Scoopful of GM News – April 27, 2009: European War; Slash and burn; All Things Pontiac; Successful future; Toyota Jitters on Suppliers; Fed Control; Bond Plan

April 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Clash of the Titans: Fiat reportedly squaring off with European Union over mergers…interest in GM‘s European subsidiary Opel, Marchionne is now asserting that would consider the possibility, but that no offer had been made to date.[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty]Clash of the Titans: Fiat reportedly squaring off with European Union over mergers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Apr 2009 14:…

 More cuts across the board: General Motors to slash dealers, plants and employeesGM, Earnings/FinancialsGeneral Motors’ spate of announcements this morning was bad news for enthusiasts (e.g. the shuttering of Pontiac) and even worse for GM‘s debt-for-equity swap (without a 90% take-rate the automaker is bound for CH 11). But for dealerships and workers, GM‘s re-revised restructuring plan is going to hurt… hard.In addition ..

…but today GM CEO Fritz Henderson made it official. Now that the pointy-arrow brand is gone, we’ll mourn by celebrating our ten favorite examples of driving excitement. 10) 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT A Pontiac which never got much love till the end of its life was the Fiero. Burdened by the sluggish 2.5-liter “Iron Duke” four-cylinder and suspension b…
GM future hinges on success of new debt-for-equity swap offers
…GMIn addition to announcing the shuttering of Pontiac, General Motors has put forth a new offer to its bondholders to exchange $27 billion in claims for equity in the struggling automaker.As part of the plan, GM is offering its bondholders a 10% equity stake in the company, but worryingly, if 90 percent of GM‘s stockholders don’t make good on th…
Pontiac Vibe, Solstice Are Dead, Won’t Live On As Chevys [Carpocalypse]GM CEO Fritz Henderson just told journalists the Pontiac Vibe and Solstice will not live on at other brands. Also, he’s gonna have to talk with Toyota about what they’re gonna do with NUMMI. What, exactly, GM will do with NUMMI, their cooperative manufacturing effort with Toyota, remains unclear, but Fritz definitely claims they’ll have to talk …
Officially Official: GM kills Pontiac *UPDATED with LIVE webcast embed*
GM, Pontiac, Earnings/Financials Rumors from late last week have come home to roost, and as part of its restructuring efforts, General Motors has just announced that Pontiac will be “phased out by the end of 2010.” GM will continue to build its accelerated viability plan around four brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC.As part of its late…
GM To Officially Kill Pontiac, Assembly Plants Today [Carpocalypse]
GM officially announces the death of the storied 83-year-old Pontiac brand along with more assembly plant closures this morning. Goodbye, screamin’ chicken, GTO, building excitement and the “great ones.” We were the first to report it back in February, but now it’s officially official when General Motors will announce a restructuring plan at…
REPORT: Holden to lose $1 billion annually if GM shutters Pontiac
GM, Pontiac 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: Click above to view the gallery The G8 may be the best Pontiac in decades, but the stellar RWD sedan doesn’t stand a chance if the arrow head is forever retired. The loss of the G8 is difficult for enthusiasts, but it’ll be even tougher for Holden. GM‘s Australian arm will lose $1 billion ($716 million US) in rev…
Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, And Despair: The Moloney Coupe [Down On The Street Bonus Edition]
…began using GM chassis instead. But apparently they were used to Lincoln styling cues… Oh, and a couple weeks ago I thought it had been sold! Was moved to a different part of the lot earlier in the day; on my way home in traffic, I saw it at the McDonald’s drive-thru! Yeah, I know if I bought an uber-pimpmobile the first place I’d take it woul…
Toyota “war room” keeps tabs on possible supplier interruptions, stockpiled parts
GM, Toyota, Earnings/FinancialsFearing that a couple dozen of its U.S. suppliers could shut down production, Toyota has established a “war room” to monitor suppliers and has begun to warehouse assembly components. While the move marks a departure from the automaker’s “just in time” production philosophy, a mantra that associates stockpiling with…

Podcast: NPR conducts a comprehensive analysis of the Somali pirate business model

April 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm

(Source: NPR’s Planet Money)

 Even pirates need a business plan. J. Peter Pham, an analyst of African affairs at the James Madison University, looks at the economics of guns, captains, and $2 million dropped into the sea in waterproof containers. Plus, Per Gullestrup, CEO of Danish shipping company Clipper Group, has dealt with pirates first-hand — he says they’re tough negotiators.  When he ironed out the ransom details with the pirates, he had 3 demands:

1. The pirates showed “proof of life” (that the crew was still alive)
2. That they could drop the money from the air (faster than getting it there in a tug)
3. That the pirates fill up the ship with fuel.

