Commentary

How to survive a metro derailment

Last week, a train on Washington, DC Metro’s very busy Orange Line derailed in Northern Virginia. On Sunday, the Washington Post published a soberingly humorous article from one of the “survivors“. In addition to its humour, the author provides some insight into the everyday social interactions of metro riders (ones I can verify from personal experience). For example:

Our first face-to-face contact with a Metro employee came when a nice man came through the door at the end of the car to check on us. “Everyone okay?” he asked sincerely. “Anyone blind, crippled or crazy?” I saw none of the first or second categories but had suspicions regarding the third, including the guy who BlackBerried his way onto this train [the author]. Soon we were informed that a “rescue train” would come for us. It would be five minutes, we were told at 3:20 p.m. By that time, bizarre behavior had broken out in our car: People were talking to each other. I checked the sign in the car to make sure this was not on Metro’s list of verbotens, like eating, drinking and smiling.

It’s well worth a read.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.