Wash.DC pet peeve
There are many good reasons to live in Washington, DC. There are monuments and historic places galore. It is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm. (Did I say that right? Yes. In fact, I stole it from John F. Kennedy.)
My pet peeve is in the efficiency and charm department. The subway system, known as Metro, is clean and well laid out. When it works as planned, it is very convenient. But when it doesn't work, it is a major pain in the hind parts.
The public address system drones this morbid refrain all too often: "We regret any inconvenience and appreciate your patience."
The other day I was coming out of the Dupont Circle Metro station. This particular station has some of the longest escalators in the world. I hear that there is one in Moscow that is longer. All but one of them was out of order. The one that was working was moving down. People were huffing and puffing to climb the two stationary escalators. Some of those people were elderly.
It really looked dangerous to their health. So I went to the station manager's kiosk and asked why the one operable escalator was going the wrong way. I pointed out that people were huffing and puffing. Mr. M. Rich (according to his name tag) laughed.
I asked him if he was aware that Metro actually has a policy that when only one escalator is moving, it should move upward. Metro does have such a policy, instituted a couple of years ago after a man in his thirties died of a heart attack while climbing a stalled escalator on a hot day.
The manager said he was aware of the policy but was afraid if he tried to redirect the escalator it might stop working altogether.
I thought his excuse was ridiculous and told him so at the top of my voice. At that point, he turned off the intercom and sat behind his bulletproof glass.
I was infuriated.
Now, it turns out that the station manager's concern was more realistic than I gave him credit for. The Dupont Circle escalators are particularly fragile. According to yesterday's Wash. Post they are the third worst in the city. They had 47 breakdowns between March and May this year.
So, come to Washington this year. See the monuments. Visit the Capitol. Tour the White House. Go to the Supreme Court. It really is wonderful.
But be sure to drive. Oh, wait a minute. There's no place to park in the whole town. Take Amtrak. No, never mind, they might be out of business. OK, come by plane. You can land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the only airport named for two presidents; from there you can take a taxi without a meter and you can trust the driver to tell you the correct fare.
P.S. I work at a magazine called "Traffic World."