tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 8, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EST
and we know the additional aerostat in texas is very helpful and if there are other locations, including those within texas, within which the fixed tower would make a difference, then i would like to move forward with that. i couldn't be more specific but i'm happy to get back to you on that. >> it's not -- it wouldn't be the first time that we've looked around and seen resources going to arizona that we really needed in texas. so i think i'm required to ask that question. >> i got the message. >> okay. >> we understand that the department is exploring an outcome-based approach to metrics that would measure the effectiveness or of our border security. how is cpb working with the secretary on this initiative and how will it change the current cpb metrics which are more input-based instead of outcome-based. what does the preliminary data suggest for border security between and at points of entries?
at the national president club, he spoke abo he spoke about improving service and safety for passengers. this is just under an hour. >> a fatality during a spoke related incident, derailment, a drop in ridership and other worrisome event might be what keeps our guest, mr. wiedefeld up at night. work with vendors to develop a smart phone app surely make the days more exciting for the new general manager and ceo of the washington metro pol. he was the ceo of baltimore washington airport. he is credited with leading growth as the busiest passenger airport of the three airports in the metro washington region. now his attention is on the
country's busiest subway system and a bus system. 40 years after the first metro railcar ferries residents to work and to sites, today's riders experience unpredictable time and must budget more time to reach their destination. on-time performance which measures how evenly spaced the trains are is below target particularly since the opening of the silver line. track work, outside of rush hour hobbles the system. maintenance systems including broken elevators and escalators creates stress for passengers, especially those on crutches or in wheelchairs. mr. wiedefeld rides the metro to work and has witnessed the frustration and extra time added when the escalator isn't working or the annoyance when the announcements are garbled. in addition to safety and maintenance issues, he will usher through -- usher metro
through a krcritical period. contract negotiations are scheduled this summer. please welcome washington area metro transit agency general manager and ceo paul wiedefeld. [ applause ] thank you for joining u ining u. you have been in office three months. there are issues facing the nation's second busiest transportation system. how are you going to tackle and actually solve the problems facing metro? >> that's all? >> that's it. >> very good. >> easy question. >> if i could before starting there, i did want to introduce my board members that are here. they are so important. michael goldman, mort downy.
and i would like to introduce the first person i met at metro, my station manager, miss odo m.. my first day on the job, i got to meet her. she's a good worker. rephrase the question. >> i'm wondering your observations and your plan. you have been in office three months. there's a lot of problems that faces metro. the things i started talking about, broken escalators and elevators. funding issues and problems with incidents that have led to deaths in the past on metro. how are you going to tackle them and solve them? >> first thing i did on coming on board in november -- november 30th is i spent the whole month of december basically reaching out to stakeholders to understand the issues better. meaning stakeholders everything from my line employees all the way up to leaders of the business, elected officials and the riders to give me a feel for that.
at the same time, we started in december and in january in particular we had a number of outside consultants come in to help us get arms around some of these issues. and then my own assessment based on my experiences in different positions. and i really got a good flavor during the blizzard when i got a good sense of operationally some of the things we were dealing with. my priorities have been around safety, social liability and fiscal management in order. just today, we started to roll out some of the specific initiatives we're doing on those three areas. i will get into them further. but it starts with me and getting the entire organization to understand those priorities. to start to organize, to deal with these issues in an efficient way. and to get particularly the line people, the operators, the station managers, the mechanics to understand what we're up
against and get their support and to work from that end up with our supervisors and superintendents. because that's a lot of where the issues get determined, particularly from a customer's perspective. focusing on that at the same time i'm focusing on the overall management level, the team as well. that's how we are starting the process. i can get into specifics as i'm sure you have other questions about specific issues. >> let's address the first one that comes to mind. you had an op ed laying some of the stuff out. riders have seen people come before with promises. the promises sometimes take years or never get done. how is this going to happen? how fast is this going to happen? >> you know, my approach is, again, starting really nuts and bolts and not so much some of the larger things that we tried to frame in the past. to me when i look at particularly the service liability for instance, you know, it's fairly simple. it's the cars. it's the vehicles.