 For a related story on NPR’s Planet money, click here.

Streetsblog Special – What’s Wrong With SAFETEA-LU — and Why the Next Bill Must Be Better

April 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

(Source: Streetsblog)

Ultimately, SAFETEA-LU’s greatest failing may have been its failure to articulate a truly multi-modal vision for the nation’s surface transportation network. Essentially a continuation of 1950s-era policies, it repeated the same-old same-old about a need to complete the Interstate highway program, directing billions of dollars to state DOTs to pour asphalt and expand roadways. Nowhere did the legislation suggest a need to adapt to a future in which American dependence on automobiles and fossil fuels must be dramatically reduced. That’s the challenge faced by Congress today.

Less of this...

 Transportation funding from Washington has been heavily weighted toward highway spending ever since President Eisenhower first proposed the Interstate Highway Act in 1956. SAFETEA-LU, 2005’s federal transportation bill, was no exception. It provided $244.1 billionover five years, its revenues raised by the federal gas tax and directed to the Highway Trust Fund, which has both highway and mass transit accounts. $40 billion a year went to highways, most of which was used to expand and upgrade the Interstate highway system; some $10 billion went annually to mass transit.

The $10 billion in public transportation funds is distributed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a variety of uses. The FTA administers the urban areas program, which allocates money to metropolitan areas for transit system capital expenses, as well as a rural areas program that helps states pay for rural transit. SAFETEA-LU also included a fixed-guideways formula, aimed at keeping mostly older rail transit systems like those in Chicago or Boston in working condition. Finally, the New Starts/Small Starts program allowed the FTA to fund competitive grants for major capacity expansion such as new subway or bus rapid transit lines.

More of this...

 SAFETEA-LU provided for $40 billion in annual funding from the highway account, the traditional federal source for financing Interstate highways. But under the law, money from the account could actually be spent on more than just roads. Roughly $6.5 billion per year was allocated to the “Surface Transportation Program.” States were allowed to use this money to fund transit and “bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways.” The “Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program” — about $1.7 billion a year — went to projects likely to reduce pollution, and specifically forbade funding “a project which will result in the construction of new capacity available to single occupant vehicles.”

There’s one problem, though. The federal government may allow such funds to be spent on non-auto uses, but that’s rarely the case.

That’s because, while each metropolitan area has a federally-mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) whose role is to establish priorities for transportation investments, state departments of transportation have ultimate discretion over how national highway funds are used. The inevitable consequence? Asphalt-happy DOTs usually choose to invest highway funds in roads, even when MPOs advocate for improved transit or bikeways. According to Transportation for America, only five states — California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia — have taken advantage of the flexibility of these funds. The rest have spent the vast majority on auto infrastructure.

What’s more, SAFETEA-LU made it easy for states to build roads and hard for them to build transit projects. While funds for new roads were simply distributed to states based on a formula, new transit lines had to undergo the rigorous New Starts process — competing with other projects from all over the country — before winning a share of federal dollars. There was no such required audit for road projects.

Click here to read the entire article.

Grinding to a halt! ITDP brings to fore key transportation issues facing Jakarta, Indonesia

April 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm

(Source: Institute for Transportation & Development Policy)

Activist Says Jakarta Current Vehicle Growth Leads to Transportation Failure

If the vehicle growth rate in Jakarta continues to hover around tens of percent annually without any breakthrough in transportation and traffic management, the city will be paralyzed by total gridlock by 2014, a nongovernmental organization said Wednesday.

“Total traffic failure is an unbearable risk caused by the city’s failure in transportation and traffic management,” the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post.

“Traffic jams have degraded the environment and people’s health due to excessive vehicle emissions. They also halt residents’ mobility that, in turn, cause economic losses,” it said.

Jabodetabek, a large-scale metropolitan area with a population of 21 million, consists of Daerah Khusus Ibukota/DKI (Capital Special Region) Jakarta, as the capital city of Indonesia, which is the center of politics, economy and social activities, and 7 local governments (Bodetabek) in the surrounding areas covering Kota (municipality) Bogor, Kabupaten (regency/district) Bogor, Kota Depok, Kota Bekasi, Kabupaten Bekasi, Kota Tangerang, and Kabupaten Tangerang.

