Another Day, Another Promise to Improve Metro Safety

Metro Board Chair: "Clearly, we have a problem"

By Ashley E. Brown
|  Thursday, Jan 28, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 PM EDT
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Metro Approves Fare Hike in Favor of Service Cuts

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Metro is responding again to a low level of trust on the tracks with new rules for employees.

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Metro Approves Fare Hike in Favor of Service Cuts

A ten-cent-per-ride fare increase is coming for all Metrorail and Metrobus riders in March.
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Metro is rewriting the book on employee safety procedures, in the wake of an accident that killed two workers on the Red Line tracks on Tuesday.

Acting Chief Safety Officer Michael Taborn told Metro's board of directors Thursday that several changes are in the works, including a new section in the employee handbook detailing right-of-way clearance for track workers. There will also be new safety training for employees.

These are the latest in a long string of reactions to serious safety concerns, following an exhausting year of accidents for both Metro riders and employees.

The revamped right-of-way rules are in response to a recent report from the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which detailed several worker deaths and other close calls on the tracks. The report also noted apparent antagonism between some track workers and train operators.

Whether any beef between employees is real or imagined, outgoing General Manager John Catoe is also promising stricter consequences for workers who violate safety protocol.

The transit agency also now plans to seek help from federal transportation officials.

"Clearly we have a problem with our safety at the present time," said newly-confirmed Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin. "The trick is not to do the same thing over and over again. The [U.S.] Department of Transportation, on the highest levels, has responded to our request and said, 'We will help you do something new and different.'"

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