Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are Metro Employees Abusing Kiss & Ride Parking?

From Red Line rider "Mike":
Metro employees park in the "Kiss & Ride" spots at the Takoma station on a daily basis, and not just for a few moments. Often, they stay parked there all day.
About two weeks ago, my wife picked me up, and every one of the Kiss & Ride spots was taken up by an employee. She had to wait at a metered spot.
One of the Metro employees happened to be leaving, and was putting equipment in his car. So I figured I'd ask. Here's a paraphrasing of our conversation:

Me: Hey, I have a question for you. Why do you guys always park in the Kiss & Ride spots when there are a lot of empty parking spots all over the lot?
Him: Well, we use our pass to park here.
Me: Can't you park anywhere in the lot with those? Why take a Kiss & Ride spot?
Him: Sometimes we come for an emergency, and we have to be fast.
Me: OK, so why not park in another empty spot?
Him: Sometimes the rest of the lot is full, and the only spots are Kiss & Ride.
Me: (looking around) Not today. Look how many spots there are.
Him: Yeah, I guess you're right. We shouldn't do it.
Me: Yeah, probably not. But you guys always do.picture of a pumpkin
Him: I'll try to stop it myself.

I saw the same guy getting into his vehicle last week. Guess where he left from. Yep, you got it, a Kiss & Ride spot.

We contacted Metro, and this is what they had to say:

Employees have to park legally and follow the law. A staff notice was issued last year to all employees reminding them of this.
And yes, we do issue tickets everyday to vehicles that are parked illegally, including those owned by Metro employees. This also includes WMATA work vehicles.
If customers observe this activity and wish to report it, they can call Metro’s Transit Police at 202-962-2121.

"Mike's" response:
Whoever told you to call the transit cops to report these guys abusing the Kiss & Ride spots is full of crap. I've seen cops drive by the cars parked in the spaces, stop to look inside the car, and keep going. It was pretty apparent to me that they were going to write a ticket until they saw the car had an employee pass on the dash or hanging from the rear view.

More bad behavior:
Ogling on the job
Napping on the job?
Eating in the system
Not giving a sh*t

Other news:
Purple Line price goes higher (WaPo)
Falls Church to WMATA: No thanks. (Falls Church News Press)
Track maintenance this weekend (WMATA)
Kiosks could grace several Metro stations (WMATA)
More on kiosks from GGW
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Anonymous said...

Next time don't conceal their plates. Put them out there for all to see who the culprits are. Not to mention once they see their plates it will dawn on them, that people are aware. If you start seeing the same plate multiple times at multiple Kiss & Rides then know the driver is an abusive employee and WMATA is only talking the talk not walking the walk. At a time when the system is losing funds, WMATA needs to be by the book.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have insight into why the "reserved" parking spots in the lots at Shady Grove are never, ever filled up? Is parking there enforced before 10am? Who can we pester about reclassifying some of those spots to general parking? Seriously; what a waste.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

@anon Not looking to get a few folks in trouble. Would rather have Metro enforce their own rules.

Anonymous said...

I'm the "Mike" referenced above. When my wife dropped me off this morning, there was a big Ford van parked in a Kiss N Ride spot. It had a Metro employee vest on the dashboard.

When my wife picked me up at around 4:45 or so, the same van was still parked there.

So I decided to Metro’s Transit Police at 202-962-2121 from my cell. The dispatcher obviously couldn't have cared less. She gave me a different number to call, which I did, and I ended up getting a voice mail box for Metro transit police training.

I called her back, and she told me to "hold on, I'll transfer you to the right place." After about 20 rings, the line went dead.

So I called a third time, and this time she said "what kind of car is it?" I said "a big Ford van. Hold on a second while I get the license plate number." She said "I don't need the license plate" and I asked "well, how are you going to write the employee up."

She said "I'll make sure it's taken care of."

Again, it was obvious that she was not going to do anything and that she thought I was crazy for calling to complain about parking.

monkeyrotica said...

