Metro identifies problem with emergency intercoms

Work is underway to fix a potentially dangerous malfunction onboard some Metro trains – faulty intercoms. Lives could be put at stake if passengers and the driver can’t communicate in an emergency.

Roy Hill is a street musician. You’ll catch him sometimes outside the Woodley Park Metro station. He says he heard about a fight Monday night where people tried to use one of the train’s intercoms to call for help, but it didn’t work.

“That can be very dangerous and I’ve been in that situation where I’ve needed to use the intercom and you know that’s not a good thing,” Hill says.

Metro officials say Monday's situation was a result of a faulty system. Because of customer reports, engineers have been looking at the problem for months.

“This problem exists only when 6000-series cars are in the lead and you have either 1000 or 4000-series on the back of the train,” says Dan Stessel of WMATA.

Stessel says the general manager of WMATA was first told of the problem and the solution Tuesday. The general manager then immediately ordered several things be done.

Overnight, cars were re-aligned so the problem will stop temporarily while they order replacement parts. No time table has been set for the 4000-series cars. They hope to have the 6000-series cars fixed in a month and a half.

Throughout the day Wednesday, safety officers were out at different stations testing different cars to see which work and which don’t.

Shan Goodwyn brought his children, nieces and nephews to the zoo. He’s not too concerned about the problem, but definitely thinks it should be fixed.

“If it’s an emergency, we need people to be available right then and there, especially if you have all these young ones around,” he says.