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VIDEO: passengers talk about DC Metro train accident – driver did not cause accident – U.S. Congress failed to fund Metro

June 25, 2009

It’s been three days since the terrible crash of two DC Metro trains which has killed 9 people and left dozens of passengers injured.

DC residents are talking about the reasons what caused the accident -some blame the driver and some say it was a mechanical problem, as investigations are going on. Today I spoke to some passengers at the Columbia Heights metro station.

Image USA Today

This is how some passengers feel about the accident, about the Metro system, who is to blame and what is necessary to do to avoid this to happen again:

Driver did not cause the accident

WTOP radio posted this today:

There has been some speculation about whether the operator, Jeanice McMillan, was using her cell phone when the train collided with a stopped train during the afternoon rush hour, killing herself and eight others.

Metro General Manager John Catoe tells WTOP the cell phone was not an issue. “We know where her cell phone was — it was not on her. It was in a backpack.”

He says all signs are showing that the operator did everything she could to prevent the crash. “The train itself was trying to stop for several hundred feet,” Catoe says. “There’s not one letter of evidence that our operator did anything to cause the accident.”

Old trains and no funds to replace them

USA Today has posted a very complete report that points out how old were the trains involved in the accident:

A 1970s-vintage train car was so heavily damaged in the impact that 50 feet of its 75-foot length collapsed, National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman said Tuesday.

In 2006, the NTSB had called on the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to replace the aging fleet after a similar accident crumpled a car in 2004, but the system had not done so, citing cost as one reason.

Meanwhile House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that former president Ronald Reagan failed to support mass transportation, including DC Metro

“I want to say that to the extent that that contributed to the injuries and the loss of life here, we need to look at that and that will be obviously impetus for making these cars safer,” Hoyer said. “As you know, it’s been 30 years, and as you know, the Reagan administration recommended no further money towards mass transit.”

Not surprising. Actor and lifeguard Reagan was a terrible president, I wonder why some people still think good of him. If you are not convinced of the lack of funding, here are some good thoughts about the accident posted by Mother Jones focusing on the lack of funding for WMATA, compliments of the U.S. Congress

But the D.C. Metro has to contend with something that other urban mass transit systems do not: the United States Congress. Unlike any other subway system, the DC Metro has no dedicated source of funding, but instead must rely on the whims of lawmakers to appropriate money—and often those lawmakers are more interested in playing to their own constituents than taking care of the District’s needs. Read more here.

So there is no money for infrastructure of the capitol city of the U.S. -talk about national security- but there are always extra funds for car manufacturers and Wall Street bankers. What about the invasion of Iraq and all the business going on with the U.S. war machinery overseas? No good.


The DC Metro train system is part of the Washington Metro Metropolitan Area Tranit Authority – WMATA. Today WMATA announced repairs and inspections in all their lines tracks.


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