HA! This happens all the time at EVERY Metro Station. I used to see this happening at New Carrolton Station in the 1980s and Shady Grove in the 1990s.

Rob said...

I see this at Braddock Road Station all the time. There are usually 2-3 employee vests on the dash of cars there. It gets really annoying to be honest, especially considering how few spots there are at Braddock.

Rob said...

This happens all the time at Braddock Road Station. It's pretty bad when a station like Braddock that has all of 12-15 spots and 2-3 of them are taken up by "vests"! I've called and complained numerous times and have had the same problem as Mike, nobody seems to care.

ridethewomble said...

Puleeze. Go to East Falls Church at ANY time. Look at the half dozen or so "15 minute attended waiting only" spots. They'll be full of vehicles with Metro vests, stickers, or placards.

Don't be hypocrites about this, Metro. If you're going to scoff at your own rules, have the guts to look us in the eye, and say, "Yeah - we park there, and there's nothing you can do about it." Anything less marks you as mediocrity-embracing cowards who can't own up to their actions.

ridethewomble said...

Whoops. My previous post would make more sense if I had written what I was thinking, which was, "the half dozen or so "15 minutes waiting only" spots closest to the station entrance.

Anonymous said...

Today @ Takoma station. A single car with a Metro vest on the dashboard parked in the closest to the station KissNRide. DC plate number CU 0930

I called the transit police number listed above to report him, and I will call Metro customer service when they open at 8. I'll also send an email when I get into the office.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. Transit cops are toy cops. I have never, ever seen one doing anything useful. Their main job seems to be protecting transit employees (including themselves) from those oh-so-annoying fare-paying customers.

Anonymous said...

I have a Metro employee parking pass and park at the very front of the Kiss and Ride lot every day, in the sports marked "M". It's awesome.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding, that, as in the photo you posted with the orange-outs of the license plates, MTPD and Station Managers can park with a pass in the spots marked with a "V" regardless if the marked spots are in Kiss & Ride or not. Is anyone able to verify this?

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Metro directly complaining about this very issue at the Brookland station about the same time as this post and received a message from a Sergeant assuring me that the issue was very important to him. He promised to personally give the issue "special attention." Apparently "special attention" is Metro Tranist Police parlance for "total ambivalence" because nothing changed what so ever. Friday afternoon the Metro employees had taken up so many spots at Brookland that one employee had to resort to leaving his Lexus in a handicapped space. Stay classy Metro.

It says a lot about a system that its own employees won't rely on it to get to work.

Anonymous said...

I use the Takoma station and have noticed this pretty much every day. Not only that, but is it just me, or are the parking signs in that lot completely indecipherable?

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I've stared at those parking signs for years now and I still have no idea what the heck they say!

Unknown said...

They're back.

Posted pictures on Twitter, and sent this message to Metro customer service:

Metro employees have decided to start parking in Kiss&Ride reserved spots again. See the following pictures for proof:

Why does Metro allow this abuse of the rules by employees to occur over and over and over again? Why can this not be fixed?

It's really no wonder people have such a poor view of Metro's service.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems so focused on the negative side of Metro. It is not too hard to remember what this whole metropolitan area looked like before Metro. These poor guys and gals are not all bad. Think about where you work and those who do not follow the rules. Makes you upset, but it is only a few.Don't let a few cloud the total picture.

Anonymous said...

I am a metro employee. Sometimes I take a chance and park in the kiss and ride section at brookland station. I guess it depends on the cop, but trust me, transit police have no problem ticketing an employee's vehicle. I should know, I have 3. So, it's not like metro is allowing this abuse to go on. It's just that some of us have not learned our lesson, and continue to take chances. I follow your blog, and I have to say that I do agree with most of what you're saying. But just with any agency that deals with the mass public, there are a few bad apples in the bunch. Q&A are riding and walking around undercover (I had one on my bus yesterday and didnt know it) and employees have and will continue to get canned for bad customer service, and being just plain nasty. The agency is big, and employees can get away with a lot for a long time, but every dog has its day.

Anonymous said...

Stop bitching

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