Metrorail Operator Caught Texting on Job

More bad publicity for Metro

There's more bad publicity for Metro after a YouTube video surfaces of a Metro train operator apparently texting while on the job.

Metro officials said the operator was disciplined after video showing him apparently texting while operating a train was posted online.

Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the operator was suspended for a week without pay after officials learned of the June 5 incident. A passenger on the blue line in Alexandria apparently recorded the incident with a cellphone camera, then posted it to YouTube.

The poster gave details about what is seen in the video:

It looks like he's sleeping, but he is actually holding a Blackberry between his legs. The train is moving under automatic control but no one is watching out for what is in front of it! Track workers are frequently out walking the tracks, and if there had been any present, no one would have seen them in front of this train.

This was on the Blue Line towards Franconia-Springfield between King St. and Van Dorn St. on 6/5/09 around 3:55pm.

Farbstein said Metro the operator has already served the suspension.

The incident was posted on YouTube last month and was brought to light Tuesday by local blog Unsuck DC Metro.

Farbstein said operators are prohibited from texting or using cell phones while operating the highly automated system.

Officials said no evidence has been found that the operator killed in last month's crash on the Red Line was texting.

In other Metro news, the transit organization blasted a Washington Post report on the differences between Metro's circuit system and the BART system in San Francisco with a posting on its Web site called "The Real Deal."

In the posting, Metro calls the Post story "misleading" and said the reporters failed to talk to anyone who actually currently works for BART.

While Metro may have a point about the article, is now really the time to bicker with the media?  At the same time Red Line riders continue to deal with delays after THE DEADLIEST CRASH IN METRO HISTORY? 

Sounds like Metro really should be worried more about getting its own house in order instead of attacking the Post.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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