Washington, DC – November 29, 2017: Metro’s decision to use private contractors for shuttle service between Silver Spring and Fort Totten has resulted in unreliable service that is inconveniencing Red Line riders and showing contempt for Metro employees.
Metro has brought in private contractors from as far away as Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois and North Carolina, who are unfamiliar with the region, despite signing a Capitol Improvement Project (CIP) agreement with ATU Local 689 in 2011 to provide shuttle service. ATU Local 689 sees bringing in these workers as a direct attempt to undermine their contractual obligation, and also a demonstration of the lack of consideration to riders.
“No one on the Red Line during rush hour can afford to get to work two hours late without fear of discipline,” Jackie Jeter said in response to the long wait times and delayed service over the last three days. “Furthermore, if a Local 689 member were to report to Metro two hours late they would probably be fired. These are the policies of a company who has complete disregard for our riders responsibility to get to work on time.”
In addition to providing unreliable service, the shuttle buses are limited in their ability to accommodate those in wheelchairs as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, elderly and physically handicapped riders now have to walk up stairs to enter a bus and there are no bike racks available.
Metro’s fleet of buses are able to transport twice as many passengers as the shuttle buses being used and hundreds of Metro buses are sitting on lots idle (see photos belong taken on November 28).
“Metro needs to take responsibility for their piss poor planning. This shutdown – which is SafeTrack, only by another name – was announced over the summer. They had time to prepare, yet here we are with private contractors who can’t get the job done in a way that gives the riding public the Metro service they deserve,” Jeter added.
The outside contracting is one of a series of events that has occurred over the past year to attack employee morale. Earlier this year, Metro leaders mandated new sick and overtime policies that were met with protest and concern by members of Local 689. Both of those policies have since had to be changed.