It’s pretty obvious if politicians and other officials used mass transit regularly, mass transit would be better:
Not only are the D.C. Metro board members keeping quiet, but it would appear, based on their biographies, that most of them aren’t using the Metro at all. As the Atlantic article notes, it’s really important to use the system on a regular basis. You discover all sorts of quirks, like being told that the Dupont Circle up escalators at the South exit (where there are no elevators either) are broken (‘out of order’ seems too civil) only after you pass through the gates. This sounds only mildly annoying until one realizes that these escalators are 188 feet long (319 steps). I usually walk up the escalator anyway (though it’s a lot harder when they’re not moving), but I’ve seen middle-aged and elderly people have real difficulty.
Board members who had to experience this might give a damn.
Well, one D.C. politician seems to understand this (boldface mine):
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) has nominated a former federal transportation official to represent the city on the Metro board of directors, filling a vacancy in the aftermath of an ethics scandal.
The chairman said Tuesday that he wants Stephanie Gidigbi to serve as one of the District’s two voting members on the transit agency board.
Both positions were left vacant after D.C. Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Corbett Price resigned their seats…
Gidigbi, a Ward 8 resident, is an executive for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. She spent three years at the U.S. Department of Transportation during the second term of President Barack Obama and was involved in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey.
Mendelson said he chose Gidigbi because she uses the public transportation system and is sensitive to how technology is reshaping transportation…
But Mendelson has been frosty to that pick [by D.C. Mayor Bowser], and he says he’s told the mayor he’s still looking for alternatives with more experience using Metro and a background in urban transit systems.
If Gidigbi uses Metro in Ward 8, she probably uses both the bus and train, so she likely would understand how both systems work (the bus system is practically treated like charity, even though it’s widely used). Time to have Metro board members who use the system they purport to govern. Eat your own dog food.