Traffic congestion is a chronic problem faced in the Jabodetabek region and the situation is expected to worsen should there be no improvement of any kind made on the existing transportation system. According to a 2005 study,  the economic loss caused by traffic congestion in the region could be as much as $ 68 million per year due to traffic congestion – and this estimate excludes the impacts of traffic congestion and pollution on human health.

Jakarta’s Paratransit Network Still Stuck In Slow Lane 

Focussing on plans for modern subways, rapid-transit buses or express trains, while Jakarta delays overhauling its Metro Mini, Kopaja, angkot and mikrolet networks, the administration is just sweeping dirt under the rug.

At a recent meeting with city councilors, Governor Fauzi Bowo proudly reported Jakarta’s priority program of continuing to develop the BRT (rapid transit buses) network as well as the proposed subway, but nothing was said about the existing semi-formal modes of public transportation – the “paratransit” system.

Well, pardon me governor, the key to overhauling the city’s transportation system lies not in modern technology alone: It is about the addressing the system as a whole, while slowly introducing a new transportation backbone. This involves harmonizing existing means into a working network – not an overlapping one.

Sure, the paratransit system is meant to act as feeder lines for the BRT network, but how?

Jakarta’s last effort to synchronize existing microbuses and public minivans involved trying to introduce a single-ticket system for the feeder and BRT buses – an approach that failed not long after its introduction, and which has never been replaced with other initiatives.

They do say that transportation issues have more to do with political tendencies than technicalities.

But what makes it so hard to deal with the existing paratransit system and why does the Jakarta provincial government rather focus its energy in developing the new BRT and subway projects?

Transportation in Jakarta is so tied up with conflicting interests that overhauling it has become extremely complicated.

Officially, it seems non-physical projects such as integrating Kopaja and angkot benefit no one (financially that is) and this is a large part of the reason that the paratransit system is being ignored.

Turning back the clock a little to when the government chose to focus on building roads and highways (one of the consequences of Indonesia becoming a Japanese automakers’ production hub), our city buses and angkots were left on their own.

Jakarta Wants Less Cars, More Days 

The city administration has expanded its controversial car-free day program from just once a month to twice monthly.

The Jakarta Environmental Management Board, or BPLHD, announced on Thursday that it had scaled back the ban on vehicles on the main Jalan Sudirman-Jalan Thamrin thoroughfare during the last Sunday of every month, but would now bar traffic from other parts of the city on the second Sunday of every month.

“We received many complaints from people whose activities were disrupted so we gave up and reduced [the closure] by two hours,” said BPLHD head Peni Susanti.

Speaking at a press conference to outline the changes, Peni said traffic would now be barred from Sudirman-Thamrin between 6 a.m. and noon, bringing forward the previous finishing time of 2 p.m.

On a rotational basis, the second Sunday of each month would see traffic restrictions enforced during the same hours in areas such as Jalan Rasuna Said in South Jakarta, the Kota area of West Jakarta, Jalan Danau Sunter in North Jakarta, Jalan Pramuka in East Jakarta and Jalan Soeprapto in Central Jakarta.

During the car-free days, only the TransJakarta busway would be allowed to use the main roadways, while other public transportation and private vehicles must use the slow lane.

Peni said the aim was to improve air quality by reducing pollution from traffic, and to encourage more efficient use of cars.

Air-quality evaluations conducted during car-free days have shown significant drops in pollutant concentration levels, with dust particles reduced by 34 percent, carbon monoxide by 67 percent and nitrogen monoxide by 80 percent.

“Those three parameters are the primary pollutants from motor vehicles,” Peni said. “Motor vehicles are still the biggest polluters in Jakarta.”

Slamet Daryoni, the interim director of the Jakarta branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi, however, said that the car-free day program was ineffective.

One Project At A Time Keeps Congestion Away, Experts Say (Jakarta)

Jakarta’s administration should focus on one public transportation project at a time, to avoid projects being half completed and unsuccessful, like the waterway and monorail projects, urban planning experts said Wednesday.

Despite worsening traffic conditions in the city, the administration has not yet managed to develop any form of efficient public transportation, said urban planning expert Yayat Supriatna.

“The administration is inconsistent in developing transportation systems. It should prioritize and focus on completing one project before starting another,” he said, citing several unfinished projects.

