Wednesday, September 1, 2010

$150,000 Per Year to Hear the Obvious?

From an anonymous reader:
The other evening, I received a phone call at home from a marketing company. I was about to tell the caller to take me off her list, but my attitude changed when she said she wanted to ask me some questions about Metro.

"Really? Sure, I'll share my opinions!" I said.

And so it began.

The survey lasted about 20 minutes.

She started with some basic questions, asking me how long I've been using Metro, how many times a week, etc. Then, I was asked to rate almost everything from the escalators to the employees' level of customer service to the cleanliness of the Metro cars on a scale of one to seven.

Finally, I was asked if I would be willing to be contacted again to share my views. I said yes, but frankly how much more complaining do they need to hear from the riders until they get it?

At the end of the call, I asked her some questions of my own, but unfortunately she couldn't provide any answers.

So, I decided to email my questions directly to WMATA.
We forwarded the questions and got answers. Here they are:

1) Who at WMATA authorized WB&A to do this survey?
Contract was awarded in FY 07, three year base with two option years. Contract was approved by the Board of Directors.

2) How much is WMATA paying this company?
FY11 budget is $148,000.00

3) Why would WMATA pay a private company to conduct this survey when riders already share their concerns and complaints with WMATA by email and phone?
The survey consists of on-going tracking of customer satisfaction among a representative sample of Metro’s ridership. The survey is sampled by mode to include riders from all signatory jurisdictions. The survey consists of 200 interviews per month, rolled up to 600 interviews per quarter, rolled up to 2400 interviews per year; this sample allows for reliable measurement across all three time periods.

4)Why a scale of 1-7?
Because research has demonstrated that the 7 point Lickert scale allows enough gradation for respondents to provide accurate measurement of their impressions, without too much subjective variance within the ranges. In other words, there’s more consistency in three different people rating an attribute at “5,” than can be achieved with a 10 point scale.

Remember the "mystery riders" program?

So, by all means, leave your feedback for WMATA so they don't keep spending your money on surveys!

Other items:
The mysterious anti-loitering device at Gallery Place (NBC4)
That this is "news" is a major reason our public transport sucks (WaPo)
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