The person behind Unsuck DC Metro was blocking people like crazy even before DCist unmasked him last month. Now his account’s original function—an amplifier for problems with our public transportation system that were spotted by the people who use it—is unavailable to some, including me, this magazine, and lots of other people who’ve drawn his ire. Even if you’re not blocked, in recent times the account has lost some of its original utility. Rather than helping people figure out why their train was late, it developed into a flamethrower of derision toward the transit system, punctuated frequently by the odd self-pitying outburst, inept piece of media criticism, or bizarre conspiratorial nonsense.
So if you’re blocked or just can’t handle the drama, what’s a good source of info besides the official WMATA accounts?
Sam Mencimer, a 15-year-old train fan (and Metro critic in his own right who tweets under the name @WMATAstuff) who rides Metro lines end to end and occasionally devours National Transportation Safety Board reports for fun, suggests Rail Transit OPS, a volunteer-run independent organization that monitors Metro’s communications so it can provide context to annoyances riders face. “A lot of criticism of Metro doesn’t take into account the whole picture,” Sam, who’s also the son of two of my friends, says. “It’s completely fair to criticize Metro for things that are avoidable,” like its decision to staff shuttle buses for passengers stranded by the summer Metro shutdown with drivers who didn’t know the area. But when a delay is caused by, say, someone having a medical emergency, Sam says, “That’s not Metro’s fault.” He also notes that many of the system’s problems are better viewed as the result of decisions from Metro’s board rather than the operators.
Stephen Repetski runs the Metro Reasons Twitter account and writes about Metro for Greater Greater Washington. He sent a long list of accounts he recommends, which I’ve compiled into a Twitter list (and added a few I find handy).
Greater Greater Washington honcho David Alpert (who is still apparently speaking to me despite the fact that I recently compared him to a astrophysicist who runs a goat farm) recommends @dcmetrohero and @metroreasons. Of course, Alpert, who you can find on Twitter here, says, you should follow the official Metro accounts, too.