Despite the monorail project not being completed, the administration went ahead with building the waterway, which has been considered a failure.

“Existing modes *of transportation*, such as the Transjakarta bus, have yet to be optimized by the administration. To some extent, they only create new traffic problems,” Yayat said.

The administration has been planning to build the monorail project since 2003, erecting pillars in the middle of several main streets. However the project is now in a deadlock due to legal and financial problems.

Yayat said the project was still feasible, but needed stronger commitment from the administration and the company consortium.

Furthermore, he warned administrative uncertainties in transportation projects could lead to stakeholder distrust and hamper the improvement of the entire system.

The Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) said the city’s infrastructure could not catch up with the growing number of vehicles.

The group estimated that if vehicle growth rate continued to hover around an annual two-digit percentage without any breakthrough in transportation and traffic management, the city would be paralyzed by 2014.

NYC financial workers see low-flying planes, panic

April 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm
In this image taken with a cell phone by Jason McLane, the primary presidential aircraft, a Boeing 747 known as Air Force One when the president is aboard, flies low over New York Harbor, followed by an F-16 chase plane during a federal government photo op Monday, April 27, 2009. A low-flying Boeing 747 escorted by two fighter jets as part of a federal government photo opportunity over lower Manhattan caused a brief panic among workers near ground zero on Monday. (AP Photo/Jason McLane)

In this image taken with a cell phone by Jason McLane, the primary presidential aircraft, a Boeing 747 known as Air Force One when the president is aboard, flies low over New York Harbor, followed by an F-16 chase plane during a federal government photo op Monday, April 27, 2009. A low-flying Boeing 747 escorted by two fighter jets as part of a federal government photo opportunity over lower Manhattan caused a brief panic among workers near ground zero on Monday. (AP Photo/Jason McLane) (Jason Mclane - AP)

(Source: Washington Post)

NEW YORK — A Boeing 747 used by the president was escorted over lower Manhattan by two Air Force fighter jets Monday as part of a government photo opportunity, causing a brief panic among office workers near ground zero.

Workers from several office buildings poured out onto the streets before they learned that the flights were innocuous.

John Leitner, a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange Building, said about 1,000 people “went into a total panic” and ran out of the building around 10 a.m. after seeing the planes whiz by their building, near the World Trade Center site.

“Apparently, nobody in the building was informed that this was going to happen,” he said. “Everyone panicked, as you can certainly understand.”

He said the workers gathered along the Hudson River esplanade until a security officer with a bullhorn told them it was a planned exercise.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the government was conducting a photo op involving two Air Force F-16 jets and the larger airplane, a Defense Department version of the 747 that is called Air Force One when the president is aboard. It said it notified city law enforcement about the mission.

The NYPD said the flight “was authorized by the FAA for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty, with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it, but to direct all inquiries to the FAA.”

Among the workers who left their buildings were some at The Wall Street Journal.   Here is a video from WSJ showing the aircraft flying near the buildings. 


Click here to read the entire article.

Breaking News: Chrysler and Union Agree to Deal Before Federal Deadline

April 27, 2009 at 12:31 am

(Source: New York Times)

Union leaders said Sunday that they had reached an agreement with Chrysler that meets federal requirements for the automaker to receive more financing.

The deal includes Fiat, the Italian automaker with which Chrysler was ordered by the government to form an alliance before Thursday.

Neither the United Automobile Workers union nor the company released details of the tentative agreement, which would modify the union’s 2007 contract and reduce the amount of money Chrysler must pay into a new health fund for retirees.

Image: New York Times

The union plans to have its 26,000 Chrysler workers vote on the deal by Wednesday.

Chrysler said the agreement, reached during marathon negotiations over the weekend, satisfied the requirements laid out by the Obama administration for a deal by an April 30 deadline.

Even with the agreement, Chrysler is expected to seek Chapter 11 protection, in a case mapped out by the government in advance, including safeguards meant to protect worker benefits, people with knowledge of the company’s plans said Sunday night.

A new company would be set up with the best assets of Chrysler, these people said. Fiat of Italy would own 20 percent to 35 percent of the new Chrysler, they said, with the government also holding a stake. Some of the equity in the new company would also be given to Chrysler’s creditors as repayment.

These people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals had not been finalized.

The Treasury Department has also reached an agreement with Daimler of Germany, the former owner of Chrysler, to settle tax and other claims left over from its sale of Chrysler in 2007 to Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm.

