There was much to be happy about today and I will blog about that in a bit, but I do need to point out something:
Whoever was in charge of the logistics of this day from the Metro and other public transport to safely getting ticketed people into the designated areas IS MADE OF FAIL. I have rarely been so frustrated and annoyed and I have rarely seen a clusterfuck bigger than the one I witnessed today.
Starting with transportation: as I said, we got our tickets yesterday, so we didn’t have to wait in a long line at the start. However, our train took 3 times as long to get into town because there were so many people trying to get on and the cars were full by the fourth stop away from the terminus. As people tried to cram themselves in, they held up trains in front of us, our train, and the trains behind. Though the city claimed to have been ready for the estimated 2 million people showing up for this thing, they were clearly not.
They had to shut down certain stations because too many people were crowding the platforms, then open them as they cleared the folks out. We had to go one stop further than the suggested stop because of one of these closings, and thus had to come to our gate in a roundabout way. I don’t think it would have helped had we come from the intended stop, because for some reason the Blue Gate line was completely useless.
Each ticket had a color, designating your section. Every section had an entry point for security checks and then the actual gate. We passed the Orange line, which had a clearly marked entrance and path. The Blue had no such thing. We kept going to different parts of an ever changing line, no one was ever sure it was the right line, there were no cops, security, line coordinators, or anything to help. Let me repeat: there was no one managing our line, and it was already breaking down into chaos by the time we arrived.
The inauguration ceremony began at 10, the swearing in at 12. They opened the gates at 8 or 9 and closed then at 11:30, officially. What genius thought that they could facilitate getting a quarter of a million people sorted, through security, and into the standing area in 2.5 – 3.5 hours? I don’t know what the other lines were line, but with the Blue line, there was very little movement and, in the end, we didn’t get in and no one told us why. Looking at the footage on television, I have to wonder if they gave out too many tickets and there just wasn’t any more room.
Still, there was so much that could have been done better, including opening the gates at 5am. It may have still resulted in the area filling up completely before everyone got in, but there would have been time to redirect people elsewhere. The lines should have been tightly controlled, because thousands of confused people all together is never, ever a good thing. All traffic through the area where lines crossed streets should have been halted – yes, SUVs broke the line more than once. When the inauguration ended, there should have been controlled egress to the Metro stations instead of letting people mob the entrances, having no other choice.
I want to smack every person involved in coordinating this, because they obviously failed to consider so much and completely fucked my day. However, there were some bright spots – I’ll blog about them later. For now, I sleep… and then get on a bus.