Thursday, February 23, 2012

Don't Participate in Metro's Survey Charade

Can you believe we riders fund Metro's ham-fisted, arrogant, super expensive and insulting PR/Marketing staff with their endless antics?

First, there was the "no Metro" report, an utter waste of every penny that was spent on it.

Then, there was Stesselgate ("One person's harassment is another person's flirting." ), which he still hasn't elaborated upon, as he said he would.

I mean how moronic can these six-figure salary types be?

But even worse is this new survey in which Metro ostensibly "asks customers for their thoughts in prioritizing services that support Metro's day-to-day rail, bus and MetroAccess services, as well as ways to fund Metro and new fare options under consideration."

My B.S. meter went red when I saw this question:
Which would you prefer?

*Metro should maintain its accelerated construction schedule to finish as soon as possible.
*Metro should slow down even at the risk that there may be more breakdowns and disruptions.
Say what? Like the "no Metro study," this false choice tells me this survey is an utter farce.

Still, I had to confirm my doubts.

I showed this survey to an acquaintance who does polling for a living. While they didn't have time to give me an in-depth analysis, they did say the following:
It's a very obvious push poll. Useable input from customers is not the goal here as every possible answer is clearly steered in one direction, and there are no chances for further elaboration. I would guess most of the data collected--if it really is--will be used for internal rationalization and politicking. It's a charade as an outreach tool.

After that, I checked with a Metro "insider" (their term).

According to them, the survey is completely a PR product and was done by Alison Simon, Director of Customer Research, who works directly for Barbara Richardson, Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications and Marketing. She is Dan Stessel's boss and another Sarles crony.

According to the source, Simon is "Richardson's hire and likes to spend $$$$. She's your new Mystery Rider Girl!" (another $252,000 for starters)

Great! The past mystery rider program made all the difference in the world!

The source did not know the amount spent on this survey, but the worthless "no Metro" PR stunt cost $200,000 of YOUR MONEY.

About the survey, the source said the following:
The survey is set up to give only the alternatives that Metro finds acceptable so that they can say to the board, look here's what the public said! But, there is no place for [customers] to say cut the contractors, improve efficiencies, fire the flack!

There's only one open-ended question.

Will it be weighted more heavily than the public hearings? Will there be a flood of response?

It will be tabulated and spun to the outcome Metro desires.
When pressed for an example, the source said that in the future, Metro could use the survey data to tell the Metro board something to the effect of "according to the survey customers rated transit police higher than clean rail cars."

Ranking what should be Metro's core competencies--sufficient police presence and clean cars, safety, on time performance, for example-- should NOT be something put up for a public vote or ranking.

These are all things Metro should do well no matter what, and anything outside them should be looked at for savings. Metro has a LOT of highly paid "experts" who are supposed to allocate funds so that we have a decent mass transit system here in the DC area. Just because they can't doesn't mean Metro can shirk the task off to the public.

Metro should be ashamed to even have asked the public to rank the crucial and vital jobs Metro is supposed to do well--and doesn't--at all.

Spare us your expensive marketing surveys and get on with running the subway and the buses!
If you want to let Metro know what you think, go to a public hearing. Of course, Metro's PR geniuses forgot to say what time these hearings will start.

Another take
Another take

Other items:
Riders complain about sexual harassment on Metro (Fox)
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