In order to persuade the union to back the sale to Cerberus, Daimler agreed to pay $1 billion to Chrysler if the company’s pension plans were terminated in a subsequent bankruptcy filing. Details of the Treasury’s deal with Daimler were not available.

Last week, the union reached an agreement in principle with the administration and Chrysler that would protect workers’ pensions in the event of a bankruptcy filing and provide for a change in the financing of a health care trust set up in 2007.

Click here to read the entire article.

OPEC wants oil to reach $70 a barrel – “The price of 50 dollars is not enough to cover investment costs for the future”

April 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm

ALGIERS (AFP) – OPEC wants to see oil prices rising to more than 70 dollars a barrel, the oil cartel’s secretary general Abdalla El-Badri said Sunday.

 “The price of 50 dollars is not enough to cover investment costs for the future,” El-Badri told reporters in Algiers.

“The price which allows reasonable and acceptable revenues is more than 70 dollars a barrel,” he added.

El-Badri was speaking after talks with Energy Minister Chakib Khelilahead of the next meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on May 28.

“There are positive signs of a recovery in the world economy, which we have to take into account before taking a decision on the future,” he added, in response to a question regarding a possible cut in oil production.

“Our forecasts are coherent, those of the IEA (International Energy Agency) are exaggerated,” he added.

On April 15, OPEC lowered its forecast for demand for crude oil in 2009 because the drop in consumption caused by the worldwide recession.

It now says production will drop by 1.6 percent, or 1.37 million barrels a day, down to 84.18 mbd. Its previous report in March forecast a drop of 1.01 million barrels a day to 85.55 mpd.

The IEA, in its latest forecast earlier this month, cut oil consumption by 1.0 million barrels a day for 2009 to 83.4 million barrels, citing the weak global economy as a factor.

TransportGooru Musing:  With the entire world moving with heavy investments towards alternative energy such as electric vehicles, OPEC’s “The price of 50 dollars is not enough to cover investment costs for the future”  sounds idiotic.  OPEC will continue to survive as a group until the developing economies in Asia and Africa figure a way out of oil-dependency.

Half of London’s police cars will go alternative within 4 years

April 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm

(Source: Autobloggreen)

According to Autocar in the UK, Scotland Yard has announced plans to replace half of its fleet of vehicles with either electric or air-powered vehicles within four years. We’re not sure what air-powered vehicles are being considered, but we’ve been hearing about the compressed air vehicle from MDI for the last few years at least.

There are already 140 or so Toyota Prius hybrid police cars currently in use by the Metropolitan Police Service and officers have been putting electric versions of the smart fortwo through their paces. Those two programs are expected to continue and grow. Nigel Jakubowski, head of transport services, says, “The uniformed officers who have driven them say they are very quick. We have installed charging points at the stations the cars are based in, and they work very well.”

Reports of Pontiac’s end sadden fans of muscular brand

April 25, 2009 at 11:34 pm

(Source: CNN

Pontiac owners around the United States are feeling nostalgic amid reports that cash-strapped General Motors will end one of its most coveted brands.

 Pontiac models, such as the 1969 GTO, helped usher in the era of the muscle cars, enthusiasts say.

Jean Lindsay of western New York fondly recalls the muscle cars in her family’s driveway: Two 1967 GTOs.

“I had two brothers, and they each had one of these cars,” she said. “The GTO represented the suburban culture of its time, heavily laden with root beer and plain beer.”

“Those were the days of Bob’s Big Boy [hamburger restaurant], when girls wore skates. Back then we pleasantly wasted gas looking for fun. It was a social thing.”

Debuting in 1964, the Pontiac GTO is widely regarded as the original muscle car. It was a risky model in that it featured a big-block engine in an intermediate-size frame.

The GTO’s success not only buoyed GM but helped jumpstart the high-performance market for Detroit’s Big Three automakers — and ushered in the era of the vehicle as status symbol.

“It was a chick magnet, for God’s sake. Even from a girl’s standpoint,” Lindsay said.

Pontiac’s other emblematic performance car, the Firebird Trans Am, featured the outline of a firebird on the hood — the whole hood. It enjoyed a rise in popularity and brisk sales after being featured in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie franchise beginning in the late 1970s.

But like even the most sturdy odometer, the numbers, years ago, had begun to work against Detroit.

