EXCLUSIVE: Metro employees and union claim new train operators not properly trained

Veteran Metro employees and their union are speaking out by making startling allegations about the lack of safety on trains because of training.

"I believe with training, they have problems and issues," said Dion Baker, an experienced train operator who has been with Metro for ten years.

"They don't feel they're getting the proper training they need to go out there and handle the trains," said Marlene Flemmings-McCann, an assistant business agent with the union representing train operators.

The union, Local 689, claims the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), better known as Metro, doesn't have qualified training instructors.

"Because training has brought a lot of people from the outside who have never operated a train before," said Flemmings-McCann.

Veteran operators say in the past, the training department had more staffing and was better overall.

"It was more rigid, more structured," said Baker.

The issues are scary enough to make some people never want to set foot on the Metro again.

"You should feel that way," said Flemmings-McCann, who also takes calls from concerned Metro employees.

"We as operators, we're the front lines, we're the eyes and ears, and when they don't listen to us, do they really care about the public?" asked Sherard Brown, another concerned operator who has been with Metro for a decade.

FOX 5 received the following statement from Metro in response to the union's allegations:

"Our training programs are continually reviewed and modified to ensure that employees have the skills they need to provide safe and reliable service. The fact is, over the past year, train operator training has been extended, and all train operators receive at least 18 weeks of training followed by 30 hours of on-job training behind the controls with an experienced operator. The process concludes with a final practical exam and written test. We believe that our current training programs ensure that employees are well prepared to succeed, but we stand ready to listen to any feedback the union may have in this regard."

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EXCLUSIVE: Metro train operator speaks out to FOX 5 about ongoing safety issues