Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bad Data, Bad Decisions?

You may have noticed groups of Metro employees gathered at stations.

They are traffic clerks, and you can see what they are supposed to do in this August job announcement.

This group in the photo was on the southbound Green/Yellow platform at L'Enfant Plaza during Friday's rush hour. I saw another, larger group at Mt. Vernon Square a few days earlier. Both groups were congregated at the front of the platform. Anytime I've seen them, they are always standing in a group at the front of the platform.

 I asked a couple of sources about these groups.
They are there to count passengers who exit or enter cars and approximate the amount of people on the cars. There is to be one at the front to get the train ID number and time of day. The others are to be spread out along the platform to monitor certain cars. One does the first car, one the rear and a couple in the middle.

What they do when I watch is the first person gets the pertinent info from the operator. The others stand around. Every so often they gather to copy the numbers from the one person who is doing their job. Then back to doing nothing. 
What happens with the information these people are supposed to gather?
I think it goes downtown to planning. What they do with it I am not sure. They never change headways. Maybe they use it to decide whether to run 6 or 8-car trains.
Another source said:
This is typical Metro. By standing in front like that, they're only counting the least crowded cars. If Metro is making decisions based on those numbers, they're making bad decisions.
Other items:
Metro violated contracting rules (Examiner)
Metro claimed controversial ads could make people fall onto tracks (Reason)
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