and then obviously midway and a.m. and p.m. it's the track and it's the operations. the operators, station managers. we have set up three teams with champions on each one of those. we meet weekly on what they're doing, what the plan is and what we are doing to achieve it. what i found in each one of the categories to be frank, it's probably -- it's much worse than i expected and maybe even publically we have been talking about. so we have to clearly go right at those issues. we have issues, for instance, in the cars -- a lot of the debate and the discussion over time has been about parts. that's only one part of it. it's everything from how we move the cars in the yard. it's everything from how we're efficiently programming work, using our employees most efficiently. i have a whole team just working on that issue. on the track issue, same thing. when you look at our truck issue and the work that we have been doing, you know, when you start to peel it away, we have 30 very
sharp curves in the system. so that's got to be our first priority. that leads to a lot of our issues. it's not only just fixing what we see but it's thinking much more holistically about what we do. so for instance, on the track work, we have a lot of fasteners we have to replace. they are aged and broken and whatever they are doing. what i found -- i went out with my head engineer and ceo on the rail side. when i went out there and looked in the tunnel and met some of the workers that were doing the work, you know, what's the root cause? why are these things breaking down? moisture. it's the wear and tear. there's a drainage system not working. so it's not just go out and fix the fastener. no. let's come at this together at one time. we have a lot of equipment left over that was left sitting there. we actually sell a lot of our parts, leftover steel and stuff. it's sitting there. to me, it's money sitting there. we have to get that out of there
quickly. when we have a contractor following up behind us. eventually, a contractor does take it. yet we moved it two or three times. it doesn't make sense. the way i'm getting at these things is again not coming out with a five-year plan. we have those things in place. it's really again the nuts and bolts of where we can start to make changes that will impact the customer, you know, in the immediate term. longer term -- >> i was going to follow up. you said something, which is rare to hear somebody in charge saying something like that. you are telling us that the problems are actually worse than we may think they are. >> in terms of the way they have been presented and the way they've been framed, i think maybe it's just the way that i look at them. how i would plan to solve -- how i plan to solve them, it's probably different than they have been planned before. from that perspective they are not -- from my estimation, they haven't been framed correctly in the public dialogue with the
board. so that's what i intend to do. >> the hard truth. the idea you need to know what they are before you can fix them and try to cover. >> right. >> i interrupted you. the mentioned the five-year plan, $5 billion plan. it seems riders have raeheard at this. they never see. they don't have that, what has happened. how are you going to show riders that there are improvements coming and make sure they notice them? >> again, i think that's an area where we haven't done a good job in framing that out. to be frank, i have asked for that exact thing. where are we on basically where we have to catch up with work that was -- that we had put off over time. and then where are we then on what we call state of good repairs. once you get it to a certain stage, how do you maintain it? so i'm going to come out with basically what that is. where we are. here is what we said we were going to do.
here is where we are. that's where i'm starting from. we have a backlog of work. what is it? then once we get through that backlog, what's the plan going forward? we have to be very clear to people what that is. and then we have to think strategically about how we address it. so i get into thinking about -- we have an effort under way to do that. let's define it for people so they can understand it. but more importantly, let's think strategically how we address it. in my estimation, we have tried to make everyone happy. we have made everyone not happy. with some of the approaches we have taken. i think when you look at other systems around the country, you have to make hard decisions. but i think there is a discussion that needs to be had is what can we get, how much quicker can we get it if we have a little bit of pain here? do we get things quicker? one thing i hear constantly is i won't use the weekend service because it's so inconsistent.:!ç maybe it's time to look at how we're doing the weekend service. is there other things we can do? same with some of the midday.
we do midday work. we come upon a problem. it rolls into the peak period. i'm doing a total assessment of what we're doing, how we're doing that. that will be part of that going forward strategy. so it's not just something that there's a five-year plan out there. but it's specifically talking about this is what i need to do to get us back up to this state and at that point here is what you will see going forward. >> this is going to be trackable for the public? we will see -- in two months we will have this done, one year, we can judge you? >> yes. we started on our website today a customer report accounting system, basically. i have laid out almost 50 items that we're starting to work on that -- some of these we have been -- since i've been on board, some before i got on board. but a lot of them that we're just start doing now. so that's going to be something that we -- some of the things will be updated weekly, monthly at a minimum. things will come and go. i only want to put things on there that i'm comfortable saying, yes, i know what we're
doing and this is the schedule we're going to do it on. then let's judge ourselves against that. there will be issues with schedules. i get that. but i think it's important for us to be both transpoiarent and turn up the accountability. >> you mentioned fiscal management. there's only a finite amount of money that you have. when you are trying to fix things, where does that come out? if you are talking about you want to maybe improve the 20 minutes to wait on a sunday for a train, that has to come out of somewhere else. how do you find that money? >> in the first foremost is safety. i mean, that's the first priority. so we have to do that. we have to bring -- to get at some of the core issues, we have to bring just the basics up. so that's going to be the next priority. and then we go out from there. anything that we touch, you know, it gets very expensive very quickly, particularly if we're in the -- i'm speaking rail. there's another side of the equation with bus and metro access. on the rail side, just given the physical limitations of a
