My 13 Annoying Pet Peeves About #wmata Other Than The Delays

The Metro is the worst. I can’t think of any other public transit system in the world that causes such venom from its riders.

Every day as I walk to the Metro, there is potential for disaster. Whether I’m on my way to work, on my way home or on my way to a meeting, I know there is a 30% chance I will be late and a 5% chance I will be stuck on the Metro forever like a modern Tom Dooley.

metro is the worst
Amazing, the frequent delays are only a part of the problem. The Metro is a disaster because everyone and everything annoys me. Maybe I’ve gotten too old, maybe I’ve always been too snarky and maybe I’m just too ready to hate, hate, hate while riding on the Metro.

So in no particular order, here’s what I hate:

1.      Couples on the morning Metro

I don’t know why this drives me insane but it does. And I can’t help it. At my Metro stop in the morning, I will see one of potentially three different couples that all get on the train together. One horrific morning, all three were there at the same time and I threw up in a garbage can.

Are these people so co-dependent that they cannot scurry off to work on their own? Are they so in love that they can’t possibly spend any moments apart? Do they really have the same exact schedule? Wouldn’t you purposely change your schedule to avoid that? What happens if you fight the night before? What if one oversleeps?

So many questions. So much anger. Which leads me to my next pet peeve…

2.      All forms of PDA

These couples always kiss before departing, usually when one skips off at Metro Center or Gallery Place to catch a connecting train. It’s nauseating.

I don’t know how else to put this – there is no room for public displays of affection on the Metro, especially during rush hour. You had plenty of time to kiss before you got on and you have plenty of time to kiss later – don’t make me look at that.

The only exception to this rule is drunken fools on late night trains that go at it. This falls into the category of humor and is thus acceptable. Unless it’s Halloween and they’re in costume, then it’s creepy again and has to stop.

3.      Incorrect signs

I got on a train to Vienna today. I looked up after a couple stops and the sign inside the car said, “Cheverly.” I almost crapped myself. That stop was, oh, about 20 stops in the other direction from where I was and, boy, would my day have been f’d in the a if I was really there.

Of course, I wasn’t. And I should’ve known that. Because the signs in the Metro cars are never, ever right. At least they deserve some credit since Cheverly was at least on the same line. The first time you need a Green Line stop pop up on a Red Line train, then you’ll know how a Metro-related heart attack can occur.

4.      Signs that lie to me

Why bother telling me when a train is coming if it’s just lying to me? A couple weeks ago, my Red Line morning train was said to arrive in 3 minutes. The big “3” didn’t change for 18 minutes. No train arrived. My day was ruined before it began.

The only thing worse is when the number disappears and you see “Shady Grove” next to nothing. And you know that you are never, ever, ever leaving that station.

5.      “We’ll be moving momentarily”

Anytime I’m on a delayed (aka not moving) Metro train, I feel like I’m in the middle of the cruelest psychological exam ever. “What can we say to people trapped underneath the earth for an unknown period of time so they won’t kill each other?”

Ultimately, Metro decided on having the conductor say, “We’ll be moving momentarily” every 60 seconds for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!

There’s little that compares with being stuck on a crowded train in a tunnel with no cell phone service and hearing that message, oh, 30 times as you fail to move for 30 minutes and show up late for a meeting with your CEO.

Is the truth so bad? Could you give an estimate? Could you maybe not say anything?

6.      Your headphones are terrible

I don’t need to hear your music. Frankly, I don’t think you need to hear your music if that’s what you’re listening to. But please, I beg of you, keep your music to yourself. If I can hear your music through your headphones, you either have terrible hearing or terrible headphones.

Either way, I don’t want to listen to Drake right now. And in his world, “starting from the bottom” means a lot less than your “starting from the bottom” so at least listen to a different song.

7.      Convention is we both move right, right?

I am walking. You are walking. We will collide if we don’t move. So, like a car and hundreds of years of American convention, I slide to the right. You slide…to the left? Wham! Bam! Boom! You’ve just walked right into me and now I’m mad.

This has happened twice this week and it’s only god-forsaken Tuesday. Why are people moving left to avoid me? Did I miss a memo? Everyone, move to the right. Are they not teaching this in school anymore? Or are American children just too stupid now?

8.      Walk on the left, stand on the right

wmata sucks

On the escalator, you stand on the right and you walk on the left. If you are a tourist, you get ONE free pass. If you are not a tourist, you get ZERO free passes and the unimaginable wrath I am pouring down on you from my inside my brain.

Well, mostly, I’m wishing that you have a terrible day or a terrible night and that you pay for your misdeed of slowing me up by a few seconds!!

9.      Standing in the doorway

When the train is crowded and you’re stuck near the doorway as people are trying to get off, politely step off the train. Do not stand there in the way of everyone trying to get off and then everyone trying to get on. I saw a person last week – with a suitcase! – fail to move from the door of a crowded train and caused at least 6 people to miss getting on that train.

When I’m the Mayor of DC, that person will be placed in a rocket and launched into Soviet airspace. Vote O’Leary!

10.   Not taking the window seat

This drives me insane and makes me want to punch people. There are two seats on each side of the aisle. When the seats are empty, it is common courtesy for people to take the window seat.

Since it’s common courtesy, no one does this.

And to make matters even worse, people sitting on the aisle will get up and allow the other person to take the window. People – this is rude! Take the window seat! All you’re doing is acting like a jerk and that you’re better than the other person. “I can’t be bothered to seat by the window, but you can.”

It only further frustrates me when people sitting on the aisle seat get up and explain, “I’m the next stop.” Well, that’s great, then don’t sit back down! Let the other people on the train have that seat!

We live in terrible times.

11.   Refusing to hold onto a handrail

The Metro cars stop abruptly and that’s probably putting it politely. There is a method to the madness of standing on the train while it comes to a stop but even the most seasoned Metro rider – ahem – can fall over.
99.9% of the time, this is hilarious. My favorite variations are the kid who doesn’t listen to their parents and go flying down the aisle when the train stops or the rapping teenager who can’t hold on because they need both hands to mimic Kanye.

But that 0.1% of the time? That’s when some idiot tries to stand a little wide to keep reading their book and they end up smashing into at the Foggy Bottom stop. Those people can kindly go jump in a lake of….

12.   “There is a train directly behind this one”

The most idiotic thing about the Metro – and that is saying something – is when the conductor pleads with the masses to not crowd onto a train because “there is a train directly behind this one.”

Of course, this has the complete opposite effect than what is intended because this is WMATA – the odds of that next train coming, and on time, are not good.

It is a good way to spot a tourist, since they will back away and naively believe that there’s a train directly behind this one. The regulars? We push, and scratch, and claw our way onto that fire emergency of a subway car to avoid being any later than we already are.

What a minute – am I the problem?

13.   It’s still better than driving in this city

Have you tried driving across DC at 5 p.m. on a weekday? No thank you. 

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  1. I have another one for you: People cutting in line at escalators. Once you notice this you will see that people do it EVERY time and it will drive you crazy.


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