Metropocalypse

By WAMU 88.5

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Description

Explosions and smoke-filled tunnels. Frustrated riders and epic commutes. This is the new normal on Washington’s Metro. Metropocalypse, a weekly podcast from WAMU 88.5, explores the unprecedented plan to rebuild tracks and re-engineer culture on the nation’s second largest transit system. Send questions & ideas to metro@wamu.org.

Episode Date
EPISODE 27: A Metro Carol
0:00
Metro is taking disciplinary action against half its track inspection department. Late-night trains will not return until July 2019 at the earliest. Will the new year usher in a season of festivity and goodwill to all riders?
Dec 19, 2016
Episode 26: Ride With Metro’s GM
0:00
WAMU's Martin DiCaro commutes with Metro's GM; we talk with a transportation expert about the impact of the rail system's impending hour cutbacks.
Dec 12, 2016
Episode 25: Happy Anniversary, Paul Wiedefeld
0:00
On this week's podcast, we talk Metro's steps toward reducing service hours, a Silver Line throwdown and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld's first year on the job.
Dec 05, 2016
Episode 24: Worst Of The Worst Commutes
0:15:34
Red Line commuters can be thankful that the 10th SafeTrack surge is winding down. But the month-long rehab project, which shut down service along Fort Totten and NoMa/Gallaudet, highlighted how disruptions in a small corner of the system can have dramatic impacts on daily commutes.
Nov 21, 2016
Episode 23: Can Donald Trump Make Metro Great Again?
0:21:28
The president-elect's promise to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure improvements is emerging as one of the least divisive aspects of his agenda, at least at this early stage. Will the Republican-controlled Congress go along with it? And would any of the money help WMATA?
Nov 15, 2016
Episode 22: Gazing Into The Future (Through The Lens Of A ‘Reality Check’)
0:25:27
Buckle your seatbelts, because where we’re going, there are no roads (or single-tracking). We consider two potential scenarios for Metro in the years ahead.
Nov 07, 2016
Episode 21: Shocks To The System
0:21:40
Want to hear something really scary? Metro’s 10th SafeTrack surge is hitting its most heavily trafficked artery, shutting down two stations on the Red Line between Fort Totten and NoMa/Gallaudet. We take a horrific bus bridge on the first weekday of the surge — and we explore the hidden force behind Metro: electricity.
Nov 01, 2016
Episode 20: Arguing For Equity
0:26:13
Permanently ending late-night service. Temporary shutting down stations with low ridership. Many of the ideas for fixing Metro’s ills raise questions of fairness: Are the burdens of the SafeTrack era falling too heavily on lower-income communities? We ride the rails with Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia to discuss those issues and more.
Oct 25, 2016
Episode 19: Metro-Politics
0:30:35
When it comes to Metro politics, the most important thing isn’t party lines — it’s regional lines. We talk to a WMATA board member from Prince George’s County about the view from the east side of the region, and we look at where Virginia, Maryland and D.C. leaders stand on a key question: How can Metro get an infusion of funding?
Oct 17, 2016
Episode 18: Full Throttle Into The Past With Zachary Schrag
0:53:09
Why are there so few seats on Metro platforms? How did D.C. home-rule advocates impact the historical trajectory of the rail system? Why are there only two tracks in Metro tunnels? Zachary Schrag, author of The Great Society Subway, joins us for a live recording at Kramerbooks in D.C.
Oct 10, 2016
Episode 17: Will Nats Fans Have To Race To The Metro Station?
0:15:15
As playoff baseball returns to Washington, D.C., thousands of Nationals fans could face a choice: Stay for the end of a game, or leave early to catch the right Green Line train? Also, we discuss the acute misery of Blue Line riders: New data suggest their Metrorail experience is the worst in the system.
Oct 03, 2016
Episode 16: Has Metro’s ‘Death Spiral’ Begun?
0:25:07
More than a decade ago, a top Metro official warned of the potential for a "death spiral" involving a confluence of maintenance problems, budget pressures and rider dissatisfaction. Chris Zimmerman was on WMATA's board at the time, and he explains why those warnings went unheeded. We also ask three Metropocalypse listeners about their experiences using the rail service.
Sep 13, 2016
Episode 15: Report Cards, Wish Lists And Maglevs
0:26:49
WMATA regularly gives itself a report card called Vital Signs, and the latest has some good news about railcar reliability, but bad news about on-time performance. We also discuss what Metro riders really want, and whether the U.S. has the desire and will to build high-speed maglev rail lines.
Sep 06, 2016
Episode 14: Broken Culture, Honest Announcements
0:34:13
