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D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray had one idea for breaking the decided homogeneity in Metro’s workforce: Hire more D.C. residents. Indeed, the good-old-boys network that comprises Metro’s 10,000 field workers is dominated by men from Prince George’s County, with only 14 percent of Metro workers living in the city. Including executives, 15 percent live in Virginia.

“There’s a story behind that,” Mr. Downs said. “At one point, 70 percent lived in the District. A bus driver can make $70,000 and that’s middle class, and like a lot of middle-class people they want to move to the suburbs. The same people are still working for Metro, they just moved to Prince George’s.”