Today was the second day of passenger testing on the Red Line (and also the day we learned MetroRail will begin service: March 22). Riders rode the rails, tested the ticket vending machines, and generally evaluated the usability of the system. While yesterday was a day for Capital Metro employees and their families to test it out, today was mostly community volunteers. One group of volunteers has an inspiring story.
A group of eight high school and college students from across the nation (and one hailing from Toronto) spent the day on the train as part of a five-day Alternative Break Tour, sponsored by Calling All Crows in partnership with City Year and the band State Radio. The service tour began in Little Rock Arkansas, and will end tomorrow in New Orleans. At each stop along the way, the “Breakers,” as they informally referred to themselves, were volunteering with local organizations by day, and rocking out with State Radio at night.
So what did they think of the train? They loved it, down to the “new train smell.” Damon Cawley, the group’s tour guide/chaparon/riding companion from City Year, said he’s been on trains all over the U.S. and–I’m not even kidding–said our MetroRail trains were the nicest he’s ever been on.
Calling All Crows is a is a service organization that mobilizes musicians and fans to promote human rights. On their Web site you can experience the Alternative Break Tour through video and blog entries created by the students. It’s quite cool. You can hang out with the Breakers tonight, when State Radio plays at La Zona Rosa.