Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Yin and Yang of Metro Employees

Meet "A.M. Haynes."

He's an a**hole.

And just after this pic was snapped, he gave us the finger.

Haynes was the station manager at Clarendon at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. As we entered the station, we saw him giving grief to someone whose farecard wasn't working. We didn't interfere and kept walking down to the platform.

After getting there and finding the next train was coming in 20 minutes, we decided to see how Mr. Haynes would react to a simple, friendly question that would require no work from him other than speaking a few words.

The door to his kiosk was open so we approached.

"How often do the trains come?" we asked in a completely pleasant tone.

"It come when it come," he said rudely, and turning his back. Obviously, Haynes was more interested in drinking his ginormous coffee.

"No, seriously, how often do they come at this time of night?" we asked, still being polite.

"Get the f**k out my door!" he barked. Adding a "F**k y'all" for good measure.

Give that man a raise!

Mr. Haynes has no business dealing with customers. None!

When we got back to East Falls Church, good ol' Khalil was kicked back in his fortress of solitude, so we decided to ask him the same question to see how he compared.

"Every 20 minutes," Khalil said matter of factly.

Wow! It's a challenge to make Khalil look good, but you did it, Mr. Haynes.

And then, on the other side of the coin, there's this guy from reader Matthew:

On the morning of Nov. 16 at Gallery Place/Chinatown, I was doing my normal transfer from the Yellow Line to the Red Line. A mass of us were working our way up the escalator trying to make it to the train on the platform. A few people started running when I saw the lights on the door flashing, indicating the doors were about to close.

No one was close to making it. The doors closed, and then the something amazing happened.

The train operator, realizing no one was on the train opened the doors back up and allowed us all to get on.

Not sure if he was a "rogue" operator or someone who finally gets it. Either way, nice job to that guy.

Other items:
Metro to approve $14k trip already underway (Examiner)
New bus stop design taking shape (GGW)
What is the most crowded part of Metro? (GGW)
Streetcars begin journey from Czech Republic (DCist)


Anonymous said...


And will WMATA do anything apart from apologizing with a form letter or complaining that this was posted publicly?

I won't hold my breath.

hoborocks said...

@Anonymous 9:18AM: What's the point of responding? It's hearsay at best, slanderous at worst. There's no evidence to back it up, and really...responding to every single accusation of impoliteness, I think WMATA has better things to do.

Anonymous said...

@hobowmatalover you mean bigger things to screw up?

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. If customers complain about that type of language and/or attitude it should always be investigated. People like that need help and to ignore it is asking for trouble all around. As well, it is downright scary when the person is his size and ones like me are the light-weights. Why should I pay for metro services and have to accept such treatment? How long would you keep your job talking to others like that? Children with parents should hear this in public by employees who are old enough to know better? They claim "safety first!" but how safe can I feel when the guy in charge (especially in case of emergencies) is already acting like that? If there is a fire or crises he'll be the first out and we'll be dead. No excuse.

Steve R. said...


Why would someone just make this up?

If you consider a reaction like this "impolite," what would rude be?

And with regard to better things WMATA could be doing, having employees who are baseline civil to me seems like a good place to start that doesn't cost much.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the behavior of the station manager was reprehensible, BUT the cell phone paparazzi and trying to elicit a response for the fun of is a bit much....

Unsuck DC Metro said...

@anon 10:28
the response we were trying to elicit was "every 20 minutes."

Erik said...

It just shows that WMATA should be doing the same EXACT thing sending "customers" to the station mangers asking questions to check customer service. If this is a typical response, it shows WMATA isn't doing anything of the sort. Customer service representatives on the phone have their calls recorded for quality, in stores have managers watching them, but at WMATA apparently nothing. If the customers aren't going to complain, we will just suffer with more bad service.

Anonymous said...

@hoborocks: "I think WMATA has better things to do"

Seriously? An organization that exists to serve the public has better things to do than ensuring paying customers aren't verbally abused by their employees?

I'm not trying to suggest they respond to every single last rude comment, but really, this goes beyond the "standard" level of negativity we've come to expect.