two-track system, any time we touch it, it gets expensive in terms of just getting out there, the ability to get out there and then the challenges we face with a 40-year-old system that in some cases was not -- it was not kept up. >> interesting. the plan talked about safety. there's a couple issues there. one is obviously the safety when you are on the train from no derailment or things like that. we're also raising concerns about stabbings or shootings or rapes that have happened, sexual harassment that have happened on the metro. what's the plan there? are you going to boost the number of officers on the trains? >> the personal security, personal safety issue. you know, knew marit's a very s system. if you look in most communities, it's a safe number. that means nothing to the person
or to the community when they see one of these tragic events or drastic events that occurs. so what we have done, i worked with the chief of police. basically, we have gone back and stepped back. what is it that question do differently than what we have done in the past? one of the first things i noticed with the security is it tends to be almost invisible at times because of the uniforms. they blend into the crowd. we have an event where anything that occurs, it's hard to see who is in charge. that's one of the things for instance that minor thing we are doing. we are getting more people. we have a class that comes out in april. another comes out in september for more people. we have realigned our resources to basically free up some things that our uniform police officers were doing to put them out into the field. i've made very clear to the chief that i want these officers on the platforms, popping in the cars, popping out. again, it's as much giving people the sense and the reassurance that it's under
control. the same way for our bus operators, same issue. we have issues, serious safety issues with some of our bus routes at different times of the day. we created a night watch program in effect where we are having our officers come up to buses, stop, greet the operator, make sure everything is all right. we're doing that with our central control system where we're touching in with the bus operators. because again, it's not just rail but clearly rail is one of the biggest ones for us. but even when we do all that, it's a much larger issue as we all know. community issue. one of the things that we have reached out to is the schools. we want to go out and meet particularly with the students. we're going to bring not only the police but bring some of the operators and station managers like that so that we can make the connection with these students that it's just not -- it's not a power issue. these are -- this is your
mother. this is your grandmother. this is your uncle, so they can relate to try to take that in. so that's one of the things we want to do or we started actually to do that. we have also worked very closely with the district. we have some of their personnel dealing with us on a day to day in our operation center. we have direct communication. we do intel every day. with the police and with the school system. if there's anything going on on social media that we can all watch. we have an excellent closed circuit television program on our rail and the stations. the reality is if you do something in the station or platform or at our bus stops, we will see it. we have been -- any of these things, we've been catching the people. we have been getting them. we want to prevent it. >> on that note, we're in a city with a lot of visible security. staying on this theme here.
a soft target, with no visible security, often times you walk into a metro station and there's one employee, there's one person there. i have riding metro for 11 years. i can tell count on one hand how many times i have seen officers in the tunnel. what is your plan to change that? >> it's to get more people out there and police differently. have them proactively going down. a lot of times again, being new, what i would see is police officers around the station kiosk. i want them on the platforms, popping into trains. that's a different policing strategy. so that's where i think it is. it's getting physically getting the police officers into the system, deeper into the system. >> got you. back to fiscal management for a second. you had a memo recently that talked about no more travel and purchasing paper clips were on your target list. i don't guessing that paper clip purchases are not going to solve the budget crisis.
what is this an effort to do? >> it's a checkbook effort. it's like you have with your personal checkbook. if you know that you spent -- you i'allocated $500 for food a travel and you burn it quicker than you thought, you have to bring it back. that's all it is. it's a normal budgeting process that we have to manage the operating budget very tightly. we monitor it constantly. at this point, we just want to say, with the blizzard particularly, with the expenses that we incurred there, we have to make sure we're ratcheting it back and thinking about all expenditures. >> let's talk about the blizzard for a second. the very bold choice to shut down the system for two, three days there. can you give us more rational of why you shut down the system when underground, for example, it wasn't snowing? >> sure. it gets to the larger issue of if we are serious about safety, then we have to start making decisions based on safety. across the entire agency, every
employee i have met, they basically said that's the first time we have done this because someone understood the safety concerns that they had as operators and people. so that was -- part of it is just recognition that we cannot ignore the safety implications of a storm like that. if you recall, when we were preparing for that storm, our big concern was not only the snow and trapping vehicles in the snow and in the yards, but the winds. they were calling for 40 mile an hour winds. we have a very -- very limited backup power. if that power goes out, then we are basically -- we have people marooned in locations if we kept just the underground open. the other part we wanted to do, which i think was the first time we had done it, we harbored the vehicles in the tunnels. that let us get back up and service quicker. if you go back and look at some of the history of some of the snowstorms here, we had large
mechanical issues after trying to go through snow because of the age of the equipment and where the snow gets under the cars and would create other issues for us. we didn't have a that this time. so we had that figured out. anyway, it was something that i think was the right thing to do from a safety standpoint for our employees and for the customers. the worst thing we could have done is have people out there to get them to think they could travel in a storm like that as we knew it at the time and, b, have to go and rescue them. then we're pulling resources away from basically getting the system up and running. that was the decision. i think it was the right decision to make. >> going -- staying with the safety issue, there are a lot of times you can get into metro system and see a very crowded platform. when you are at the games, the gallery or something like that, but also there are issues when it comes to