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Wednesday's Red Line Meltdown Leaves Riders Dejected

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Emergency responders had to evacuate passengers from one Metrorail train and 1,000 passengers were trapped underground for an hour in another train Sept. 19.
Rebecca Cooper
Emergency responders had to evacuate passengers from one Metrorail train and 1,000 passengers were trapped underground for an hour in another train Sept. 19.

Yesterday's mess on Metro's Red Line was discouraging for many commuters, a pair of power outages caused extensive delays during morning rush hour yesterday.

Metro is spending billions of dollars to make up for decades of neglect in order to avoid incidents like yesterday's. It will require years of work, according to Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel.

"We spent nearly a billion dollars in capital last year trying to rebuild this system and the system is becoming more reliable," he said Wednesday. "But we're not where we want to be yet and it is going to take time." 

But some Red Line commuters at the Gallery Place Chinatown station Wednesday afternoon weren't convinced service is getting better.

"I've been living in D.C. for ten years, I've been using the Metro for ten years," says Nadia Mouzykina. "I feel like money is being wasted without actually seeing any improvements." 

Sammy Akkoush agreed. "It was bad to begin with and it's still pretty bad," he said. 

"I would say they are trying but I haven't really seen any improvement just yet, but maybe in the future," said Melody Barefield.

For his part, Robert Gard said he thinks the service is "getting worse."

Others complained that the track work, done mostly on weekends, causes delays. But Metro says the track work is necessary to fix problems at the root of service issues. 

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