Metro responds to photos of employees sleeping on the job

The station manager at the Columbia Heights Metro station was fast asleep early Saturday morning. (Photo: Collin Kettell)

Two Metro station managers appear to be caught sleeping on the job in photographs posted online. Metro says it has identified the employees, but both are still on the job.

The watchdog website Unsuck D.C. Metro posted two pictures of station managers sleeping, both sent in by readers. The same site posted photos of texting train operators and bus drivers in the past.

"I think it's unacceptable,” said Metro rider Dominique Johnson. “Anything can happen." She claims she sees this all the time. "I just never thought to take a picture,” she says.

On Thursday, Metro rider Collin Kettell told ABC7 that he took the photos of the snoozing station manager at the Columbia Heights station just after midnight on Saturday morning. He said the employee was "sound asleep" for at least three minutes - approximately the time it took him to walk past the kiosk and take the photos.

"If I sleep on my job I get fired, so why is this guy allowed to sleep on the job when the taxpayers are paying his bill,” Kettell asked.

A second photo, according to its sender, was taken of the station manager in Ballston of few days earlier. In both, the employees are stretched back, appearing to be oblivious to their security monitors.

"All of people can jump the gate and what if there was an emergency,” wonders Metro rider Shana Front.

Metro released a statement Wednesday night saying, "Sleeping on duty is absolutely unacceptable. We've requested further detail from the photographers so we can pursue the matter."

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says that there has been no action taken against the sleeping managers caught in these photos, but that the employees have been identified and that the agency is pursuing the matter.

According to Metro, the rulebook prohibits employees from "sitting in a reclined position with their eyes closed to avoid the appearance of sleeping."

WMATA says that Kettell has been asked to testify at a hearing if necessary. He says that he doesn't want to get the employee in trouble, but that if taxpayer money is being used to pay salaries to Metro workers, they shouldn't be sleeping on the job.

"If I got caught sleeping at my job, I'd be fired,” said rider Byron Tedesco.

"I think it's very irresponsible,” said rider Doaa Ouzri. “Actually it's happened to me on time before where I had to knock on the window to get my smart trip card because it wasn't working."

Meanwhile, people are complaining about Metro employees parking for free at Kiss-and-Ride lots.