Screeching into second place

I like this Matt Johnson dude. He has the time and knowledge to crank out nice analytical pieces about Metro and other rapid-transit systems, and readers should take note. This one might take the cake though, and it’s only part one of a D.C. Metro comparison. It lovingly answers the question: What happens when you compare transit dorks with rankings?

Sheer bliss. Basically, D.C.’s Metro, which is a hybrid commuter-urban subway and the second-busiest heavy rail system in the nation, is doing OK. It’s lowest marks in this analysis are in service span, which Sacramento Regional Transit defines as the time a system is in service. D.C.’s system is closed four hours a day because there are only two tracks for each line, and they need a lot of maintenance.

The Brown line screeches over the Chicago River. Anyone know how two of their lines operate 24/7?

The Purple line screeches over the Chicago River. Anyone know how two of the L's lines operate 24/7 without extensive express tracks?

I was just in the Chi, and two of their lines, which also appear to be mostly double-tracked, are open 24/7. Granted, that system was designed for a different era, and at night the Red and Blue lines have pretty big headway gaps, up to 30 minutes. But still, maybe they have some tips for us? Because those two lines are much older than Metro. I DIGRESS.

30 minute headways are not uncommon during a single-tracking experience on Metro, usually on the Red line, but I am a happy customer. Riding is convenient, cheap and the weekend night owl service is fantastic for revelry. Just get in there by 2:30 a.m., y’all.

Much of this analysis may be influenced by last year’s crash, which was horrible horrible horrible.  However, Metro is still safer than driving, and as an occasional auto and metro commuter (and telecommuter! Talk about multi-modal), I frankly fear for my life on 295 a lot of the time.  So, even being a transit dork like my boy Matt, I have more reasons than just Metro’s whoosh factor to keep on riding.

The only comparable experience for me was on BART, similar in it’s regional connectivity, age and design. The San Francisco Yae Area system is clean and a nice experience, with the exception of the price (high) and the amount of cool places it serves (few). In comparison, Metro is a beast, and is really a blessing we have it, especially to those of us from areas that barely have buses or sidewalks.

So today let’s celebrate second place, and STOP comparing ourselves to NYC.

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