News & Politics

Metro’s Latest Headaches Are Becoming National News

The Washington subway's frustrating delays for commuters have made news in Montana.

Photograph by ellisonphoto via iStock.

As local commuters endure their third morning of frustrating delays, the problems of Washington’s rail transit system are becoming national news. Accounts of WMATA’s current headaches have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, and even the website of the news station KXLH—“your source for continuous news, sports and weather information” in Helena, Montana. 

The outside-of-Washington media’s coverage of our local transit system’s dysfunction is likely to increase further from here, now that DC’s nonvoting Congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, told the Washington Post that she expects to make WMATA’s current troubles the focus of a hearing on Capitol Hill. 

“What particularly concerns me is that it looks like these issues were well-known at least since 2017,” Norton said. “If this was the first time the issue had been raised, I could understand it. These issues are almost four years old now.”

The frustrating commutes began Monday morning, shortly after Metro took roughly 60 percent of its rail cars offline as a safety precaution. As Washingtonian has reported, the decision to pull the rail cars followed revelations that an axel on a train that had recently derailed was “out of compliance with” assembly standards. 

The frustrating commutes are likely to continue. On Monday, WMATA said in a statement that commuters may have to wait for as long as 40 minutes for trains and that the delays could extend through the end of the week. 

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.