Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Metro's Censored Momentum 'Conversation'

Via Matt L. on Facebook

While Metro is touting its "succesful" progress by taking out full-page ads that haven't been proofread, it sounds like their Momentum "conversation" is exactly what we all thought it would be.

From Thomas:
So, yesterday I received an email from Metro's Mindmixer campaign. I had forgotten that I signed up for it when I read about it on Unsuck a few weeks back.  Anyway, the email was soliciting Metro riders for ideas for future Metro improvements. The email also said something to the effect that, "with 1.2 million riders everyday, we must be doing something right!"
This humble-brag infuriated me. Of course they have 1.2 million riders everyday, many people have to take the Metro each day, several for free. It's basically a monopoly.

I took the bait. I went to the website, and spent about 60 seconds typing up the following post:

1.) Don't claim you're doing something right because you serve 1.2 million people each day. Most of us are basically forced to take this shoddy service. I only ride because it's free for me, and I still contemplate driving instead even though it would cost me over $2,000 extra each year.
2.) Maybe purchase trains that don't force crowding and have those terrible seats where you have to ask people to get up to leave. Where have you ever ridden on public trains like that?
3.) How about invest in more transportation nodes so there aren't various types of single points of failure? It's ridiculous.
4.) Stop reducing bus routes that serve areas that are Metrorail is inaccessible.
5.) Your PR person is awful. You blame passengers for accidents and don't communicate well at all. Fire whoever is responsible.
6.) Where the escalators are only 10 feet or so, just make them stairs that way people are constantly moving versus the lazy who just sit there and block people in rush hour.
7.) Turn on some lights in the dark Metro stations. It's hard to read.
8.) If I enter a station, see that there's a 15-minute wait and decide to leave and walk, STOP CHARGING ME. I DIDN'T RIDE A TRAIN. I HATE YOU FOR DOING THIS. IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.
9.) Make it so the bus drivers actually charge everyone for riding. The system is losing money, I see people ride for free every time I ride a bus. I want to pay. I want more money and more services, not a free bus ride every once in a while.
10.) Make a pedestrian tunnel between Metro Center and Gallery Place. It shouldn't be difficult and would probably help with congestion.

Sure, I could have spent some time refining a few of the points, and maybe the caps lock in #8 is not the best form (but that really does infuriate me), but I thought most of my points were actually rather reasonable. I support the idea of a good public transit system.

By the end of the night, I had a few people post responses to my post. They were all positive. One said "I couldn't agree more with all of your points."
I felt good and thought maybe there'd be an ongoing conversation about some of the easier ideas to address. 
I woke up the next day, and my post was flagged for removal three times and ultimately taken down from the website.
Do you think other actual Metro riders were so taken aback by my ten points that three of them actually flagged this post for removal, or do you think staff at Mindmixer got involved because I took a shot at WMATA's PR guru? Did I offend their Omaha ways?

I guess I'll never know....
From Jacob:
In case anyone actually believes that Metro Momentum/Mindmixer was actually about WMATA listening to ideas as opposed to just being yet another high-priced PR scheme, I thought you might be interested to know that I responded to their Thanksgiving "What are you thankful for" thing by saying "I'm thankful for independent news sources like Unsuck DC Metro which actually report on WMATA's myriad failings instead of credulously republishing press releases" and was promptly banned from the site for "inappropriate behavior" in form of posting "obscene, hateful, or derogatory" content.

Mindmixer's CEO did not respond to an opportunity to comment.

Other items:
Metro legal fees mount (Examiner)
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