The Great Train Experience

Washington, D.C., like many major metropolitan areas, boasts of its rapid transit system. Rapid transit is great if the majority of people live in peripheral areas and congregate in a central location for work. The system works, more or less because that is the situation in the district. Everyone who can lives out in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, etc. and then travels to D.C. for work. I guess it would also work if half the people live in “A” and work in “B” and the other half have the opposite, but I’ve yet to see that.

The morning commute has been good. About 6:15 AM, catch the Metro, sit down, relax and arrive at our meeting place about 15 minutes later.

Getting back to the hotel during rush hour is a bit different.

Remember the cowboy movies with the cattle drives? All the cows packed into the trains? The SPCA would never let you pack cows that closely. For that matter, the Sardine association wouldn’t let you pack sardines like that, either.

As near as I can tell, about 10% of the people get to sit. The other 90% hang onto the strategically placed grab-bars and try to not knock their neighbor over as the vehicle starts and stops. There’s just something about the group armpit sharing that seems just a bit odd. Most regular riders immerse themselves in their eBooks and iPods (together – not either/or). [rEmember wHen wE cApitalized tHe fIrst lEtter oF wOrds rAther tHan tHe sEcond oNe?]

However, the most profound thought I had (well, profound for me) was this; if you owned a business and had a location that would regularly be crowded with people that had a 4 foot drop with no barrier, in the face of high speed vehicles and an exposed high voltage source, OSHA would shut you down. However, that is exactly what each subway station is like.

Makes you wonder.

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