WASHINGTON - FOX 5 viewers are frustrated--and furious--over the state of DC's Metro system. Frankly, we are too, and we know you deserve answers. We want our viewers to know that we have invited Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld to appear on FOX 5 News for the last several weeks, and we've been saving a seat for him.
We want to give him the chance to explain to you, the riders, what's being done to address the safety problems, and what repairs are planned that could impact riders in the coming weeks and months. We also want to ask him questions from you--our FOX 5 viewers--who are demanding immediate action and accountability.
To us, this is serious business. The Metro general manager's salary is paid with your tax dollars--and there's crisis unfolding. You deserve answers.
We again invited Wiedefeld to join us on FOX 5 Thursday morning, and we received the following response from his spokesperson:
"We're aware of your request. He is available for your reporters to ask questions to address the concerns of your viewers tomorrow at 11. Because he often has early morning meetings, the in-studio or talkbacks during the morning show are a bit tougher to schedule."
The meeting being referred to in the response we received is the Metro board meeting, which is being held Thursday. On FOX 5 Thursday morning, anchors Holly Morris and Steve Chenevey had a message for Wiedefeld.
"If you're the leader of a transit system that on a daily basis has multiple safety issues, you make time to come on one of the most watched morning shows in the District to discuss the problems, and what it's going to take to fix the problems. That's what public leaders do in big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Chicago," Chenevey said.
"You talk with the people before they get on the trains, before work or school," Morris added. "FOX 5 is the perfect forum to reach riders in Virginia, Maryland and the District--all at once."
Wiedefeld's style, Chenevey said, is something many people like--FOX 5 included. After all, he thought the safety of Metro riders was so important he opted to shut down the entire system for a day in March for inspections. It's been a month and a half now, and insulators are still arching, elevators are still getting stuck, escalators are broken, and crime continues to impact riders. As a result of all of these things, more communication is needed from the top.
"Mr. Wiedefeld: Talk to the riders, talk to the tax payers--you can come later today, tomorrow, next week. This seat will be yours, and we will have a frank discussion about Metro safety and what needs to be done to fix it," Morris said.
In response to a tweet we sent Thursday morning, WMATA responded:
UPDATE: FOX 5 reporter Tom Fitzgerald attended the WMATA meeting on Thursday morning, and he asked Wiedefeld in person if he is willing to come into the studio and appear on FOX 5's morning show. Wiedefeld indicated he would be willing to sit down for an interview with FOX 5 when he releases his report on the outcome of the March Metro shutdown, which may be in the next couple of weeks.
Here are some comments from our FOX 5 viewers via Twitter: