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Metro Contractor: Don’t Blame Us for Dirty Parking Garages

A report detailing unsanitary conditions at numerous Metro garages was released this week

NBC Washington

The contractor at the center of a swirling Metro controversy concerning filthy and unsafe parking garages says Metro itself is the reason facilities went uncleaned for days, weeks and even months.

A report detailing unsanitary conditions at numerous Metro parking garages was released this week. The details are enough to make your stomach turn.

Over a 20-month period, WMATA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found bottles of urine, human feces, used condoms, overflowing trash cans, dirty elevators and significant amounts of debris at different parking facilities.

Metro says it is cleaning up its act after a new report detailed unsanitary conditions in a number of its parking garages. News4's Adam Tuss reports Metro's Inspector General released findings that are enough to make your stomach turn.

In some cases, the lingering trash and debris attracted rodents and other vermin, the report said.

However, the chief operating officer of the company hired to clean the garages, D.C.-based Community Bridge Incorporated, says Metro supervisors were largely absent to oversee the work and necessary supplies were not provided.

“I got numerous calls from workers saying, 'We’ve been here for almost an hour; there’s no supervision on site',” Community Bridge COO Deborah Washington tells News 4. “In some cases, workers would say, 'I haven’t seen a supervisor in three days'.”

Washington also says workers frequently didn’t have access to proper cleaning supplies like gloves, mops and chemicals.

While it seems obvious that these workers were brought in to clean, Washington says the workers were given no instruction in many cases and had no idea where to start or what areas needed attention.

Although Community Bridge was brought in to provide workers, ultimately Washington says Metro decided it would supervise those workers. And that supervision was sporadic.

“This was a weekly situation for us,” says Washington. "I would explain it to Metro and they said, 'I’ll get somebody over there.' But sometimes these workers were there for hours with nothing to work on.”

For years, riders have been posting pictures of dirty and unsightly Metro facilities on social media.

"It's disgusting. It really is and it's unsafe for us to be out here. People should be better," Metro rider Dianne Reid said.

One cleaning employee told Telemundo 44 that the Wheaton garage was covered in filth until recently.

The OIG report says contracted cleaners were not properly cleaning 84% of the time and some contract employees weren't working their full eight-hour shifts.

But the report also notes an absence of supervision.

"The root cause of these issues was the lack of oversight by WMATA and contractor officials. There was also little to no implementation of controls over the garage cleaning process, or of the contract employee’s time and attendance," the report said.

Metro's IG calculated that the transit agency paid the company more than $2 million for services that never happened.

Metro told News4 it is now handling custodial services in house rather than through a contractor in order to better oversee the cleaning.

Metro said it took immediate action and had workers pressure wash stairwells and landings at its garages. It said all parking decks will be pressure washed by the end of April.

The transit agency says it will start posting cleaning schedules at parking facilities by March.

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