Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ain't that some Sh*t!

Illustration via @courageousrobot @metroopensdoors seen a lot of shit at your stations but never actual shit! Stay classy @unsuckdcmetro #wmta #vienna

From CS:
This story is literally about takin’ sh*t from Metro.

Last Wednesday evening, the rush-hour platform at Vienna was packed. Earlier problems had gummed up the line, and trains were coming in quickly. Yet one of two escalators was closed off, causing massive crowding that was dangerous, too, because platform construction is forcing people to the edge. I’m guessing it took as long as 10 minutes to go up a single flight.

How come? At the bottom of the closed escalator was a spot or two of feces, species unknown. At the top, some more.

But rather than clean it up, station workers just chose to shut it down. At least hundreds, maybe thousands, of people were inconvenienced, evidently because no one wanted to deal with the offending poop.

Should they have?

There’s little question it was gross. And it wouldn’t have been fun to pick it up. But come on, people deal with it all the time. When they walk their dogs. When I scoop Jazzy and Ginger’s litter box. When the power goes out in New York City and sewer workers literally have to swim through it to get things fixed. When Andy Dufresne escaped from prison in the Shawshank Redemption.

Moreover, it’s not like unpleasant things don’t happen on Metro every day, when 700,000-plus riders jam aboard. But the bottom line: If you’re all about customer service, which Metro says it is, doesn’t that tip the balance to the customer? Couldn’t someone assigned to the station have said something like, “Gee, it’s not what we usually do, but how about we zip over to that nearby supermarket, get some kitty litter, and clean this stuff up, so we won’t trouble so many people? And also, because, it’s our job, after all.”

So I say they should have. No doubt some will claim it’s a safety issue, and I'll bet the main reason nobody cleaned it up is because of some narrowly defined job description that relieves the station manager from even having to think about whether or not they should take some common sense steps to make Metro work better.

But really – a bio-hazard lock down for some dung on the stairs? Get real. It probably took more time to set up the multiple accordion barriers around the escalator than to clean up the poop.

To me, the real story is that it’s another illustration of the unfortunate fact that Metro rules and or job descriptions so often lack common sense.

What do others think?
Other items:
Does a potential ATU 689 pay hike harm the "public welfare?" (GGW)
Metro has shelled out $77,000 in escalator injury claims (WJLA)
Art or invasive--a blockbuster investigation (NBC4)
Pigeons, the menace plaguing Metro (Examiner)
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