Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome to the New Metro!

Welcome to the new Metro!

Things are really turning around.

In a bold move, Metro is apparently going to tackle its intractable escalator and elevator problems head on. No more excuses.

Amazing, right?



Check it out! This Sarles guy is really a breath of fresh air! A real go getter! Hands on.

Here's the plan:

1. Hire some consultants ... SCREECH ... wait a minute.

That sounds like the tired, old Metro.

Metro has been "running" escalators and elevators for more than three decades. Now's the time to call in the consultants?

Soon, Metro will have more working consultants than working escalators. Your fare increases at work.

Other items:
Metro oversight group to be "beefed up" (Examiner)
Red Line capacity to remain same, yet congestion will ease. Hmmm. (WaPo)


saber_saw25 said...

I flew out of Regan National last Thursday and found one of the escalators to be out of order for its upgrade. Why on Earth would Metro pick the start of tourist season to upgrade the escalator at: a. one of the busiest stops in the system and b. the one place where stairs are a terrible idea when carrying luggage. Metro had the ENTIRE winter to do this and chose now. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

This is so absurd it is not even funny. What is there to consult about? They are broken. Fix them! If it is too hard on their wee widdle brains to make schedules, then start at one end of the line and work forward. How hope fades day by day.

Anonymous said...

May I be the first to say: Fire Sarles!

And the Board. And whoever signs off on hiring these consultants.

I want my money back.

Anonymous said...

Sarles will be kicked back on a beach somewhere by the time this is "implemented."

Another cruel joke.

Anonymous said...

People don't hire consultants to get tangible results. They hire consultants to pass responsibility to someone else. It's a lot easier to have Booz Allen or Bearing Point fall on their swords, than it is to get one through your own chest.

You don't sell consulting engagements by emphasizing actual outcomes. You identify the motivations of the decision makers, and present a solution that makes them FEEL good. Most consultants are a lot more clever and ruthless than their clients, and care about one thing -- getting maximum dollars, while spending as little as possible on people. That's why old, experienced gray hairs sell this stuff, and sophomoric new college grads do the work.

It's scary at the top. A consultant is a nice, fuzzy-wuzzy bwanket that helps you break free of your insecurities and face the mean old world. -- with a gold-plated excuse for when things go to sh**.

Anonymous said...

How can the Washington Post write such a straight faced article. Um critical eye anyone? Beuller?

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why they can't convert the many short escalators (like the ones between the platforms and mezzanines) to large staircases like most other cities. I understand keeping the long ones. People could use the exercise and the resources spent on all of those escalators could be used for better upkeep of the elevators...oh, yeah, and meeting that budget gap.

Anonymous said..., and having an open consulting engagement also provides a convenient excuse for taking no action. As in, "Once the consultant presents his/her recommendations, we'll submit the findings to the Metro Board, and then ..."

Anonymous said...

I AM a consultant, and I think this is ridiculous.

Companies hire consultants for legitimate reasons, like when they're considering buying other companies, but are busy running their own and don't want to commit to hiring permanent staff just to research an option that may not work out. Or they hire consultants to set up new programs, industries, IT systems, and investment strategies that the company doesn't have but needs in order to take advantage of new opportunities. When done well, the money spent on a consultant delivers tremendous returns on investment.

But companies that are leaders in an industry DON'T hire consultants to tell them how their industry works. Metro runs one of the largest collections of escalators of any company anywhere in the world. Some -- no, several of the longest escalators in the world are part of metro. They KNOW how escalators work and how to fix them.

But to the point: Sarles is in fact a consultant. He was hired BECAUSE of his impartiality. If he's so uncomfortable speaking his mind that he needs to hire more outsiders, then there is something more horribly wrong in Metro's organization than we think.

excapsfan said...


This is an excellent point. Speaks to something very much awry.

We already know about internal hostility, but it must be much worse than has been revealed.

gamephase said...

I understand escalators in really deep underground stations like Dupont. But what about just having regular stairs and saving some money in the other stations? Escalators are expensive, it could reduce fares and make people healthier. Archives doesn't even have set of regular stairs from the main level to the trains. You are better off taking the elevator when repairs were going on.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

Metro once considered converting some shorter escalators to stairs, but the idea was shot down.

Aaron said...

Metro needs to hire "the Bobs" from the movie "Office Space". Remember Bob Slydell when he asked, "What would ya say...ya do here?". Bob should ask that question to every Metro employee. Also, "PC LOAD LETTER? What the f**** does that mean?"

Unsuck DC Metro said...

Aaron: Ha!

"Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"

Aaron said...

Mr. Unsuck! I want to have a beer with you sometime! Anyway, when I see a Metro employee, I'm often reminded of this one:

Peter Gibbons: "You see, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

Anonymous said...

oh that is true! We saw yesterday that Metro was admitting to a lack of cares!

Anonymous said...

Dear Metro, I will be your free consultant. Here is a checklist for you. (1) Hire people to procure and install working parts for the broken escalators. You're welcome.

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