Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Things About the DC Metro Shutdown

If you haven't heard, the Washington DC Metro System will be shut down for 29 hours starting tomorrow.  For most people, it's a non event but for the 800,000 (!) people who rely on the system to get to work/daycare/school/etc. it will be a rather big deal.  Here's some things to consider whether you are impacted or not:

  1. Weird stuff like this happens on occasion, often without notice, and we, the general public, won't get much of an explanation of the real reason why it is happening.  Conspiracy theories much?
  2. What would happen if you couldn't get home from work/school/your doctor's appointment/the shopping center you are at/etc?  Some people take the Metro several (or several dozen) miles away from home so if you couldn't get home in the way you always do, what would you do?  Walk home? Uber? Shelter in Place? Stay with a friend? Camp out at school or work?  Plan now for this sort of eventuality.
  3. Most importantly, if you are stranded at work over night or at school over night or at a friend's house overnight, what items must you absolutely have to survive?  Consider always taking with you a small BOB, you necessary medications, an emergency blanket, cash, good walking shoes, a cell phone charger, snack food, etc.
  4. Prepare for social unrest.  800,000 pissed off people can create quite the problem if they were to all end up stranded somewhere.  You don't want to be in the middle of this if at all possible.  
  5. Stay home if you can.  There will be lots of people that will need (or try) to get to work tomorrow but if at all possible, save yourself the stress and stay home.  You already know that there will be a problem so why exacerbate the situation by joining in the fray?
  6. Help others in need.  While there was a little bit of notice which might keep the situation from getting totally out of hand (imagine what would have happened if they would have shut down today, mid day, with no notice at all??) some people may still end up in a precarious situation.  If possible, help others in any way you can.  It's good karma and the best way to handle a bad situation.
  7. Know what your school/work policy for such an event is.  Usually there are policies in place for weather disruptions but since this is pretty unique, you may need to ask your employer what options you have (working from home, taking the day off tomorrow and working Saturday instead, etc).
  8. Make a plan with the family using this situation as an example.  What if the transit system had been shut down with no notice and the family was spread out all over the city, miles away from home and away from each other?  What would you all do?
  9. Pay attention to the local news (use multiple sources including newspaper websites, Facebook and Twitter for city and county services such as police and fire and the Metro, reddit, etc) to stay up on any breaking news including shortened or extended closures, alternative transit options, etc.
  10. Use the lessons learned from this situation (I'm sure there will be multiple news articles about the closure and its after affects) to plan for future events.


  1. Number 1 was a topic of conversation among the more "situationally aware" people on Facebook and at work. The funny thing was the reactions of people who didn't even think of this (though a lot of people I associate with are professional paranoids).

    1. Having worked with the government, I may be paranoid but nothing the government does would surprise me...