By David Schultz
The past seven months have been a nightmare for Metro. A series of accidents has claimed the lives of eight passengers and five Metro workers.
Reverend Anthony Evans, leader of the coalition D.C. Black Church Initiative, says ministers have a duty to protect their parishioners from harm.
"There is a crisis in the system," he says. "So therefore it is responsible for an institution such as the church to point out to our parishioners and members and the riding public that this system doesn't take the issue of safety very seriously."
Evans occupies the pulpit at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Northwest. He says Metro's Board of Directors created a "culture of safety negligence."
"So I think, yes--don't ride Metro if you fear that they have not done an excellent job in taking care of the safety aspects of this system," he says.
D.C. Councilman Jim Graham (D), who was chairman of the Metro Board until his term ended this week, says the idea that Metro doesn't take safety seriously is categorically false.
"What people need to know," he says, "Is how much effort is being made to make this a safe ride."
He says Metro is getting a $150 million infusion of capital funds from the federal government, funds that will allow it to address the system's safety needs.