What is this Metro fuckery?

For as long as I can remember, the etiquette on escalators in DC and other metropolitan areas has been to stand on the right and walk on the left. It made sense to me. If I’m in a hurry to catch a train or get to work, I need to be able to pass those who choose to leisurely ride the moving stairs and get to where I’m going. The rule is similar to European driving regulations. You drive on the right and pass on the left. You do not leisurely mosey along in the left lane, with some impatient douche in an Audi riding up on your ass, flashing his high beams, trying to pass you. The douche may be road raging and unsafe, but you will be the one cited. Get the hell out of the way. The left lane is for passing.

This has always pissed me off after getting back to the United States. Rob will attest, I get insanely angry when some jackass blocks the left lane doing the speed limit or even slower. There are usually choice words used, and this is why I no longer drive often. No one needs a stroke.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a rush, running down the escalator, trying to catch a train with some clueless, jibbering tourists clogging up the left side, making me miss my train. Usually a terse “excuse me” is enough to make them move over. Sometimes it’s a lost cause. Why the hell should they take anyone else into consideration?

The unwritten rule is there for a reason. Those of us trying to catch a train home or to work, and who don’t have the time to leisurely gawp at the surrounding concrete walls of the Metro station, need to get where we’re going quickly, lest we miss our train and are forced to wait for the next time, which may or may not get there on time.

But now, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says, “Nope! Don’t walk on the escalators.”

DAFUQ, you say?

The head of Washington’s Metro system said Wednesday that the custom of standing on the right side of a Metro escalator to clear the way for people to walk on the left damages escalators.

“We do not promote, obviously, the walking on the left. These are very sensitive pieces of equipment,” he said as officials unveiled a new escalator at the Bethesda station.

It’s best for escalators when riders stand on both sides of the steps, Wiedefeld said.

Ummmm. I’m sorry, but what? We are now supposed to alter our schedules and possibly miss our trains because you lazy fuckers can’t be bothered to properly maintain your escalators?

Yeah, how about no? Screw you!

China has implemented similar recommendations this year, also claiming that walking on the escalators damages machinery. Of course, one Chinese subway official proposed a very simple solution to the so-called “problem.”

A spokesman for the Beijing metro system was quoted as saying that proper maintenance could solve the problem of wear and people walking on the left posed no safety risk.

“Routine maintenance can keep escalators in a good condition and no accident happened before because someone was walking to the left,” the official said.

In other words, if you properly maintain your system, you shouldn’t have problems.

But apparently Mr. Wiedefeld and his crew have decided that further inconveniencing their customers is preferable to properly maintaining the machinery in the transit system. After all, screw you, if you have to be somewhere! Our escalators are more important than anywhere you have to be. It is wholly unsurprising that this lazy, incompetent band of shit weasels is vying to ensure their barely literate, ass goblin employees expend as little effort as possible to maintain the capital region’s transportation system! After all, this is the same agency that wants to cut service, while at the same time raising rates, and has been falsifying track inspection records for as long as three years! Oh, and let’s not forget their assery actually resulted in a fatality in 2015.

Yeah, I can totally see how WMATA deserves more money, while cutting service! /sarc

Unfortunately, the federal government incentivizes this nonsense by offering a transit benefit to federal employees. While it’s a great benefit to have, given that the Metro fares are among the highest in the country, it also allows Metro to continue its dysfunctional, negligent, sometimes fatal system with impunity, secure in the knowledge they are guaranteed at the very least 317,000 federal workers boarding their buses and trains every day. Because, why not? The government gives them this benefit, the roads are clogged on a daily basis, parking is barely available in the city, and what lots do exist, rape their customers to the tune of $25 per day. Meanwhile, taxi and Uber rates are insane during rush hour. I’ve paid anywhere from $25 to $30 for the 6-mile trip to or from work.

Metro knows it has a secure customer set in federal employees, so why would it bother doing anything but the bare minimum to improve the second largest public transportation system in the nation?

I was riding the Metro home the other night, when the driver made an announcement to the crowded train that he was delayed requested everyone essentially have their shit all ready and quickly get off the train, so he can make up time. So, because of continued Metro incompetence, the passengers had to hurry the hell up, since it’s their fault he was running off schedule in the first place. I mean, come on! If he didn’t have to stop every few minutes to pick up and drop you peons off, I’m sure he’d be running on time! /sarc

This is the same kind of attitude that precipitates the “you should stand on both sides of the escalator” request. Since they can’t be bothered to actually maintain the system properly and run their trains on time, the onus falls on you – the customer – to inconvenience yourself in order to make the Metro run smoothly. And while you’re inconveniencing yourself, you will pay more for an already substandard service to be even more substandard!

So I will continue to run up and down the escalators as I see fit to suit my needs, because I refuse to help Metro do as little as possible to fix its systemic issues. It’s a small part, but I will do it.


