how do metro drivers get to work??
September 22, 2012 6:55 PM   Subscribe

How do metro workers on the opening shift get to work?

I live in DC and our subway system isn't 24 hours. I've always wondered how the bus and train drivers get to work if the metro isn't open and they don't have a car. Considering that DC has a high variability in income levels, I find it hard to believe that all people in the opening shift have cars!
posted by aaanastasia to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I believe drivers tend to make decent money. This table says an average of 50K, which should be enough to own a car in that area.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:04 PM on September 22, 2012

They do what all workers do when confronted with a bad shift: They figure it out or find another job.
It has nothing to with where they work -- metro, 7-11, slaughterhouse, taxicab.
posted by LonnieK at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

They walk, bike, drive or get a ride from a friend, family member, or co-worker.
posted by Sal and Richard at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I live in an area with almost no public transport. The people just outside my town have no public transport and some have no cars. They walk, bike, beg a ride, taxi, couch-surf the night before a shift, whatever it takes to keep the job.
posted by saucysault at 7:14 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

WMATA has a ton of take-home cars. Obviously, not every employee gets one, but a lot do, and I imagine some pick up co-workers in the morning / drop them off at night.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:16 PM on September 22, 2012

Presumably, most of the drivers report to a bus or train yard to start their shift. Drivers know where this is and, like anybody else, arrange their lives accordingly. So they might live in reasonable proximity to the yard and walk, take the bus (where service is available at the appropriate time), bike, carpool, use employer-run vanpools, find someone to drive them, or yes, drive.

Bus and train drivers make a lot more money and are, in general, going to have an easier time with this problem than a lot of other shift workers in the community. The guy working the late shift at the convenience store or the baggage handler who has to be at the airport at some stupid time in the morning has to deal with this too, and they all make it work somehow (at least until they lose their job due to lack of reliable transportation, which happens entirely too often in this country).
posted by zachlipton at 7:19 PM on September 22, 2012

Metrobus runs 24/7. So this whole issue doesn't apply to bus drivers. The subway drivers (and other staff members) who don't have cars and don't live within walking distance of work can take the bus.
posted by John Cohen at 7:40 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Metrobusses run on a reduced schedule overnight, but they do run; only the subway stops entirely for several hours. Plus as everyone else says: walk, bike, drive, carpool....
posted by easily confused at 7:41 PM on September 22, 2012

I believe that in my city, at one time anyway, there were city buses that would drive around real early in the morning with the sole purpose of picking up transit workers and bringing them to work. Sort of a bus taxi, and the drivers who needed a ride simply had to let them know where and when.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:51 PM on September 22, 2012

A friend of mine drives a subway train in Toronto. As long as I've known him, he has complained about his shifts. He can never find one that works well for his life, and they need to compete with other drivers about every three/four months for their choice of schedule. Right now he's working from about 5 in the evening until the subway stops running at 2 in the morning, which screws up his sleep. He lives in a condo downtown and doesn't own a car. He sometime rides a bike to and from the train yard about 20 minutes from his place. He told me that in the winter when he starts in the morning he will rely on the night buses. Worst aspect of his job socially - besides never finding a shift that aren't splits or aren't on weekends or don't eat evenings - is that once people learn his job all they ever talk to him about is their experience of the TTC.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:21 PM on September 22, 2012

They likely drive, and likely live in cheaper parts of the city and metropolitan area. A lot of the MetroRail storage and maintenence facilities are at the end of the Line (Shady Grove, Greenbelt) - with the exception of the Brentwood one downtown - you can see it when you ridethe Red Line. A fair number of the bus garages are further out as well, but some are in the city themselves (14th and Decatur), etc.

A lot of your operators are likely to drive simply because the timetheir shift starts is pretty early, not to mention that they often might live in an area that's completely inaccessible via transit in a decent amount of time.
posted by waylaid at 12:25 PM on September 25, 2012

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