WMATA Not the Best Public Transit System?!

In a stunning upset, the Los Angles Metropolitan Transportation Authority beat out WMATA to be the best transit agency in North America, winning American Public Transportation Association’s 2006 Outstanding Public Transportation System Award!

I know what you are thinking: LA has a subway?! Or, there is a transit nonprofit association in DC?! Yes, to both. LA’s MTA won this year with an amazing mix of increased ridership – 16% over 2005, and yet a record low number of complaints.

LA’s Metro was so ecstatic they claim the award “is considered the Publitzer Prize of the transit industry.” Now I don’t know what a “Publitzer Prize” is, but if they meant “Pulitzer Prize” I am amazed they can link a national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical compositions to mass transit.

Even more amazingly, the “Over 30 million annual Ridership” category which MTA won has more than just NYC, DC, Chicago, and San Francisco. There are 50+ other public transport systems that size in the USA. Can you name any? Before you try, check out this map of North American rail systems. Cool, eh?

What’s even cooler is that WMATA won the Outstanding Public Transportation System Award in 1987 and 1997, which means we should win again in 2007. Until then, we can take solace in our new 6000 series Metrorail cars.

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