Shoe Mobile!

Metro did occasionally do some nice things for employees, without being forced to.

One was the “Shoe Mobile”.  For about 3 years, Metro provided $100 vouchers for employees to purchase work shoes or boots.  The first year there was just one mfr.  The rep drove a large straight truck filled with shoes and went to various locations around the system.  Employees could try on different shoes and order any that complied with the Safety dept. requirements for their dept.  In subsequent years, there were several mfrs represented which gave us a better selection and created some competition.

Unfortunately, the Shoe Mobile program ended abruptly with no explanation.

Another nice gesture was issuing every employee — at least those in automatic train control (ATC) — insulated orange coveralls.  They made working outside for hours in sub-zero wind chill tolerable.


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4 Responses to Shoe Mobile!

  1. Lynn Healey says:

    I just discovered your site, trying to find more information on the 5/29/12 Shady Grove car wash incident (still haven’t found any real updates). Anyway, I just want to say the orange overalls were not an unsolicited gift. Joseph Volpe, ATC Helper, was killed by a train while working on a switch at National Airport. I can tell you more on that story but the association here was that it was in the snow and there was a complaint that he couldn’t be seen well enough. Joe Volpe got us those orange suits.

    I probably know you. I’m going to read everything on your blog. Thank you.

  2. Hi Lynn,

    Yes, we do know each other but we never worked together. We met a few times — typically when you were working OT on PM shift at Shady Grove (A99). I wish we had gotten to know each other better — I always heard nothing but compliments about you as a person and a technician.

    Thank you for posting, and for providing the background on how we came to get the ‘pumpkin suits’. I was not aware of that. I am of course familiar with the tragic accident in which Joe Volpe was killed. It was a preventable death and was extremely traumatic for the tech who was with Joe at the time.

    I hope more people will follow your lead and comment on my posts. I did not work much OT and spent the majority of my time on the Red Line on PM shift, so while I was at Metro for 27 years
    my experience and knowledge is more limited than that of many employees who had/have less seniority than I did. It’s great to get other perspectives and additional information. It makes the blog more interesting and may jog my memory which is unfortunately not very good.

    I would welcome anything you’d like to share about Joe’s accident or anything else.

    I too am trying to find out more about the 5/29 accident at A99. There’s a good chance I know the employee who was injured since he has 28 years seniority — assuming he typically worked at A99. We were always very careful when opening the door to cross the wash track because there is very little clearance between that doorway and the trains. It’s not clear that the employee was hit there, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  3. Ken Harrington says:

    Wow,does this site bring back the memories. I worked for WMATA from 93-98 in ATC. Spent most of the time at B99 and A99. Unless you experienced the lifestyle of WMATA, you can’t fully appreciate this website.
    I was saddened to hear about Jeff Gerrard. We worked at Brentwood Yard together on evenings back in the day.
    You and I must have crossed paths sometime during my stay there. At least when I worked for Guanni at the Brookland Field Office, life was not too bad.

    Enjoyed reading the stories. I probably have some of my own if I think back.

  4. Hey Ken, great to hear from you! I’m glad you enjoyed the stories.

    We definitely crossed paths. I was in ATC from 1983 until I retired in 2010. I worked almost exclusively on the Red Line, mostly A99, A11, and B98 on evening shift. I also worked for Gauani for the first several years I was at Metro, in fact, he became a supervisor just before I was hired and I got his old unit number. I don’t know if you heard but both Gauani and Marty Henry have since passed away.

    The deaths of Jeff Garrard and Sung Oh were completely preventable. According to the NTSB report (which was just released last month — 2 years and four months later) the accident was almost entirely the fault of the people at OCC. What the report describes fits the definition of negligent homicide. Unfortunately, the spouses and/or family of Metro employees who are killed on the job cannot sue, because Metro has Worker’s Comp Insurance. I’ve written about the accident elsewhere on this blog and plan to comment a bit on the NTSB report shortly.

    My wife and I are in touch with Jeff’s wife and daughter. I’ll pass along your comment.

    Please share any stories recollections you have. I’ve been hoping others would add to what I have written. It would make the blog much more interesting.

    Not too many people seem to make it out of ATC alive before retirement. You were smart to leave when you did. I hope you’ve been well.

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