WMATA: A Stalin Style of Work!
The Moscow Metro. 200 stations, 207 miles covered. Runs every 90 seconds at rush hour. 99 percent time accuracy rate. Daily ridership of 10 million. 12 lines, including a ring line. A yearly pass? $240 dollars. Oh, and the stations look like this.
It’s not often I make a case for dictatorships (excluding instances of leadership sartorial decisions). It’s especially uncommon for me to make a Stalin-positive case (being of the general opinion that he was a short-sighted wacko, who, while well read and hyper intelligent when it came to personal relationships and manipulation, lucked his way through a series of disasters).
But damn, Stalin, you done good with the metro. Bravo, Lazar Kaganovich, bravo, Komsomol. At least you did not slave labor in vain, political prisoners.
Every day I encounter the WMATA gauntlet. Will my bus come? Will some crazy teenagers beat me up for sport on the metro? If the bus comes, will it be covered in vomit or other, more mysterious bodily fluids, or perhaps, housing a very intense man who will repeatedly and increasingly aggressively question me about the destination, suggesting deep and possibly dangerous paranoia? Will the bus driver stop abruptly in the middle of the ride to talk to a friend in the street? WMATA: It’s a Dantenian hell-circle of morbid delights, a pinata of persistent risk and gropings, smelling generally of fish and suffused throughout with mysterious, acrid smoke. You seek assistance? Metro employees are mute ciphers or taunting sphinxes at best, torturous goblins and lesser devils, pitchforks in hand, at worst.
Every day, I fantasize about introducing what Stalin’s propaganda machines called a “Stalin style of work!”
But that’s so much! Do you know how many people Metro has killed since the early 90s? 27. Do you know how many ISIS has killed in DC? None. Not one person. It’s not so much. Listen to me, this is a real threat.
First, I will purge the entire WMATA structure, and replace them with an even-handed, Beria-esque mix of transportation specialists and not-so-secret secret policemen, possibly ex-army. Deadly, in any event. Former WMATA employees not directly implicated in 30 minute delays on the Red Line will be sentenced to 20 years hard labor in Idaho. Everyone else will be liquidated as saboteurs and wreckers. I heartily encourage you to read Simon Sebag-Montefiore’s ‘In The Court of the Red Tsar’. This will help you grasp the general direction of my plans for WMATA.
Second, WMATA will be patrolled by my not-so-secret secret police. Harassment of any kind will result in 20 years hard labor in Idaho. Fare jumpers will be hauled away by the police and disappear. Their families will be told they’re on vacation for the next 75 years, in reality, of course, they’ll be at the bottom of the Anacostia, but the air of ominous ‘are they REALLY dead??’ mystery will keep people on their toes.
Station managers and staff will be replaced by sullen, frightening people (similar to present managers) who will actually be competent.
Current signage will be burned in front of Congress as a warning, and new, decent signage will be installed forthwith.
That lady who won the contest to be the voice of metro who metro then dropped with no explanation afaik will be reinstated over those creepy robot voices.
Shaw and NoMa, as a whole, will be dynamited to make way for an expansive public park (rather, inner city forest) not unlike Gorky Park.
A GODDAMN RING LINE WILL BE BUILT, with the money seized from incompetent metro employees, fare jumpers, and previous metro board members (hereafter known as ‘former people’).
But, will the suffering be worth it, you ask? The countless lives destroyed, the bloodshed, the agony? Will the suffering of thousands of jerks be adequately counterbalanced by a reliable, speedy commute, conscientious staff, decent and my and my peers’ doubtless improved safety and well being?
Just ask a Muscovite.