- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Metro transit system formally introduced its new general manager yesterday, the same day an early morning power failure disrupted subway service on the Red Line for more than an hour.

John B. Catoe Jr., 59, who took the subway to Metro’s headquarters downtown, said his ride went smoothly, but acknowledged that it was a challenging commute for many customers.

The power outage halted rail service between the Van Ness and Farragut North stations in Northwest shortly after 6 a.m., stranding about 75 passengers on one northbound train between Woodley Park and Dupont Circle.

Passengers sat on the train for more than an hour until Metro workers were able to board the train and escort them off the tracks, spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

Power was restored about 7:30 a.m., but there were lingering delays caused by a backlog of trains and large crowds on platforms at the affected rail stations.

The power outage occurred just hours before Metro welcomed Mr. Catoe, who has been the deputy chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority since 2001. He will take over Metro’s top post in January, and signaled yesterday that customer service would be a priority.

“To our customers, which we are all here to serve, I commit that every day we will we focus on services to you,” he said.

Mr. Catoe, a native of the District, also pledged to improve Metrobus, saying that he would work to ensure that routes take people to where they want to go, and that the quality of service is equal to that on the popular subway lines.

Mr. Catoe will become the eighth permanent general manager in Metro’s history and will oversee the agency’s nearly 10,000 employees. He has agreed to a three-year deal in which he will earn $300,000 a year and receive a $60,000 living allowance, Metro officials said.


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