There has been some attention paid to where Metro employees park recently.
I submitted the following post to Unsuck DC Metro:
As a retired Metro employee, it should come as no surprise that I have a different take on this than most passengers.
First of all, Joolz (above) is correct. This has been going on for a long time at multiple locations throughout the system. One could probably make a “past practice” argument to support it continuing.
I agree with Jason (above). Many, if not most, employees are allowed to park for free at their workplace. Requiring Metro employees to pay for parking will do little to improve the “Metro Experience” for passengers.
The fact is, most Metro employees actually do pay for parking. All employees who park in public lots must pay the same as anyone else. My understanding is that employees who park at the Jackson Graham Building (JGB) must also pay.
Money isn’t always the main issue. As Meredith pointed out, the amount of parking is often inadequate. When I worked at Grosvenor from ’94 to ’98, this was a serious problem. There were several times when I got to the station to begin my evening shift and all available parking spaces were taken. All the ‘prime’ spots in the Park & Ride area were usually taken — not by Metro employees, but by passengers who either didn’t know or didn’t care that they would be parked illegally after 3:30 pm. The same cars that were there at 2:50 were there at 5 and 6 pm. Transit and MoCo police rarely ticketed them either.
In any case, I (and other employees) had no legal place to park — I’m including the spots along Tuckerman Lane. There was literally no place within probably a mile or more to park. So my choice was to either park in the bus loop (clearly illegal and asking for a ticket) or be late checking in. Usually a spot would clear up in time, if not I would try to park along the curb so that my car would not be obstructing traffic or blocking any vehicles. On four (4) occasions when I parked at a Park & Ride meter (because there were no other spots available and it was legal until 3:30) I got ticketed because I either got called away or forgot and didn’t move my car before 3:30 pm. The Transit Police didn’t seem to care that it was an employee’s vehicle.
When I asked about the possibility of getting a few dedicated employee parking spots — way at the back of the lot, the least desirable spots — I was told no way, because it was such a political hot potato. These spots would have been subject to the same rules regarding payment as all of the others but it was still a non-starter.
It seems kind of petty and short-sighted to me to deny an employee someplace to park at their work location. I agree that it should not be the prime spots, but we need someplace to park. It’s just common sense. If there is a problem at a station my guess is the folks stuck on the trains waiting for ATC, CMNT, or Power dept. to arrive probably won’t care where they park, as long as they are able to respond quickly. No dedicated parking spots often = longer response time.
I read the comments on Unsuck DC Metro and the WTOP website. I agree with some of the criticisms and negative characterizations. I won’t begin to defend the actions of all metro employees, but many/most are doing a dirty, dangerous, thankless job. They are not the enemy. When I was in ATC I worked with some very intelligent, competent, and conscientious technicians. They did the best they could in any given situation. Most of the Metro employees I know (technicians, train operators, mechanics, supervisors) do not fit the stereotype (lazy, overpaid, knuckle-dragging, incompetent, rude, etc). I my experience, most were/are decent people just trying to make a living and do the best they can. It is not fair to lump them all into one big group.
Thanks for riding Metrorail. We regret the inconvenience. 😉