Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell the Board No to Lower Standards

UPDATE: We won--for now.

On Thursday, the Metro board will likely vote to allow Metro to lower its standards in yet another way. Here's the language from the proposal:
RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors approves headway as a Metrorail service criterion, and sets thresholds such that normal schedule headways will not exceed 15 minutes during peak service, 20 minutes during off-peak service, and 25 minutes during late night service after 10:00PM; and be it further
RESOLVED, That responsibility for defining all other Metrorail service criteria and thresholds be delegated to the General Manager/CEO; and be it further

RESOLVED, That minor service changes may be implemented by the General Manager/CEO to achieve service criteria thresholds provided that the service change does not result in an increase in jurisdictional funding requirements beyond amounts provided for in the then currently adopted fiscal year budget; and be it finally
I've written about this scheme before, here and here.

One thing that really strikes me is that nowhere in the proposal does it mention track work, which was THE MAIN REASON Metro staff told the board's Customer Service and Operations Committee they were proposing these criteria in the first place.

That seems rather underhanded to me, but then again, this whole thing is very strange.

This proposal is unacceptable and, I think, represents a huge abdication of responsibility by the board that is supposed to oversee Metro, ostensibly for US! It's a power grab by Metro GM Richard Sarles, and I can't figure out what it does to improve Metro in any way.

I urge you to write the board members expressing your displeasure with this proposal.

Here are the email addresses I have. If you have others, please leave them as a comment or email me, and I'll add them to this list for easier copy and paste.

william.euille@alexandriava.gov, mhynes@arlingtonva.us, jdyke@mcguirewoods.com, mbowser@dccouncil.us, marcel.acosta@ncpc.gov, mortdowney@verizon.net, mbarnes@ciponline.org, ahampshire-cowan@howard.edu, info@nicholscreativedevelopment.com, boardofdirectors@wmata.com, catherine.hudgins@fairfaxcounty.gov, terry.bellamy@dc.gov

Missing: Tom Downs, Tom Bulger, Anthony Giancola and Kathy Porter

Here's some suggested language for your email to the board.
Dear sir or madam,

I'm a regular Metro rider, and I'm fed up with Metro's increasing price and decreasing service.

I feel the proposed "rail service criteria" serve no purpose other than to excuse future poor performance and you, as a board member, need to stand up for the riders in your capacity as a member of Metro's governing body.

These extreme proposed headways are unacceptable. A mass transit that allows headways like this will likely continue to lose riders.

Additionally, if these headways are allowed, the hardest hit will be those who have no alternative to Metro.

I want Metro to succeed. The region depends on it. Instead of allowing Metro to build in excuses for performance that should never be acceptable, you should be pressing Metro to raise the bar in every aspect of its service.

Please do the right thing for area riders and taxpayers by rejecting this proposal.

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