May 8th WMATARU Update

Hello once again!

In a previous post I promised to keep you updated on the progress of relaunching WMATARU.  I renew that promise here and hope this post answers many of the questions I’ve received since that last update.

Membership and Leadership

First let me clarify something: currently there are zero members and zero leaders of the WMATA Riders’ Union. Many people who are disgusted with the state of the union have asked me to remove them from the membership list and that’s simply not possible as one does not currently exist. Riders who were members under the former implementation of WMATARU agreed to something that no longer exists and I wouldn’t attempt to represent that agreement in the current state of WMATARU. To that end there also are no leaders at WMATARU. I am acting merely as a receiver of the former shell left by previous leaders and will work as a catalyst to get the union up and running again in the near future.

The Future of WMATARU

At present WMATRU exists only in name. It’s my intention to accomplish the following to change that:

1 – let the dust settle. It’s no secret that there has been turmoil and failure by this group. Any attempt to deny those events and push forward without a clear plan would not be a benefit to WMATA’s ridership. Expect at least a month of nothing major from this union.

2 – I hope to meet with leaders of other transit rider unions from across America to better understand how their union is funded, operated, and successful. Based on that feedback and hopefully a few “lessons learned” I will work with people who have expressed interest in getting WMATARU running again to do just that.

Lingering Issues

I have been working with Graham Jenkins who has been gracious and critical in helping WMATARU take a successful break. I have no doubt that Graham and other former leaders still want to see WMATARU succeed in whatever form that looks like in the future. I am now in possession of the WMATARU Twitter account, domain (URL), web hosting, Google Apps account, and former electronic assets thanks to Graham’s help.

Unfortunately I’m still unable to answer a popular question: where did the money go? Continued attempts to communicate with former WMATARU leader Ashley Robbins have go unanswered. Ashley controls the bank account that received your GoFundMe donations thus all expenses went through her. I continue to try to understand the state of non-profit filing for the group as it’s been indicated previously funds were spent on that endeavor. I also continue to try to account for any remaining funds that went unspent. Ashley is also the only person with access to the Facebook page so until further notice you won’t see updates there. I do hold out hope that Ashley has simply been busy and will eventually help us all get answers to these issues.

In The Meantime…

Although you won’t see anything in the way of activism from WMATARU I did want to relaunch the website with one simple goal: informing riders. With so much happening and so many ways for riders to get involved I felt you deserved a portal to keep you informed, educated, and on task. You’ll see news coverage and announcements of meetings and events here on the new WMATARU website going forward. Any feedback or suggestions about content on the new website are greatly welcome.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. As always I’m available if you have further questions or concerns.

Chris

(@FIXWMATA, 202-709-6282, chris@wmataru.org)

Washington Post: Federal safety officials demand immediate fixes on Red, Orange, Silver, Blue lines

From WashingtonPost.com
From WashingtonPost.com

Federal officials on Wednesday ordered Metro to immediately begin maintenance work on three long stretches of tracks to eliminate the threat of fires, forcing the transit agency to make last-minute scheduling changes in an extensive subway-rebuilding plan that it had hoped to finalize by early next week.

Read More at WashingtonPost.com

Dr Gridlock: Deja vu on Metro rebuilding plan? Here’s why.

Image via WashingtonPost.com
Image via WashingtonPost.com

Everyone in the D.C. region — Metro riders, resident, employers, employees, civic leaders — has a right to wonder how much better Metrorail service will be a year from now under the new SafeTrack Plan. The new strategy that Wiedefeld outlined Friday will increase the extent of service disruptions that many riders already said was unacceptable. Meanwhile, much of the track work that will be done is the same type of track work that has been underway for five years.

Read More at WashingtonPost.com