Friday, April 9, 2010

Metro Unveils "Confuse the Tourist" Experiment

In an attempt to court the anti-tourist vote, WMATA has begun a pilot, "Confuse the Tourist," experiment.

Here are some early prototypes sure to spin heads. No wonder many tourists look clueless.

Which one goes to the cherry blossoms?
@crimsonspud Do I want the BRD train to ####, or do I want the ## train to ####? WTF #wmata

Never trust the signs, if you can see them in the dark.
From Jami:
What's wrong with this picture? When did UDC move to Mt Vernon?!?!

All of the signs at the Waterfront station have this error, including these newly painted ones on the platform. Another Metro fail.

Is this official? Who "knows?"

You'll huff and you'll puff, and you'll blow the monument down.
The three-cone combo on the right means "will never work again"
in Metro conespeak.
Photo: Thomas Wilburn

Metro roulette: maybe it'll be right, maybe not. Good luck.
From Scott:

I needed to get from Union Station to Gallery Place and wanted to get there around 6:55 a.m. So here are my options: I can leave at 6:47 and get there at 6:51 just on the Red Line, or I can take this absolutely zany trip involving taking the Marc Penn Line at 5:10 to New Carrolton, wait nearly an hour there, then get on an Orange Line train to L'Enfant where I can then take the green line to Gallery Place, getting me there at 6:53. You could walk between the two stations probably at least 4 times in that time frame. But, it does come closer to my stated goal of 6:55...

Other items:
Online access for SmarTrip? (WMATA)


Anonymous said...

I heard SEU lost its accreditation since it has fewer than 300 students now or something. Do we really even need to have such a small non-accredited university highlighted at a metro stop anyway?

Anonymous said...

What? No tourism signs for Flaming Train or Racoon Wonderland? Pitiful signage indeed.

Anonymous said...

I know of another sign that confuses tourists - the one in parking garages that says you MUST have a SmartTrip card to exit. I've been stuck (in a long line of other drivers), behind clueless tourists at the gate, trying to figure out how to pay cash and leave the garage.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

"Confuse the tourist"? Now there's one of the few Metro initiatives I can proudly stand behind!

Anonymous said...

You, too, can participate in this wmata initiative - simply by trying to walk left. Yesterday, there was a pack of 20+ tourists parked double-wide on the escalator at Dupont. I had to ask *each and everyone* standing on the left side to please (yes, I was nice) move...I would have thought that at some point down the line, they would have realized what was going on. But no...I had to request passage through their gauntlet of dirty looks.

HurricaneDC said...

That's a good point Anonymous. It not only lost accreditation, but it also CLOSED. As in there's no point in having it on the signage anymore. Now's as good a time as ever to update the signage across all stations. Gallery Place and the 3 newest stations (NY Ave, Morgan Blvd and Largo) seem to have the latest revisions. I know Grosvenor has some updated stuff, but not all of it. Point being, make the Metro look uniform.

Then again, there are still columns at Union Station that say Union Station - Visitor Center (which was closed ages ago) so I guess we can't expect WMATA to ever update anything. What a joke of a tranist agency.

Ben Schumin said...

As I understand it, there used to be a UDC facility near the Mt. Vernon Square station when the station opened around 1991. That facility has since closed, as I understand it. So if the signage predates whenever the station was renamed to its current name, it makes sense for that to be there. After the renaming occurred, that's kind of irresponsible to include an obsolete name.

As for the "SEU" bit, ultimately, the responsibility of renaming the Waterfront-SEU station rests with the District government, since it's WMATA's policy that any station renames be paid for by the jurisdiction where the station is located. That juristiction-pays rule set the stage for the whole fluff over the renaming of National Airport station, since Arlington declined to rename it per the same policy.

Matt' said...

For 10 years, from 1991-2001 the station was called "Mt Vernon Square-UDC". It's not a mislabeling on the pylon at Waterfront, it's just an old sign.

It would be great if Metro went through and took "UDC" off of the name, but if they did that, UnsuckDCMetro would do a post on how much money WMATA was wasting to take three letters off of a sign.

Having "UDC" on the sign does not confuse tourists or anyone else.
"Excuse me, can you help us? We're trying to get to Mount Vernon Square station, but we can only find Mount Vernon Square-UDC. Those are different stations, right?"

