History (April 2016)

NOTE: Does not include train problems, “police activity”, or medical emergencies. This list is only things reported by @MetroRailInfo.

April 1 – Woodley Park Track Problem

April 3 – Scheduled track work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 4 – Bethesda Track Problem

April 4 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 5 – Disabled Track Work Unit between Gallery Place and Farragut North

April 5 – Switch Problem at Medical Center

April 5 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 6 – Scheduled Track Work between Grosvenor and Dupont Circle

April 7 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 7 – Track Inspections between Silver Spring and Wheaton

April 8 – Signal Problem outside Wheaton

April 10 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 11 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 12 – Track Problem at Grosvenor

April 12 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 13 – Track Problem at Friendship Heights

April 13 – Track Problem outside Bethesda

April 13 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 14 – Unscheduled Track Repair between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 14 – Scheduled Track Work between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 15 – Unscheduled Track Repair between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 18 – Track Problem outside Bethesda

April 18 – Van Ness Power Outage

April 19 – Signal Problem at NoMa

April 23 – Bethesda Track Problem

April 23 – Fire Department Activity (was actually a track problem) at Friendship Heights

April 25 – Unscheduled Track Repair between Van Ness and Dupont Circle

April 25 – Track Problem outside Bethesda

April 25 – Scheduled Track Work between Friendship Heights and Van Ness

April 26 – Track Problem at Woodley Park

April 26 – Track Problem outside Medical Center

April 26 – Track Problem at Rockville

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NBCWashington: FTA Directs WMATA to Fix Tunnel Safety, Worker Protection Issues

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BethesdaMagazine: Repairs to Fix Leaking Bethesda Red Line Tunnel Postponed Indefinitely

Metro is restarting the process to find a contractor to handle the repairs after rejecting the only bid received as too expensive (read more)

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My Comments for Mr Wiedefeld – April 6th 2016

These are my comments as I will attempt to deliver them to WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld during his visit to the Riders’ Advisory Council tonight.

Mr Wiedefeld:

Thank you for your time tonight. I’ve seen you all over the place talking to everyone over the last 4 months. That can’t be an easy schedule and I’m sure it’s taken a toll on you. I also appreciate that you’ve met with the Accessibility Advisory Committee twice now in that period. We’re happy to finally have you here.
I want to speak to some of the things I’ve seen as a rider in the last 6 years.
  • We’ve seen incident after incident during commutes that have run riders back to their cars as somehow even the horrible DC traffic has become more reliable than Metro.
  • We’ve seen riders walking tracks after trains lose power.
  • We’ve seen crime rise – including 2 homicides last year that has shaken the foundation of person security on Metro.
  • We’ve seen derailments, and fires, and riders killed in crashes and failed incident responses due to lack of employee training and working equipment.
  • We’ve seen a frontline employee base that largely does not seem to care anymore. They’ve been rude to riders and unhelpful during problems.
  • We’ve seen lack of communication from everyone at WMATA. We’ve seen a spokesperson make inappropriate remark after inappropriate remark.
  • We’ve seen frontline employees make inappropriate sexual advances on riders while at the same time WMATA boasts working with groups that prevent this.
  • We’ve lived with a social media presence that lacks humanity, isn’t responsive, and doesn’t cover many hours of operation – including weekends.
  • We’ve heard about credit card theft, employee fare theft, rampant overtime leading to a tired employee base, and silos that prevent progress and communication.
  • We’ve heard over and over and over again about a 5 year $5B rebuilding program that clearly has not rebuilt much and has no money trail.
  • We’ve had a general manager and board chair who apparently thought of WMATA as a “last stop” in their career instead of being aggressive about fixing problems.
  • We’ve seen a 4th Estate afraid to cover WMATA problems for fear of being black-listed at WMATA.
  • We’ve seen bus drivers with horrible attitudes – there are plenty of pictures of WMATA bus drivers flicking off people, for example.
  • We’ve seen station managers asleep in their booths, and that’s when you can find a station manager.
  • We’ve seen rail cars with problems that never go away including brake problems and door problems and air conditioning problems.
  • We’ve seen train operators that don’t have passion for their job or a mind for safety. They open doors on the wrong side of trains, they don’t announce elevator outages as required, they don’t look before closing doors – sometimes trapping and injuring riders.
  • We’ve seen terrible decision after terrible decision come out of the ROCC and good employees come and go from there frustrated by people like Hercules Ballard who should have been gone years ago.
  • We’ve seen escalator and elevator outages that go *literally* for years and still never get fixed.
Mr Wiedefeld I really could go on for another hour about the horrible things riders have seen in the last 6 or 7 years prior to your arrival.
But I want, instead, to tell you I honestly do believe WMATA can be fixed. Between yourself and Mr Evans and a slew of new board members I honestly feel now is the time we can get things fixed and get the ridership back. But that change starts with you.
  • You need to keep showing us you’re not taking “everything is OK” as an answer. Going down to the tracks to look at a problem at McPherson was a good start.
  • You need to have a serious talk with the union about 74 cents of every dollar at WMATA going to labor costs.
  • You need to involve the ridership, including the RAC, in everything you do. If we’re not a part of the process and if we don’t see the communication that’s needed more riders WILL leave.
  • You need to start the fire process if you haven’t already. It’s past time to clean house at Metro.
  • You need to be a part of the track repairs. Continue to verify, in person, what they say they’re doing is getting done. We clearly can’t trust their word anymore.

And most importantly we want you to do what you need to do. The shutdown was a good example. We want you to feel so strongly about fixing WAMTA that you won’t take “no” for an answer. We want you to tell the board exactly what’s going on and give them options of how you plan to fix it.

I know you have many things to consider including the board, politicians, lawyers, media, and the list goes on. Please don’t forget that without the ridership though WMATA and the jobs that go along with it will be in jeopardy.

Thank you again for your time and we hope to see you here again soon.

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Add busETA to your iOS Home Screen

Here’s how to add a shortcut to WMATA’s new NextBus replacement, busETA, to your iOS (Apple) home screen:

 2016-04-05 14.35.41  First open Safari.
 2016-04-05 14.35.53 Then go to and click on BusETA at the top.
 2016-04-05 14.36.00  Use the share button (box with an up arrow) at the bottom of the screen.
 2016-04-05 14.36.07  Choose “Add to Home Screen”.
 2016-04-05 14.36.15  Click Add.
2016-04-05 15.42.03 Done!



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Washingtonian: Metro Ridership Has Dropped at Nearly Every Station Since 2011

Image from Washingtonian

Image from Washingtonian

Metro has shed tens of thousands of riders over the past five years. This decline is despite significant population growth in the DC region during the same period. (read more)

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NBCWASHINGTON: Police: Boy Shot, Killed at Deanwood Metro Station

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FOX5: Where is the increased police presence in Metro?

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