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)

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