Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's With the 'Tude?

Another one to file under rude Metro employees.
From contributor Greg:
Coming from Philadelphia about 2 years ago, all I heard was how much better the public transit system was in D.C. People made it sound like it was leaving Detroit for Hawaii. That gap is greatly exaggerated. It's more like moving from Detroit for, er, Cleveland, and the unhelpful and rude employees are a large reason why.
My girlfriend and I spent a lot of time recently at Nationals Park, which means a heaping dose of Metro use.
Everything was routine, except for the group of morons attending the chili cook off who were not letting anyone off before they got on, which is a HUGE pet peeve.
Anyway, we were attending a double header, so between games, we decided to spend the intermission on the SW Waterfront. Easy trip, you'd think, right? WRONG.
The Half St. Metro entrance was packed, but I snaked my around around the crowds to get to the gates, where I tried to use the farecard I purchased three hours earlier at Tenleytown, but it didn’t open the gates. Annoyed, I sought out an attendant for help. The following conversation ensued:

Me: My farecard won’t open the gate.
Attendant: (annoyed that I broke up her conversation with Metro Police) Is it empty?
Me: Uh, no, I bought it 3 hours ago.
Attendant: (annoyed she now has to walk over to me) Where did you come from?
Me: Tenleytown.

The attendant steps away briefly, and I try to call my friends who’ve meandered on, not realizing I got stuck at the gates. As the attendant comes back, I’m putting my phone away.

Attendant: That's it! Your phone demagnetized the card!
Me: That's impossible; I didn't keep the farecard in the same pocket.
Attendant: Well that's what happened.
Me: Um, excuse me? It's not, I know it says on the card NOT to keep the phone near the farecard.
Attendant: Well, you have to take this card to Metro Center downtown and get a refund and buy a new card.

When I give her the "are you serious look," she proceeds to yell at me, saying it wasn't her fault that I'd messed up my own card.
I understand she couldn't give me a refund on the spot, but what about a little politeness and a little understanding instead of taking the attitude that she pretty much wasn't going to help me even if I had been bleeding to death at her feet?
Would it have been too much to ask for her to let me through and explain that in order to come back, I'd have to buy a new ticket? I mean you can see on the ticket there's value there, and I wasn't trying to scam her for a free ride.
Again, I'm not an unreasonable person, but it was very frustrating to watch her latch onto the idea that I'd let my phone demagnetize my card and then not budge. Scolding me on top of that was just incredible.
Besides, when I do have to use a farecard, I make sure not to keep it near my phone BECAUSE IT SAYS ON THE FARECARDS NOT TO.
I ended up getting in the long lines, buying a new farecard only to be stuffed into a non-air conditioned car. When I finally got out, I looked liked I'd just finished a 10K.

More rude employees:
Ms. Gibson
The ogler
Eating cop
Sneaky parker

Other news:
Orange line delays this weekend

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Anonymous said...

How about a courtesy campaign for metro workers!?!?

Mike R. S. said...

Amen! at least they're consistent, unlike their trains.

E said...

Yo, anyone know what happened yesterday around 9pm? I was stuck at metro center for about an hour b/c trains were effed up and there was a "police situation" at Smithsonian so they closed all traffic heading that way and trains from VA were going to McPherson and turning around...but so far no word in any papers or anything.

WMATA said...

The internet is a great way for us to discuss issues and policies directly with customers. We welcome that, and we also welcome direct feedback about your Metro experience via our customer service line.

Anytime you have a complaint about your Metro experience, please let US know about it directly. That way we can document it, investigate the complaint and come to a resolution. We make that easy enough to do by internet and e-mail ( ) and telephone and postal mail (

We want to provide exceptional service, and you can help us do that by reporting issues to us vie the customer service line. Then, there’s a formal record, we can identify trends, and put fixes in place. Please help us as by providing as much information about the problem as you are comfortable with and telling us directly when you find something wrong.


WMATA said...

Last night there was smoke in one of the back rooms of the Smithsonian Station. The station was closed for almost an hour. Trains were turned back at Federal Triangle and Federal Center SW.

Shipsa01 said...

You've lived here for 2 years and don't own a Smartrip? You should be yelled at.

Anonymous said...

I got off at Pentagon Saturday night. I had two fare cards that wouldn't work. The jerkof@ in the booth try to scan them and proceeded to accuse me sneaking on the train. And I had my bike. How do sneak on with a bike? I have money. I don't need to sneak on the metra. He said he was going to call secutrity. I said "call security". He told me to go through the gate I proceeded to walk through. He opens the door of the booth real fast and almost hits me and yells "dont come back". The door just missed me. He came within inches of spending the night in jail. What an a-hole.

Anonymous said...

hahaha -- for all the times I've copmplained to metro about lousy employee attitudes, it still keeps coming on, piled high and deep. Like the idiot woman bus driver who had ALL the windows open on HER bus and those top vents were open as well-- on a cold day in OCTOBER -- I got on and shut my window -- it didn't help that I had a cold too. so she YELLED at me to reopen the window!! Like H*** I was going to!! When I got off I took down the number of her bus and she started laughing. I did complain, but who knows if they ever got back to her. Something similar happened on another bus on a cold day-- I closed the window that was open near me and when I got off the driver asked me to reopen that window-- I refused and as I left he said "I'll remember you!!"
Another time the driver stopped in the street and it was a LONG drop from the bottom step to the street- so I asked him to please lower the bus-- instead, WITH THE DOOR STILL OPEN AND ME STANDING ON THE LOWER STEP -- he JERKED The bus over to the curb and gave me a dirty look. I'm from the Bronx-- I give as good as I get -- so I started him down and I WILL remember HIM!!!!!

Meg McCormick said...

Huh, really? That probably explains why one of my farecards mysteriously stopped working. Still, my SmartTrip cards and three different building access cards are riding around in the same purse pocket as my cell and my blackberry and they seem to work fine. Maybe it's just the paper cards?

(PS, I am NOT new here. I just... didn't know.)

Anonymous said...

Complaining usually falls on blind eyes and deaf ears. They'll respond with some canned spiel, but nothing happens to the rude employee. Isn't it funny how people with attitudes are the ones in public service jobs!

JustForKicks said...

Seriously EVERYONE who works at the metro is a rude asshole. If I had that sort of attitude at my job I'd be fired INSTANTLY but apparently its a requirement to work at METRO

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