Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Numbers Don't Lie

So let's pretend, and I stress pretend, Metro's customer satisfaction survey is 100 percent accurate and 80 percent of Metrorail riders are indeed satisfied with the service, and 84 percent are happy with bus service.

After seemingly constant fare hikes, a new board, a new GM, years of weekend and nighttime track work, escalator replacements, straight As on all their "vital signs" reports, tons of new hires, new buses, Metroforward, Momentum, Rush+, pats on the back from every "stakeholder,"  and hundreds of millions spent "rebuilding the system" to "improve safety and reliability," it's about time the hard work and "investment" started paying off with higher numbers of satisfied riders, right?


Back in 2008,  less than a year before the fatal Red Line crash, 85 percent of Metrorail riders and 78 percent of Metrobus riders were satisfied with Metro service.

Back in 2007, 87 percent of Metrorail riders and 81 percent of Metrobus riders were satisfied with Metro service.

I could not find releases about earlier surveys, but in the two above, Metro said the numbers "remain consistent" from 2004.

Weird thing is that in 2003, when I'm pretty sure everyone thought Metro was at least little better than it is now (it certainly was cheaper), the satisfaction with Metrorail was 72 percent and 76 percent for Metrobus. Metro used what appears to be a different system of surveying in 2003.

I suppose some of this year's lower numbers could be explained by the constant track work over the weekends, but perhaps, if Metro were honest and forthcoming with riders and did a better job at managing expectations instead of rolling out self aggrandizing PR campaign after PR campaign, its relationship with its riders might be a little better. Instead, Metro continuously brags and boasts about how everything is just fine.

If you live on PR instead of real accomplishment,  eventually, even the cooked numbers won't lie.

If you're interested in some readers' comments on the methodology of the Metro survey, check out this and this. Also you can vote in the Unsuck rider satisfaction survey here

Other items:
Metro busts OT budget (Examiner)
Metro backs off cutting SE bus service (WaPo)

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