WASHINGTON — After a Blue Line train derailed near Arlington Cemetery, causing disruption for hundreds of riders, WMATA has offered an apology and a $21 credit to those involved. Safety inspectors describe the Oct. 12 incident as potentially "catastrophic," according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
No one was hurt or injured in the incident, however, an investigation ultimately revealed that Metro, and manufacturer Kawasaki, have known for years about problems with the wheel assemblies in the transit system's newest $2-million rail cars, the transportation safety board announced.
In the aftermath, the D.C. Metrorail Safety Commission ordered Metro to pull nearly 60% of its rail fleet from service after its safety oversight board found a recurring problem with the axles on the Metro's newest railcars.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said the remaining 40 trains will run every 30 minutes. Passengers reported waits of as long as an hour during Monday morning's rush.
Metro is currently working to reach out to customers that were on board the train to give riders the monetary credit, a media relations spokesperson confirmed.
"While it does not make up for their experience, we wanted to offer an apology along with this small gesture of appreciation," she said in an emailed statement.
On a local D.C. Reddit thread where commuters shared their experience aboard the derailed train, various users shared that they had already been contacted by WMATA about receiving their credits.
"This is basically exactly what I would expect of metro personnel -- basically the bare minimum," one user commented.
"Whatttttt? $21 I can't imagine all the emotions you and the other passengers felt during that experience," another said.
Others speculated about how WMATA will go about verifying who was on the train and why the amount was chosen, as well as if the move was meant to deter lawsuits.
"We have already been in touch with those customers on board the train that had registered SmarTrip cards and are in the process of reaching out to other customers that we have identified as being on the train," WMATA said after WUSA9 reached out.
The spokesperson went on to specify the reason why the $21 credit amount was chosen.
"Customers on the incident train were provided a $21 SmarTrip credit based on six trip credits. (Metro put the value of a trip credit at $3.50) The number of rides would depend on the trip."
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