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Safety


Safety issues discovered in Washington, DC's subway system

2015-07-28

D.C.'s metro system has been subject to issues as a result of poor preventative maintenance. D.C.'s metro system has been subject to issues as a result of poor preventative maintenance.

Like in many urban centers, lots of Washington, D.C. residents rely on the city's Metro system to get around. Recently, however, the city's public transportation has come under fire after smoke filled a train in January, fatally injuring one passenger and sending numerous others to the hospital. 

"Six train cars were engulfed in fumes."

During the incident, malfunctioning electrical elements led to six train cars being engulfed in fumes. Passengers, many of whom were struggling to breathe, had to wait half an hour for rescue teams to lead them to safety. A 61-year old woman passed away due to excessive smoke inhalation as a direct result of this critical maintenance issue, reported the Washington Post.

This event prompted the government to rapidly intervene, and officials have noticed a slew of other potentially dangerous issues pop up since they began to compose a report at the beginning of this year. According to USA Today, 44 rail issues have been identified by the government, which include serious problems like malfunctioning radios and poor training for traffic controllers. Quality issues haven't been limited to the train systems, as at least 10 issues with bus lines have been documented as well. 

Some of the entities involved in the necessary intervention include the Federal Transit Administration, Congress and the Government Accountability Office. D.C. Metro leaders were questioned on July 21 by House subcommittees assigned to transportation and government operation issues. According to the Washington Post, House leaders from the D.C. area spoke out in defense of the city's residents, saying that the train system was endangering them with its lack of funding and preventative maintenance. 

"We are facing a perfect storm of problems," Rep. Gerald E. Connolly said during the meeting.