We talk to Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans about what he wants to see as the transit agency tries to fix its infrastructure and its culture. We also hear more from the man in the middle of it all, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. And who's that coming from the train speakers? Nina Totenberg?
Aug 29, 2016
Episode 13: Metro’s Summer Of Stumbles
0:25:30
We walk through all the ways Metro is having a bad summer with Politico's Lauren Gardner, Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert and members of the Metropocalypse Facebook group. There's also bonus appearances from public radio luminaries.
Aug 19, 2016
Episode 12: ‘Death Star’ With Earth Tones
9:13
Next time you're in an underground Metro station, look up and around. Are you in a calming streetscape setting? Or does it feel more like an interstellar battle station? Historian Zachary Schrag discusses the architects’ original intent.
Aug 15, 2016
Episode 11: Track Fires vs. Garbage Fires
0:22:30
As the bad news keeps coming for WMATA, we've been thinking about how Metro's woes compare with those of older systems. Kate Hinds, who covers transportation for WNYC in New York, reminds us that every city's subway has its strengths and weaknesses.
Aug 08, 2016
Episode 10: Labor, Safety And Money
0:27:40
Rep. Barbara Comstock discusses how changing the pay structure for Metro's unionized workers could help the transit agency close up some of its budgetary holes. And Jackie Jeter, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, offers a counterpoint from the perspective or organized labor.
Aug 02, 2016
Episode 9: #Hotcars And Hot Work
0:20:43
Why is the air conditioning so bad on some Metro cars? And what, exactly, is happening out on the Orange Line tracks during SafeTrack surge No. 5? Martin Di Caro goes looking for answers.
Jul 26, 2016
Episode 8: Metropocalypse Now!
0:25:42
Martin Di Caro and guest co-host Lauren Gardner of Politico take a bus bridge with Rep. Don Beyer and encounter a bottleneck along U.S. 1. Come for the conversation about politics and policy — stay for the impressions of Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando.
Jul 18, 2016
Episode 7.5: Live At Kramerbooks In D.C.
0:47:26
In front of a live audience, we nerd out on questions about ridership and "death spirals;" expansion plans and bus lanes; and the 1990s technology we can't seem to escape.
Jul 13, 2016
Episode 7: Nerd Riders
0:23:36
Greater Greater Washington founder (and fellow transportation nerd) David Alpert tells us about his website's MetroGreater contest. We answer hot questions from Metropocalypse listeners. And experts on the psychology of commuting explain how SafeTrack might affect Washingtonians' habits.
Jul 11, 2016
Episode 6: How Will Washington Get Around In The Year 2026?
0:22:31
In the latest Metropocalypse, we explore the future of Metro: What will the system look like in 10 years? Should responsibility for running the system be passed off to the private sector? How will the introduction of driverless cars and other technologies impact the system?
Jul 05, 2016
Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters
0:21:21
In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.
Jun 27, 2016
Episode 4: Historic Blunder Of Epic Proportions?
0:15:46
SafeTrack hits its second phase, with full shutdowns of sections of the Orange Line forcing commuters to use bus "bridges" between stations. What if Metro had built extra tracks, though? We talk to a historian about why redundant stretches of rail weren't part of the system's blueprint.
Jun 21, 2016
Episode 3: Filling The Information Vacuum
0:19:17
We talk to civic hackers who use WMATA's open data sources to share information about delays, accidents and more. The principal of a charter school with many non-native speakers of English talks about how language barriers can affect transit riders. And we ask: Is the latest Orange Line work boosting bike traffic in Arlington?
Jun 13, 2016
Episode 2: Dispatches From Day One
0:19:22
The Metropocalypse crew is on the scene at the Ballston station in Virginia as the "new normal" takes effect. We also ask key questions of Metro's general manager and D.C.'s mayor, and we discuss what the end of late-night service means for everyday people.
Jun 07, 2016
Episode 1: The Surge
0:14:37
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Metropocalypse, WAMU 88.5's new podcast about Metro. WAMU 88.5's Martin DiCaro and Politico's Martine Powers explore what the "new normal" will be for the Washington region's subway system, and we talk to the chairman of Metro's board about why commuters will have to pay peak fares during disrupted service.
May 31, 2016
Metropocalypse: Trailer
1:35
Explosions and smoke-filled tunnels. Turf wars between government agencies. Frustrated riders and epic commutes. This has become the new normal for the Metro system. Metropocalypse, a weekly podcast from WAMU 88.5 News, explores the latest developments, answers riders’ burning questions and finds humor and insight amid our region's commuting nightmares.
May 25, 2016