And as someone else mentioned, I have to wonder what you would consider worthy of reporting, if this was merely "impolite"...are you trying to say that we have to wait for the workers to start throwing punches or something first?

Anonymous said...

If metro can't even get their employees to answer questions about the service how can we expect them to get us where we need to be in a timely and safe manner? This illustrates that metro is failing on all levels.

Kudos to the conductor who waited so people could board! At least some of the metor employees are nice.

Anonymous said...

He's in the union. They run Metro. Nothing is going to happen. He'll never be fired. He makes more than you do. He can do whatever he wants, and the union will back him every time. As long as that union is running Metro, nothing is going to change.

Anonymous said...

maybe he feels intimidated by having a bunch of drunk white yuppies (this is clarendon after all) up in his grill every weekend night.

yes, we all know Metro stinks at customer service, get over it, and move on with your life. So does the DMV, the IRS, and pretty much every other large bureaucracy.

Worry about important things like proper oversight and safety and budgeting issues. Tell your Congressman to stop underfunding Metro. Show up and protest in front of WMATA HQ. Stop whining on a blog.

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:59
ah so it's all about race then?

if the solution is that simple, then WMATA should conduct a demographic profile of each station and staff the stations with the predominant race of the customers of that station.

that way no poor wmata employee will ever feel all intimidated and lash out at his oppressor. aww. poor them.

i'm sure all the problems will go away.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon of 11:59am. If he feels intimidated with his size and that attitude, what is he going to be like if you *really* piss him off, even accidentally? The question asked was legit and he should have been able to answer it. And the whining on this blog is read by Metro. You want us to stop? You think his (union-backed) attitude is caused by Metro's lack of funding? Not meaning to be rude myself but I must ask: what planet are you from or are you a Metro employee?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59 FTW.

I want to take a picture of you sometime when you're being rude and put it up on the internet. Then I'll be solving problems!

Get a life. Metro has serious problems. This is just masturbation.

And yes, someone should figure out why conductors are closing the doors prematurely so much recently.

Anonymous said...

Love that Khalil has become a recurring character!

Anonymous said...

anon 1:10

for years, the bad apples have been multiplying among metro workers--ask a lot of metro workers. ask me. i'm one.

one reason this happened is that there was no way to hold any jerks like the one in this photo accountable for their actions. many metro workers are out there alone with no one watching.

well, now there are people watching, and i can speak for more than a few of us here that we're glad they are. if your doing your job, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

i've commented on this site before that we once had a good union, it has now been overrun and ruined by a sense of entitlement among many of the rank and file.

i shutter to think what metro will be like when the haynes of the world are in charge.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that someone has nothing better to do but complain about metro all day... Ride public transportation in some other areas, trust me, you'd be happy with what we have here.

Some people have bad days, i'm sure you do as well... GET OVER IT!

Anonymous said...

Actually that is not true. The public transit "subway" in the bay area of Calif is excellent and makes our area look pitiful and embarrassing. Yes, Anon - Please DO get over it. If you are so peeved at this blog, why are you reading and responding yourself?

Anonymous said...

What the hell is wrong with people in DC? It seems no one in DC likes good customer service! Is it so wrong to expect an the correct answer to a ligitemit question? Sure we all have bad days, that's when you give the aappropriate answer and then cuss the customer as soon as they are gone.

It is not whiny to expect people to be civil while doing their jobs. It is not whiny to expect not to get cussed at while asking the person that is there to help you for help!

Anonymous said...

The sad reality is that the metro employees in the stations aren't uniformly positive. Someone mentioned the idea of Metro using the equivalent of 'secret shoppers' to assess customer service and to hold less-than-cheery kiosk staff to a high standard; that seems like a good idea. On the other hand, there's a guy at Eastern Market most mornings who could not be nicer - he's basically like a Walmart greeter, happy, helpful, outgoing. They should get him a bonus for excellent customer service.

Anonymous said...

What did you expect from America's most successful government jobs program!

Anonymous said...

How sad that the "good" example here is someone basically just doing their job.

Anonymous said...

Hey is this the same jaggoff that works on Tuesday mornings at Federal Center SW station around 8:50am? That guy is a dink!

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