Friday, May 29, 2009

Caption Contest XI

Write a caption for the above photo using the comments.

Here's our try:
No eating or drinking in Metro, and this time we mean it.

Previous caption contests here.

Photo: buschap
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Metro Launches NextBusStop

Metro's NextBusStop program is apparently still in a feasibility study stage at 13th and H. Too bad for this guy.
Got another nomination for suckinest bus stop in Metro? Show us.

Updated information on NextBusStop:

The driver asked me yesterday "What happened to the bus stop?"
Like I personally tore it down and left it that way.

I asked him "don't you know what happened?"

His reply "Just because I work for Metro doesn't mean I know what's going on."
Thanks for the photo and info Converting a Spendthrift!

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Unthinking, Insensitive Doors Boot Passengers from Priority Seating

Metro's new courtesy campaign encourages you to give up your seat for someone who needs it. The flip side is that Metro's frequent door issues all too often take that seat right back and then put a disabled or injured passenger through an obstacle course even the most able bodied find difficult to traverse.
From Blue Line rider Addison H.:
I was traveling on the Blue line toward Franconia-Springfield this morning when my train experienced severe door failure. We pulled into National Airport station and then pulled away without discharging any of the tourists and travelers who were patiently waiting by the doors, suitcases in hand, no doubt ready to catch a flight.
This prompted a flurry of curses in German and a frantic cell phone call from the nice couple standing next to me. I originally thought we missed the station, but when we pulled into Braddock Road, the operator came over the intercom and asked "if the doors of car #3085 do not open, please let me know." I looked back: Yup, I was in car #3085.
Deep sigh.
Luckily, for the airport crowd, the doors opened at Braddock Road, and they were able to disembark but no doubt gifted some additional stress about whether they'd make their flights.
King Street however, was a different story. We pulled into the station, but again the doors didn't open. The chimes and disembodied voice worked, but the doors remained shut fast. People rushed for the emergency intercoms at both ends of the train.
The operator tried to cycle the doors, then came into the car and tried the emergency door opener, but to no avail. Finally, he led the occupants of the car through the emergency exit and onto the platform via the car in front of 3085.
Thanks Metro!
For those of you who aren't aware or haven't had the pleasure of escaping from a Metro car, the emergency doors are located at either end of a train car. They open and you walk across the coupling between the cars into the car ahead of or behind the stricken car. Looking down you can see the gravel and rails. I would not want to attempt this on a moving train.
This maneuver would be extremely difficult for a handicapped person, someone on crutches or someone with a service animal.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Catoe

You've been named the nation’s 2009 top public transportation manager by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
The list of accomplishments on your press release was quite long, and as we've said before, despite Metro's shortcomings, we can't imagine how much worse the area would be without it. And frankly, compared to other U.S. mass transit systems we've used--NYC, Chicago, Boston and Charlotte--Metro is definitely toward the top of that list. On a world stage, we know Metro would fare much less favorably.
But that said, we appreciate your efforts regarding safety and cleanliness. Your record in these areas deserves praise.
However, we think you need to work harder toward your goal of achieving better customer service.
Customer service received scant space in your lengthy press release compared to the inauguration, and our blog is filled with entries from riders about rude personnel, inept crews, late trains, broken down trains, door malfunctions and much more.
It disappoints us how silent you've been about many of the problems.
On May 6, in the “Get There” blog on, there was a memo from the CEO of Virginia Railway Express (VRE) offering his customers an apology of sorts, calling VRE’s March service “abysmal” and “unacceptable.”
He then outlined steps VRE was taking to turn things around.
We realize it's just a letter, but the symbolic value is great. It shows that at the very top of the organization there is concern. VRE still must actually do the work to improve things, but a letter like this can have a strong effect on suffering passengers.
We once asked our readers if you should go, but maybe the APTA knows something riders don't.
We hope this award gives you the added impetus to tackle the hard work ahead to make "the best ride in the nation" a fact, not a slogan.

Other News:
Vending plan shelved over food issue. (WaPo)

Why Islam Planning Bus Ad Campaign

The group appears to be preparing an advertising campaign on DC area buses.
We got word of this via @whyislamdc who tweeted the following:
WhyIslam DC's bus ads for the DC-Metro transportation system are coming soon. Prepare to be wowed insha Allah!
According to the Islamic Circle of North America, a grass roots organization which "seeks to obtain the pleasure of Allah through working for the establishment of Islam in all spheres of life," [a] contract has been signed with CBS Outdoors (they handle Metro's advertising) to have 'WhyIslam' posters on "50 buses for 4 weeks. These posters will include basic message of Islam and invitation to viewers to call dawah hot line 1-877-WHYISLAM."
Money for the campaign, about $35,000, the Web site said, was raised during a recent DC area fundraiser.
Metro doesn't know if this is true or not and deferred questions to CBS Outdoors, which said only that they can't talk about upcoming campaigns.
Why Islam ran a similar campaign ran in New York last year, causing quite a stir. (GREAT headline) Another campaign ran in the San Fran area. More here about the NYC ads.
What do you think of this? No big deal? Hey, Metro could use the money. Free speech above all else? Is Metro out of their minds?

More on religious advertising on buses. Who knew it was the way to go?

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