Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Metro Employee to Passenger: Don't Come Back

Metro GM John Catoe, the Post reports, was on the Hill again yesterday begging for money, saying "service as well as safety will decline" if the Senate doesn't vote with the house to fund Metro.
We've always been supporters of Metro having the money it needs to run safely, and efficiently, but with people like the guy in the anecdote below working for the system, one has to wonder if money is the panacea for Metro's woes. In fact, in a recent, and highly scientific, poll on this site, only 13 percent thought money was Metro's root problem, while 30 percent thought it was management. The rest thought it was a combination of both.
From reader Mike:
I got off at Pentagon Saturday night. I had two fare cards that wouldn't work. The Metro employee in the kiosk tried to scan them and proceeded to ask me how I had gotten on the train in the first place. His tone was accusatory, as if I sneaked in.
I had my bike. How would I have sneaked in with a bike?
I have money. I don't need to sneak into Metro.
He said he was going to call security.
I said "call security."
He finally told me to go through the gate, and as I started to walk through he opened and closed the door really fast and almost hit me with it. At the same time, he yelled "don't come back!"
The door just missed me. If it had hit me, he could have been in some big trouble.
What an a-hole.
According to the Metro FAQ, I should have been given a fare adjustment envelope to replace my card by mail.
No such service was offered.

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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 via the customer service line. When there is 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.


Anonymous said...

I like that WMATA monitors this blog and gives feedback.

I wish my job were to monitor blogs and give feedback.

Lisa said...

Nice of Metro to respond, but I fear that a public comment online may be more effective than submitting a complaint to WMATA.

Anonymous said...

Sadly this is the attitude you get from most frontline workers. There are notable exceptions. I wonder what the good ones think when they see stuff like this?

Anonymous said...

I've complained about several incidents to WMATA and NEVER gotten a response.

A.Smith said...

@Anonymous 9:46

That's because Metro didn't care about their public perception until this crash. Like most organizations, they only care when bad things are being said that they can't control. They can't control this blog and what the public views on it.

Having said that, I respect their attempts to seem concerned.

Brian said...

I too wrote to Metro after service problems on their form that promised a response within a couple business days. That was in January, I'm still waiting.

WMATA -- please start responding to your online forms not just to blogs where more people see it. It's amazing how these posts are responding to almost instantly but my e-mail still sits from nearly 7 months ago. A true disgrace.


saf said...

Dear WMATA - if you ever responded to our complaints, we might be more inclined to talk to you directly. But you don't. And so here we are, trying to force you to notice our complaints.

You made your bed, and it seems that now you don't like lying in it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think it would be better to spend time responding to complaints then surfing blogs all day.

Anonymous said...

I actually think it's pretty smart of WMATA to weigh in on blogs like this. the departments that handle complaints and the department that handles wmata's image in the "media" are different. no reason they can't do both.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is: the urgency and order of priority of public relations and image management in the media is greater than the customer service itself.

sabine01 said...

I'm still awaiting the result of an investigation into a complaint I lodged nearly *2* years ago.

I think I was patient enough... Have emailed customer service back today, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

I complained online to Metro ages ago and never heard back, either. I also tried to send in a bunch of paper metro cards that had only a bit of money left to get them put onto one card (as per the instructions of the person at my station who gave me the envelope). It appears that that also disappeared into the ether. So Metro not only doesn't care about my complaints, it also steals my money. Awesome system.

As an FYI, when I lived in Boston and submitted a complaint to the MBTA, I got thoughtful, considerate (human) response back within the week and a refund for my trip.

Anonymous said...

When that metro employee attempted to shut the gate on you he committed an assault which besides being a criminal offense also makes him liable to you in tort.

Next time get his name, take his photo, ask to speak with his superior. That will give you a good record for your attorney to use when you sue that ass and his employer, WMATA.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Having worked in customer service for a union employer, here's some explanation for the problems you folks are experiencing..

Unions are strong organizations who fight for their members. Employees will file greivances, even if they did what the customer said they did. Employers are fighting a losing battle unless you are willing to attend a hearing if the employee claims you are lying. After all, it is heresay if the accuser will not attend.

In order to take action on an employee, the complaint must be specific, state exactly what the employee said and did. General comments, such as "he was rude" can't be used by the employer in a disciplinary action.

An employeer CANNOT tell you what action they took against an employee, so don't expect to hear more than "we have taken appropriate action."

In a union situation, progressive action must be taken. An employee cnnot be fired for being rude a couple of times. And, discipline "drops off" after a specified time. For example, if an employee is charged 4 times a year, they can get away with it. These bad employees know how far they can go before they lose their job, and will push the envelope.

Anonymous said...

Who do I need to contact in regards to filing a complaint against a Metro employee?

Are there multiple departments or just ONE generalized division that handles this?

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