Metro GM: Intercom Jammers to Face Discipline

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCWashington.com

    Jamming rail car intercoms will now mean trouble for Metro operators.

    According to The Washington Post, Metro's General Manager Richard Sarles said after last week's Metro board meeting that in the future employees who are found to be jamming the intercoms that allow passengers to communicate with the operators during an emergency ``will face disciplinary action.''

    Earlier this month, Sarles announced that some Metro train operators had been disabling the emergency intercom systems after they received new digital radios that created noisy interference.

    The issue came to light in June when riders couldn't reach an operator after a fight broke out on a train. Metro acknowledged that it had known since at least 2009 of some problems with the intercom system but had not addressed the issue.

    News4 I-Team uncovered documentation of more than 150 cases where passengers in distress called for help aboard trains and got no answer.

    Sarles said at the time, Metro had bigger safety issues that had to be fixed first.

    "We focused on roll back protection, door operator issues and brakes issues ... most critical issues," Sarles said Thursday.

    The radio interference that prompted drivers to turn the intercom off impacts approximately 150 of the system's nearly 1,200 cars. Metro has reportedly stopped installing the new radios until they can fix the interface issues.

    They said a more permanent fix for the malfunctioning intercoms will be put in place in about two months.

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