19 responses

  1. Well, gee, Paul, maybe if your pathetic crappy agency would hire people who actually understand who to maintain escalators, you wouldn’t HAVE this problem! Metro employees have no idea how to maintain the things. This has been a problem for at least the 20-25 years I’ve been riding Metro.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s much easier to just tell people to alter their lives, because you don’t want to do the extra work! Assholes.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. More regulations– more telling us what to do– less freedom. Why do we pay and pay and pay when nothing is being maintained? IMHO we are so close to being a third-world country that when we reach the bottom, we won’t even notice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Because they’re a monopoly, and in most cases, that translates to “you have no other choice, so we don’t even have to pretend to try.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I’ve heard it said many times:

    This airline would ALWAYS run on time if only we didn’t have to deal with the passengers…..!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When I lived in Arlington in the late 1990s the saying was the only two things that worked in DC were the meter maids and the Metro. And now that’s been cut in half.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not buying their excuse here- it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if people walk up and down escalators and they sure as hell ain’t sensitive pieces of equipment.
    Maybe after years and years of no cleaning and no preventative maintenance an escalator might malfunction. Things like proper amounts of lubrication make a huge difference.
    Escalators are basically long, folding conveyor belts- not complicated machinery and not sensitive machinery.
    It’s not like right side and left side are separate it’s all the same damn thing pulled by the same chain or belt with the “stairs” folding when the belt reaches top or bottom.
    These guys think no one has any idea how shit like escalators work.
    The only thing that’s sensitive is the lazy maintenance workers who can’t be bothered to do preventative maintenance- which there’s no doubt falls under the maintence guys job description.
    It’s the union’s fault that these guys can sit on their asses instead of actually working all day, and partially OSHA’s insane safety regs, and partially EPA regs-doing simple things like applying grease to grease fittings requires pretty much a hazmat suit, disposing of used oil and grease requires more insanity.
    Every auto parts store accepts used oil and grease- for recycling. Which shows these things can be done without hazmat suits and 3 supervisors.
    If I lived in the area I would spend lots of time running up and down escalators just because the morons told me not to by using something that defies logic as an excuse for laziness. Plus it would be good exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I remember that when I lived here three-four years ago they were doing a massive round of escalator repair/renovation. They must have figured that was enough for the next decade.

    People think I bike to work because I want the exercise. It’s actually much more convenient than taking Metro (especially since they screwed up one of the bus lines I used to take and doubled the time it takes to get from the Pentagon to Constitution Ave. Grrrrr).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember the escalator in the old Sears store where I grew up had signs on them that said not to climb the escalator like stairs because it wasn’t safe and would damage it. I just always assumed they were all like that. Of course, that was almost 50 years ago on an already ancient system. I guarantee you, I will never block one. Because after the time one danged near ate my foot, I swore I’d never get on another one lol.


  8. The Metro has declined since the late 70s early 80s that’s for sure.

    Half the quality, but to make up for it they’ve quadrupled the price.


  9. They tried a similar thing at one station on the London Underground as an experiment. The reason they tried it was because they believed (and in fact the experiment proved) that the escalators transported more people that way. They discontinued it because it pissed everyone off


  10. > Why the hell should they take anyone else into consideration?

    Can’t you just slide down the handrail like those people in the movies?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re probably joking but in case you’re not: The handrail is rubberized to prevent that. The metal span between the adjacent escalators is covered in small bumps to prevent people from using it as a slide (and I can imagine after sliding down one a hundred feet like at the Rosslyn station, one might turn into a projectile at the bottom).


      1. BillyBob Texas | Reply

        Escalators……ah, yes. I think about them every day of the last 64 years.

        When I was 4 yrs old, I sat down on one going down, as kiddies do……and my right middle finger got caught in the SIDE crack. Completely ripped off the distal phalanx of my right middle finger (Google that up) – and ripped my hand up pretty badly. Thank God (literally) that the military base we were rushed too (dad was military) had an HAND-SURGEON on duty that day. Probably only have two hand-surgeons in the entire military complex….he said it might not work – but he did a terrific job, obviously.

        Anyway, everything works fine – except the missing distal phalanx. Actually spent 22 years as a USAF fighter pilot, so it must be OK . !! But I wonder how in the world I got my finger into that teeny crack….?


        1. Mmmmmmm. Flight suits…. Oh, I’m sorry, did you say something about your finger? 😉


        2. BillyBob Texas

          Yeah, I know…..Something about Adonis…..😀😀😀
          Additional side note for our attorneys online….. after I had been flying as a fighter pilot for about 10 years, some low-life scumbag lawyer wanted me to sue the store…Sears?…for damages….as he was gonna’ try to convince the jury that I was disabled!!! “Now, would you please tell the jury, again, Sir, what you do for a living?” …….


        3. Purrrrrrrr….

          Yeah, I’m a total fangirl.


  11. […] like government transit benefits incentivize indolence, lack of accountability, and incompetence on the part of the Metro, having a near-guaranteed government clientele base does the same. Add to that the fact that air […]


  12. This “problem” has been solved with the invention of Möbius escalators, but Metro probably won’t get around to updating theirs for another 75 years.


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