Councilmember Roger Berliner on Safety of the Metrorail System

Roger-Berliner-slider press conferenceMontgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner made the following remarks today about overall safety concerns regarding Washington’s Metrorail system after a tragic accident on the Yellow Line on Jan. 12.

The complete text of Councilmember Berliner’s statement is below:

“Yesterday’s tragic incident on Metro’s Yellow Line was a sad day for the Washington region and all who rely on our Metro system to get where they need to go each day. My heart goes out to the family of the passenger who lost her life during the event and to all those still in the hospital grappling with the impacts of smoke inhalation.

“Our Metro system is the transportation and economic spine of our region. It is, in a word, indispensable. And we must ensure that it remains a safe, reliable, state-of-the-art system for the foreseeable future and generations to come. Yesterday’s event has understandably raised serious concerns and legitimate questions about passenger safety, reliability and the nature of certain WMATA protocols for emergency situations. Our County takes these concerns seriously.

“This morning, I requested WMATA representatives to brief the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee in the near future on WMATA’s existing protocols in an emergency situation like that which played out so tragically yesterday. They agreed and our Committee expects to schedule such a meeting next week. I understand that the investigation has now been taken over by the National Transportation Safety Board, and that as a result, WMATA cannot speak to the ‘facts’ pertaining to the event. However, WMATA representatives did state that they could share with our Committee, and our public, what existing protocols are in place to protect riders in the event of emergencies like this. As to whether those protocols were followed are among the many questions that must await the NTSB’s findings and report, including whether the electrical failure that took place is limited or systemic.”

Berliner chairs the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which also includes Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Tom Hucker.


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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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