“It’s fifty degrees outside so why is the air conditioning on?” is a question we who monitor Metro’s social media see pretty frequently during the cooler months — and sometimes even in the middle of summer on those few particularly cool evenings. It’s a valid question. When the weather outside is less than balmy, why do we still need to blast the A/C on our buses and trains?
The main reason is because buses and trains are enclosed spaces, so the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system has to be kept on to ensure proper air circulation for everyone on board. Even when it’s chilly out, it can quickly get stuffy and warm inside a bus or train, especially if it’s crowded with many heat-generating bodies breathing at the same time.
The second reason for keeping the air conditioning on is that it keeps surroundings dry. Warm, humid interiors tend to promote bacteria growth and help generate stronger odors. Having the A/C on prevents moisture build up on board and combats the various germs and smells that are part and parcel of highly trafficked spaces.
The temperature for passenger areas is pre-set at Metro’s different bus/rail divisions and is generally set to accommodate average ridership. This means it should feel comfortable when the bus or train is approximately half full. The car temperature is also continuously monitored and regulated based on the actual temperature inside the vehicles. However, during transit as people hop on and off, it will feel much colder when there are less people on board.
What to do if the temperature is absolutely unbearable? You have the option of notifying the bus or train operator. They can adjust the temperature within a narrow pre-set range, or turn off climate control system completely if the situation warrants it. However, keep in mind that what’s hot or cold for you may be different from what someone else is reporting.
I promise no one at Metro is purposefully trying to make your ride uncomfortable. We’re just doing our best to provide comfort to as many people as we can while maintaining the most optimal environment on board.