Monday, September 10, 2012

Rush Plus Update: Basics Botched

From anonymous:
This Blue Line rider is just loving Rush+. Every morning at Franconia-Springfield is a wonderful adventure.

When you get to the platform, there are often two trains waiting for you. On really boring days, both trains have the correct signage on them, and there is no confusion about which train to board. But who wants THAT?

Fortunately, Metro has recognized that throwing a little whimsy into our mornings will make us much sharper in the day ahead, so the boring scenario described above hardly ever happens.

Usually, the trains bear no signage at all, so one has to either make an educated (and most likely incorrect) guess as to which is a Yellow Line train and which is Blue.

Sometimes, there is a station manager or train conductor voice “clarifying” the issue over the intercom, but it’s often hard to tell to which the train the voice is referring.

Occasionally, a WMATA employee will walk down the platform pointing out which train is which, but if you’re not around for that, you’re just clueless and completely dependent on your fellow travelers (who may have gotten conflicting or incomplete information).

A third scenario has the trains (or electronic signs on each side of the platform) bearing the name of either the Yellow or Blue line, making the rider think s/he is in the right place, only to have this switch shortly before the train leaves. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched would-be Yellow Line riders gape in surprise as the train they thought was theirs pull away.

I have heard that sometimes it’s difficult to get the signs on the trains (I forget the terminology) correct. If that’s the case, WMATA needs to have an employee on the platform pointing people in the right direction.

It would seem to me that getting the signage correct is the most basic and easy thing to accomplish to make Rush+ work smoothly.

Of all the things I feared coming into this change, never did I expect this sort of confusion. (I know, my mistake.) I expected crowds, of course, and increased distances between trains far beyond the planned 12 minutes. But I didn’t think I’d have to play a guessing game each morning. Yes, all this Blue liner needs to do is transfer if I accidentally find myself on a Yellow Line train, but my concern lies more with the folks who keep missing their Yellow Line trains for no good reason.

Oh, and I did email Metro commenting on this issue several weeks back. I received a form response, and if anything, the problem has only gotten worse.
Other items:
Sarles says this, riders say that (WaPo)
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