After years of watching their market share erode to foreign automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler were beset by a perfect storm of declining sales, slow innovation and a dogged recession. While all three shed jobs, GM and Chrysler took bailouts to survive; Ford chose to rely on its cash reserves to ride out the storm.

In February, GM announced the end of the Saturn and Hummer lines while casting a ray of hope for Pontiac enthusiasts by saying that the brand would survive but be scaled back to a niche product.

But as a potential bankruptcy filing looms on June 1, the automaker has reportedly studied closing down the Pontiac brand. In the midst of pressure from the Obama administration to present a restructuring plan that shows the company’s long-term viability, the automaker recently released a statement to downplay fears that brands Americans have patronized for generations are on the chopping block.

“General Motors has not announced any changes to its long-term viability plan or to the future status of any of its brands,” the automaker said Friday in a statement on its Web site.

Click here to read the entire article.

WMATA shares some love for TransportGooru – Offers a response to the grievance letter

April 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

Some of you remember that TransportGooru dropped a letter to WMATA’s managament about a terrible commute a couple of weeks ago.  You can read that letter here:  An Open Letter to WMATA Chief, Mr. John Catoe – Are you really in touch with your customer? If not, please get in touch with me!

Surprise, Surprise! Metro’s Customer Service Manager, Paul Bumbry, replied to this “grievance” letter with an equally lengthy one, addressing the various issues highlighted by TransportGooru.  Though it does not address many of the concerns in a convincing fashion, Transportgooru applauds and appreciates WMATA’s efforts to take such complaints seriously and offer a response.  Thank you, WMATA & John Catoe.   Without further ado, let’s proceed to read the response from Mr. Bumbry.

Dear Mr. TransportGooru:

Thank you for your April 10, 2009 email to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  I have been asked to respond to the open letter to General Manager John Catoe that you posted on your Web site.

We regret the  inconvenience you experienced on April 10, 2009, when your train did not stop at the place you have become accustomed to it stopping alongthe platform at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station.  To help protect the safety of large crowds of customers during special events, Metrorail management requires all train operators to pull all the way to the front end of the platform, regardless of the number of cars in the train.  Public address announcements are made to advise customers when this is the case.

We also regret your experience with the train doors on the Red Line train.  We agree with you that safety is paramount, and our employees try hard to uphold this principle.  That is why we place so much emphasis on the proper procedures for train operators to open and close train doors when passengers are exiting and boarding.  Operators are required to look out of the operator cab window and check the view alongside the train before closing the doors.  Operators are also trained to respond as quickly as possible if the doors close inadvertently on a patron.

I have routed your e mail to the Red Line division, so the superintendent can re-instruct the operator on proper door closing procedures and investigate any reports of a malfunction that night.  If you witness such an incident again, please make note of as many details as possible, including the time and exact location, as well as the four-digit rail car number posted inside the door at each end of the car.  We encourage you to report the information by completing an online Customer Comment Form on the Metro Web site, at, or by calling Metro¿s Office of Customer Service at (202) 637-1328, so we can take the appropriate follow-up action.

We apologize for this unfortunate incident, and we appreciate your suggestions.  Although we cannot implement each suggestion we receive, yours will be forwarded to Rail Operations for review.    I hope your future travel experiences on Metro are positive ones.


Paul Bumbry
Customer Service Manager
When responding to this email, please perform a reply with history so that the following conversational identifier “[THREAD_ID:493950]” is included in your response.

Note to WMATA:  Last night I witnessed the no improvement in your “level of service” at Gallery Place when I arrived there a few minutes after 9 PM.  The crowd was swelling on the platform as the Capitals game at Verzion center was nearing the end with patrons leaving the game.  The approaching train pulled up to the father end of the platform as you noted in your response  (To help protect the safety of large crowds of customers during special events, Metrorail management requires all train operators to pull all the way to the front end of the platform, regardless of the number of cars in the train.  Public address announcements are made to advise customers when this is the case). But I must tell tell you, there was no PSA notification about this procedure.  As clueless as they always are, some of your customers ran chasing the train.   I am not sure what is not working — your PSA or your instructions to the employees to deliver such “advise” to customers.  The good thing is that the operator was a lot more courteous and didn’t play the jingle game like the one that got TransportGooru all upset earlier.   Oh readers, there is still no word from John Catoe about his availability to have a cup of coffee and go over some of these issues.  Mr. Catoe, the offer (that I’ll pay for your cup of coffee) is still valid and if you change your mind, please feel free to write to: