Metro’s riders are fed up with fare hikes and shit service. Metro employees are fed up with low wages and growing discrimination, especially a new policy of retroactive enforcement of a “no conviction record” policy. On the 6th of February, Jobs with Justice and other labor advocates protested in front of Metro’s headquarters.
After the rally, many of the activists went inside to testify against fare hikes and “criminal background checks” of employees. Metro recently switched to a blanket ban on ANY criminal convictions with no regard for relevance to any particular job. The retroactive use of this policy to fire employees was called illegal under NLRB rules at the protest.
As an alternative to fare hikes, protesters were demanding that large employers like the Verizon Center that benefit from Metro be taxed. Metro adds a lot of value to high-end commercial real estate, yet huge corporations pay nothing for this extra value.
Finally, the recent boom in Capitol Bikeshare has largely been at the expense of Metro, not at the expense of automobile use. That implies that Metro’s sky-high fares and service reductions have caused people to seek a way out, thus a rise in bicycle use nearly mirroring a decline in transit use. When people hear that their late-night train service or their bus ride is being considered for elimination, they decide that transit is no longer politically reliable.