NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Metrorail station garages were “unsafe and filthy” over an extended period of time, according to an audit conducted by the Office of the Inspector General for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Findings included human feces, bottles of urine, used condoms, and significant amounts of trash that often remained in place for days, weeks, or even months.
“It’s quite disgusting,” Metro rider Kim Harris said outside of the New Carrollton Station parking garage Monday.
Investigators said the root cause of the problem was a lack of oversight by WMATA and contractor officials, pointing out that contracted cleaning personnel were not performing their garage cleaning duties 84 percent of the time and that some contract employees were not working their full eight-hour shift. Overall, WMATA spent more than $2.2 million for cleaning services that weren’t performed over a two-year period, according to the audit.
WMATA responded to the report Monday evening, with a spokesperson noting that officials took immediate action to correct conditions at parking facilities when notified of the issues.
“All stairwells and landings have been pressure washed, and all garage decks will be pressure washed by the end of April, weather permitting. Metro is working to have a cleaning schedule posted at every garage by March 1,” Metro Media Relations Manager Sherri Ly said in a statement.
“Additionally, Metro has begun the process of phasing our contractors and hiring custodial workers in-house to better manage and oversee the cleaning of parking facilities. During this transition, Metro has improved oversight of the current custodial contractors to ensure performance is monitored and enforced.”
Asked whether officials would attempt to recoup the $2.2 million, Ly said Metro is reviewing the audit’s findings and will pursue “any and all available remedies.”
Inspector General Geoffrey Cherrington said “the audit speaks for itself” when reached for comment by phone, adding, “this is part of OIG’s continued effort to help Metro be safe, efficient, and effective.”
The full audit report is expected to be presented at a WMATA committee meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.