Metro to Install Instructions for Emergency Call System

Metro officials say the agency will install new instructions for its emergency call button system in its trains. The move comes after several passengers claim they got no response from the train operator when a fight broke out at the Woodley Park station Monday.

Two men started fighting aboard a train shortly before the Woodley Park stop, which spilled onto the platform shortly after. Passengers aboard the train told News4 they tried to alert the driver of the train by using the emergency call system but say they got no response.

Yasmine El-Sabawi stood near those buttons as fellow passengers attempted to contact the driver.

"Honestly, I was terrified," El-Sabawi said. "There was a woman in front of me and a couple of other people who were ducking just in case there was gunfire, and to think that the emergency button wasn’t working... I was right next to it couldn’t hear anybody responding and I was completely, sort of, paralyzed by my fear."

Metro officials told News4 they believe there was some communication between passengers on the train and the operator because Metro Police were eventually notified of the incident.

The agency adds there might be other reasons your call goes unanswered. The train operator actually might not hear you because you're continuously holding down the red button. If you're calling for help, you only need to press the button once and start speaking. Also, the system can only handle three calls at a time.

The fight was over by the time police arrived. No one was injured, and no charges were filed.

Metro told the News4 I-Team it will begin installing the new signs this summer, and it may take several months to get them in all 1,200 train cars.

The Woodley Park station was also the site of a fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old man last November.

Last March, News4's I-Team investigated the Metro's emergency call buttons. Our investigation showed almost 170 intercom malfunctions since 2011.


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