ratpag finds itself in the enviable position of having more contributors than readers, somehow, and so must find room in this valuable internet real estate known as ratpag.wordpress.com to present to the world all opinions and viewpoints of our hardened writers here at ratpag HQ as well as our correspondents from various ratpag bureaus. As a result, we introduce ratpag Sunday Evening Edition (briefly known as ratpag After Dark). And so, from our Washington correspondent, Exposing the DC Metro*:
*Editor’s note: As per usual, it should be known that ratpag’s editors have NOT bothered to read contributing and/or guest work / letters to the editor prior to posting.
Spring has finally arrived to a long, destitute, polar landscape of weekly snow, and the time has come for ratpag’s humble DC correspondent (Ph.D., P.E., PIKH, PBS, PMS, PU) to let the truth be heard. Yes, with the arrival of spring comes the flower burst known to people around the world as the Cherry Blossom Festival, bringing herds of tourists to the shores of the Potomac and Tidal Basin in DC.
Of course, what better way for tourists to get around the District than by the state of the art, ever-iconic transit system known here as Metro? The DC Metro features five (soon to be six… maybe?) lines of color – then again, these lines overlap so many times that it is questionable whether DC really has more than 3 lines with several branches. Upon entering a station, the trains will be running so frequently that the unsuspecting person from “Real America”/’Murica/”the Heartland” (who may or may not have read this) may marvel at the wonders of modern technology! Any why not?! Metro has included colorful advertising that is humorous and fun, and indeed this advertising tugs at the heartstrings of this ratpag correspondent too:
I mean vegan? Really? That’s a good one!
Or what about the witty culture references on what a naïve tourist might be perceived as a work of art, instead of an actual construction wall
[SPOILER ALERT – AVERT YOUR EYES IF YOU HAVE NOT YET WATCHED SEASON 2 OF HOUSE OF CARDS]
Oh sure, there may be a few confusing moments. Like when your Silver Line train never arrives.
Or you look at the sign and feel lost.
Or in a time warp.
But do not think it is your ignorance of the system, unsuspecting, innocent tourist. This ratpag correspondent is here to reassure you that we locals in the District put up with this nonsense all the time. In fact, more.
(Thanks to the Washington Post for capturing these near-third-world country conditions in action.)
Yes innocent tourist, the hardship that we District residents have to deal with when you are not visiting is sheer torture. Single-tracking. Long headways. Cancelled service. “Free shuttle buses” (oh, the joy). Even train bridges (whatever purpose this serves – although this is inserted more as a curiosity into Metro’s mysterious operations rather than as an example of inconvenience).
Yes, as the screen captured Metro webpage reveals, Metro runs a normal schedule just for you, innocent tourist! (ratpag would otherwise put in a link, but could not run the risk that Metro would sneakily remove this page in an attempt to cover-up their deceit.)
The one thing that only a lucky few will be able to avoid is an escalator and/or elevator outage at either your origin or destination station, or even more likely, both. Yes, it is not clear to ratpag whose genius idea it was to install so many escalators (often without stairs as an alternative) for many single-floor vertical ascents (don’t get us wrong here, ratpag does support the incorporation of escalators into the deep stations like Woodley Park or Dupont Circle, or even in Wheaton, site of the longest escalator in the western hemisphere), but it is rare, innocent tourist, that you will find all/some/any escalators in working order. Another thing you’ll probably find disturbing is the disgustingly ratty carpet – yes, carpet on the trains. Whose genius idea that was is beyond anyone’s wildest guest.
But do not worry innocent tourist, you will likely have returned to your hamlet before the woes of Metro have escalated back to normal for us locals: a substandard urban transit system, leaving us only to dream of a better tomorrow offered in news articles and ads that we read on our decrepit, yet beloved Metro.