Skip to comments.Keeping Score - How many Metro crashes? Depends who's counting.
Posted on 08/12/2005 8:45:35 PM PDT by weegee
Undaunted by bad publicity, Metro light-rail trains continue to barge recklessly into cars and pedestrians. Equally undaunted, some cars and pedestrians continue to barge into the trains. But just how many collisions have occurred? There is some dispute.
Metro's count, as of August 4, is 99. In its world, Houston is waiting breathlessly for that historic 100th crash. For a lot of Metro-crash aficionados, though, that momentous entry into triple digits is old news.
John Gaver, an IT guy who runs the conservative Webzine Action America, has kept an exacting eye on the number of Metro incidents, and he has the count at 105. No. 100, a noninjury incident at Greenbriar and OST, occurred July 19.
Why the discrepancy? Gaver says everything on his list is backed up by a media story or a Metro summary report. He started the list as a joke, when there had been just a few crashes, showing a clicker that counted along the number of incidents. For grins, he put room for three digits on the clicker.
"I'm totally flabbergasted it's gotten to the point where we're using that third digit and the public is not up in arms about it," he says.
Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton says his agency's count of 99 includes only incidents where police have been called out, which would include any collision between a train and either a car or a pedestrian. Gaver's count includes "minor derailments in rail yards," Connaughton says, which affect nobody but must be reported to federal authorities. Those incidents then end up on the Metro summary reports Gaver uses.
Is it a big deal? For some people, yes. Gaver says his Metro-crash site got 50,000 hits in July as the magic 100 approached.
Why? Betting pools. "I had people calling to say they were in pools that had grown over $1,000, picking the day of the 100th crash," Gaver says. Some pools got so busy as the total hit the upper 90s that organizers made participants pick the morning or the afternoon of the given day.
So, with Metro's count still at 99, how big is the pool getting at Metro's offices?
"We don't have a pool," Connaughton says firmly. "Although I hear other offices in the city do."
Could you or someone else PING interested parties?
Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton says his agency's count of 99 includes only incidents where police have been called out...
The Houston Comical stopped counting even BEFORE that.
And for completeness, a link to the ActionAmerica site.