Thursday, June 21, 2012

Communications Still Failing

Via Jessica

Amid all the hoopla surrounding the apparent failure of Rush+, another Metro problem continues to chug along with no remedy in sight--poor communication with riders.

Sure, the Metro Twitter feed has been better when it's not being snarky, but riders using Twitter represent a small percentage of overall Metro users.

Even on Twitter, the information is often misleading:

From Anna (with WMATA cc'ed):
I thought everyone was focused on communicating better with passengers! What on Earth happened on the Red Line [yesterday] morning? I was late in getting into the mess, and there were no alerts on the boards or the WMATA website.

Sorry - I'm not a Twitter user, so only posting info there (if it was done) is useless to me.

Nothing by email, nothing by text, nothing from the station managers - really? We've been talking about this for years, and it's not that hard!

Things go wrong, and I get that, but by 9:30, there should have been some kind of information that everything was a mess. (I was standing on the platform then, so no help for me, but still.)

There's a transit cop stationed at Dupont, yet no one told passengers things were a disaster until you had gone through the fare gates.

And, of course, you had to be charged to leave to prevent people from giving up and taking cabs or walking.

At a station with only one working exit that's insane and ridiculous. I'm not sure I could have gotten off the platform back near the entrance.

When I schedule meetings before 11 a.m. as "WMATA willing," you know the system has issues.

From Rachel:
Undoubtedly, I am convinced that you have heard about [yesterday] morning's disaster on the Red Line. My daily commute is from Grosvenor/Strathmore to Dupont Circle.

Here's the gist:

[8:30 a.m.]: Arrive at Grosvenor/Strathmore Metro station. See way, way too many people on platform. Finally check, notice trains are single-tracking between Van Ness and Dupont Circle. Groan and roll my eyes, but stay positive -- website indicates only 15-20 minute delays.


[10:20 a.m.]: Arrive in Bethesda. Have made it approximately 1.5 miles in almost two hours. Have had better days.

[10:25 a.m.]: Still holding in Bethesda. Finally, conductor has the courtesy of informing us as to why we're holding: "Um. There's some sort of emergency downtown. Holding indefinitely." Look up to see I am not the only one who is slightly alarmed. Then ponder the thought process that Metro conductors must have to say "emergency downtown" to people who are tired, hot, agitated and live in the nation's capitol.

[10:35 a.m.]: Finally depart Bethesda.


[11:35 a.m.] Arrive in Dupont Circle.

[11:38 a.m.] Metro has the nerve to charge me $3.90 for a three-hour commute that should have taken no more than 25 minutes.

Shame on you.
Other items:
Another friction ring falls off (WaPo)
Metro cop involved in strange shooting (Examiner)
Can it get any worse? (Examiner)
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