Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More PR?

From J.S.:
I'm so glad Metro is hiring even more PR people. Just kidding.

But maybe the new people will be competent. Lord knows the current ones aren't, although my guess is Metro won't be letting any deadwood go.

The communications team is terrible, even after hiring all those so-called social media "gurus" that were supposed to make us fall back in love with Metro.

How's that coming people?

They barely tweet, and I get much better information from #wmata and @unsuckdcmetro than I do from @wmata. I guess Metro does a little Facebook, but most of that effort makes me shrug. Who cares?

E-mail alerts? What a joke! They come after I'm home, even if there's an hour delay.

I was one of the people stuck in the broken down Metro car when the brakes fell off. We just sat there. Nothing from no one. Just waiting in silence. (Editor's note: That was not that the only case of a communications breakdown in recent months. Riders also blamed Metro PR for poorly communicating the recent changes to the SmarTrip system.)

Metro can't spin its way out of this kind of crap.

Please. MetroForward? I think a slogan like that should only come after the "Metro: Our Brakes Work" slogan has some cred. It doesn't right now, that's for sure.

How much does Metro pay for nonsense PR like this? How many people work in PR there?

Why do they try to float the news about BS hires late on a Friday night on a long weekend like little babies?

That "sneaky" move alone makes me know their reasoning for hiring more overpaid people is weak.
Thanks for writing, Steve.

Here are a few answers for you.

Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel told the Post the reason for the new hires was:
“We’re doing more than media relations. The whole social media function is new. We’ve started a two-way conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and we’re doing videos.”
Um, yeah.

Anyway, Steve, I thought you might like to know that Metro spends $18.5 million on communications, according to the 2012 budget.

That might not seem like much in the grand scheme of the Metro budget, but it's more than the $17.8 million Metro spends on the SAFETY DEPARTMENT!

Take a look at the PR food chain, which is staffed with the the same number of honchos as the safety department:

All of these people outrank Dan Stessel and undoubtedly make substantially more than Stessel, who made well over $107,000 while at New Jersey Transit. One would assume he got a raise to come here.

But Stessel's a relatively small fish, and honestly, I feel just a little sorry for him having to go on camera to try to constantly excuse Metro. Surely in private he knows he's shilling for a bankrupt organization.

Meanwhile, his superiors rake in big bucks without having to face any music, all the while commissioning $700,000 "mystery rider" programs and $200,000 "no Metro" reports.

Look at this list of all NJ Transit salaries from 2010
. Lynn Bowersox, who was brought to DC by Sarles, made a lot more than Danny boy back in NJ. She reportedly makes $165,000 with a $10,000 bonus here.

Barbara Richardson, an Amtrak flunky and Sarles crony, who sits at the top of the Metro spin pyramid reportedly makes $175, 000.

Here's a list of all the salaries from NJ Transit's communications department in 2010. Looks like Metro pays better overall, but it gives at least an approximation of the kind of money Metro is shelling out to communicate.

Remember, GM Richard "Dick" Sarles makes close to $400,000 when you tally up all his perks.

Meanwhile, Metro says it can't afford to run more 8-car trains because it would cost $5 million a year.

If that doesn't get you steamed, I'm not sure what will.

Thanks again, Metro. When do those fare increases start?

Other items:
LOW BAR ALERT: MD, VA govs praise Metro because no one died (WAMU)
Rider questions police treatment (Examiner)
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