If you're going to complain about little sign errors, then the sign at Waterfront has a few more:
1. Archives-Navy Mem'l-Penn Quarter
2. Mt Vernon Sq-7th Street-Convention Center
3. U Street-African American Civil War Mem'l-Cardozo

Do we want Metro to spend a few thousand dollars changing the signs at this station, or would you rather them spend that money on something like replacing lightbulbs or repairing fare machines?

HurricaneDC said...

Well judging from that photo it *does* look like they renamed it to Waterfront. Or at least they're in the process of it.

Ben, would that also explain why most (if not all) the maps on the trains still say Brookland-CU and not -CUA? Maybe WMATA is just waiting until the first section of the Silver Line is opened before they have all the signage and maps updated...

Anonymous said...

The incoming train signs displaying ######'s is pretty common place at the King Street station. I see it all the time in the morning. I thought it was completely clear what was going on, but I can understand how tourists become confused.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

Actually, better signage seems a worthwhile investment.

Anonymous said...

My least favorite unwieldy name is "Mt Vernon Sq-7th Street-Convention Center" since most operators pronounce it as if the building is called "The 7th St Convention Center" - maybe "Mt Vernon Square - 7th St AND Convention Center" would resolve this, but I hesitate to suggest a change lest someone decides that the proper name be used: "Mt. Vernon Square - 7th Street and Walter E. Washington Convention Center" which would be much too much.

Anonymous said...

Why can't stations have one name? Two is stretching it. Three is obscene.

HurricaneDC said...

@Unsuck, like I said I wouldn't be surprised if they're waiting until the first portion of the Silver Line is completed before they update the signage. No sense in updating it all now only to have to update it again in a couple years.

Davin Peterson said...

Those PID signs are outdated. What they need are LCD screens, like TVs that show map of where the train is and can display train status on screen

Anonymous said...

Re Anon 3:47: In addition to the 7th St. Convention Center, we've got the Woodley Park Zoo.

Matt' said...

Why does 7th Street need to be in the name anyway?

Every single Green/Yellow subway station from L'Enfant Plaza to Shaw is under 7th Street. Why don't they have it in their names too? What would be wrong with calling it "Mount Vernon Square/Convention Center"?

When the Metro opened, WMATA had a policy limiting station names to 15 characters and no more than three words.

Ben Schumin said...

@HurricaneDC The "Brookland-CU" bit on the map is probably a typographical error, since that's not the only error that the current map (from late 2006) contains. If you look in the lower left corner of the maps, the copyright notice says "Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority". Something tells me that the people who proofread that sign were asleep or something.

Anonymous said...

@Matt - I always make that same argument regarding 7th St. It shouldn't be in the name. That station should actually be "Convention Center - Mt Vernon Sq" Since the station exit is well North of actual Mt Vernon Sq.

I also agree with the problem "Woodley Park Zoo" and the ridiculously long U Street station name. Sadly, the only people I ever see at the AACWM are homeless people sleeping at it. I'm not so sure that's the appropriate way to memorialize the Af-Amers from the Civil War.

Arlington Yupette said...

It's an obsolete 2-track system designed in 1965 for a medium density urban and light density suburban environment where it doesn't ever snow and seldom rains.

It's an obsolete 2-track system designed in 1965 for a medium density urban and light density suburban environment where it doesn't ever snow and seldon rains.

It's an obsolete 2-track system designed in 1965 for a medium density urban and light density suburban environment where it doesn't ever snow and seldom rains.

Ben Schumin said...

@Matt: The problem with the paragraph-on-a-sign names that we're getting anymore is that Metro has basically given up control over station names. The local jurisdictions determine whether to change station names, determine what to call the stations, and pay for the implementation of the name changes. Metro just produces and installs the paid-for signage.

Anonymous said...

LOL, I'd almost rather see "#####" while waiting for 10 minutes (during rush hour) for the train to arrive @ Eisenhower from Huntington than *absolutely nothing* which is always posted on the signs for the Mt. Vernon trains! Lately there is no time posted on that stupid sign until 1 minute before the train comes in. The stations are 30 seconds away from each other. Is refusing to show the times really necessary? Trust me, I'd much rather stand there pissed off at the fact that the train won't be showing up for another 10-15 minutes than not knowing what time to think I'll arrive at work AT ALL. I'd really like an answer from Metro, but like that would ever happen!

Anonymous said...

Management tells employees I heard, do not make signs.
> Then how about MTS "Make things simple". Besides confusing tourists, how about inconvenience riders by manipulating things increase problems
> then ask for more money?
Sounds logical to me!

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