Wednesday, October 7, 2009


As has been reported, WMATA hired some high-priced communications consultants to help them spin their never ending bad news.

First of all, if Metro stopped screwing up, they'd be able to forget about crisis management communications and save us some dough. Maybe the money could go toward the budget gap.

But we digress.

The first confirmed product under the consultants was displayed here.


Yesterday, came another, bigger blunder--at least we think so.

Just as people were settling into work after some major Red Line delays caused by A PART THAT "BECAME DISASSEMBLED" FROM A TRAIN, what does Metro do?

They issue a press release about how they've spent $20,000 on two "T3" pimped out Segway-looking tricycles for the Metro Transit Police, and they may buy even more!

The release was accompanied by an unintentionally funny video.

Now, maybe these suped up Big Wheels will end crime as we know it on Metro. We're not experts, but to put this news out so soon after a major meltdown looks ... well, dumb--and completely disconnected from the riders' experience.

Next time there's a category III suckstorm, we suggest a press release about how Metro is planning to keep parts from falling off trains and delaying thousands. Or how they'll stop buses from hitting people. Or how they'll keep trains from colliding.

But it doesn't end here.

Late yesterday evening, Metro issued a press release about "a fatal pedestrian accident."

In the release is the following sentence:

"Service Operations Managers are continuing to convey the importance of pedestrian awareness to more than 2,400 Metrobus operators on the street and 950 bus maintenance personnel."

Pedestrian awareness.

So it has come to this: People who drive a bus for a living need a friendly reminder not to hit people on the street.

Seriously, what good is that going to do? Isn't pedestrian awareness something most of us behind a wheel automatically have without need for "reinforcements" and "conversations?"

Is that the best they could do to reassure an increasingly leery public? Obviously, there's something more fundamental, more systemic afoot at Metro, and more reminders probably aren't going to help.

Well done consultants!

If Metro is this dumb with a "little" money, what are they going to do with (if they get) a lot of money?

Other items:
Pedestrian accident ends in fatality (WaPo)
Medical Center plan revealed (GGW)

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Anonymous said...

Allegedly (!!!) an officer already wrecked one of those T3s and spent time in the hospital because of it. Perhaps Metro needs to hire more consultants to the consultants who advise on the training programs. So, that's 20,000 for one T3, not two (anymore).

Anonymous said...

Can we riders sue to get our money back under a third party beneficiary theory?

Anonymous said...

lo-speed chase anyone?

Anonymous said...

A-MEN! This is the kind of stuff you get when the foxes guard the henhouse. Though to compare WMATA to foxes is demeaning to foxes.

Anonymous said...

"Take for us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." Take from us the Metro foxes that would endanger the lives of employees and customers, and who would collect money from those who are at risk of injury. WMATA doesn't need to add to the jumper death toll through its negligence.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought - why didn't Metro buy their cops bicycles? Gosh, they do all the things that the stupid T3 does (and can go a lot more places, have lower maintenance costs, and don't need to be 'eased' off of a curb), and costs a hell of a lot less. My guess is that Metro thought their bus drivers might run the cops over. That or they were worried that the cops might actually have to get into shape.

Anonymous said...

I am a permanent pedestrian. I guarantee you people in cars are just a bad avoiding pedestrians as the bus drivers. I just wish everyone would stop flipping me the finger when they try to run me down while in a crosswalk with the cross light going. And firing Cato isn't going to help this mess. Fire all of his directors and supervisors first. It is obvious this problem is not only at the top level - it is pervalent throughout the entire mentality of the employee-system. They just don't care to do a good job and they don't care about the consequences either.

Anonymous said...

How about they put those consultants to use in letting people know what is going on during delays.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the poll at the top about whether or not one is considering abandoning Metro and driving instead, please include option(s) for people like me who don't own a car. It irks me when the PA system announcers say "Thank you for choosing Metro." I don't own a car -- riding Metro not really a choice.

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

Can't change the poll, but your point is well taken.

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