Two years after crash, Metro is making progress

Two years after a fatal Metrorail crash, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (DC) is making progress, but officials say that work remains. “The good news is Metro did pay attention,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. “They listened and they’re committed to taking action to address the deficiencies. They’ve done what we asked for, and they’re still making progress.” As part of its safety improvements, Metro has replaced more than 1,500 track circuit modules and is operating its trains in manual mode instead of automatic as a precaution. Metro still has to address about 200 procedural and safety issues identified by regional and local officials.

More challenging, however, is changing what the NTSB incident report called “lack of a safety culture.” “You’re not talking about just changing a piece of equipment,” said Matt Bassett, chair of the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which monitors Metrorail safety. “You’re trying to change mind-sets. That’s more difficult.” Acknowledging the challenges the agency still faces, Metro board member Mortimer Downey said, “Metro is a safer place because everyone from the top to the bottom is paying attention to safety. Have we done everything we can do? No, but we’ve made a really good start from what was a very deep hole.” Link to full story in The Washington Post.

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