Thursday, December 10, 2009

To the Moon and Back--Four Times!

We spotted this ad for Metrobus at the Clarendon station the other day.

The driver pictured is Lance Campbell, and according to the sign, he has driven 2 MILLION miles without an accident. That is the "equivalent of four round-trips to the moon," the sign says.

That's pretty effin' incredible, especially in a town where the roads are largely the domain of the most potent and vile concentration of a-hole drivers, seemingly hand picked from around the country for their prodigious a-holeian tendencies.

This guy Campbell is doing some serious unsucking!

Campbell's story made us curious about what WMATA does to reinforce super-mega excellence like this, since it seems they have a problem getting rid of the super mega failures.

We also wanted to know what Metro does to reinforce this kind of amazing dedication and what they do to try to get it to percolate throughout the operator culture.

So, besides personal pride and being featured in an ad, what sort of extravagant awards are bestowed upon the best WMATA has to offer? Jewel encrusted steering wheels? Working radios? Extra comfy seats with 100,000 thread count Egyptian cotton seat covers? Piles of cash money? Access to the velvet rope area of the WMATA cafeteria? Keys to the executive bathroom?

"It's Authority recognition, a patch and pin," said WMATA. Period.

Say what?!

"$500, $1,000 and $1,500 for 1, 2 and 3 million miles." Metro divulged after a little prodding. They added that it takes 10-12 years for a bus operator to achieve one million miles. So the awards work out to about 45 bucks a year.

Do you think that's too much, about right or a pittance?

Recently, we posted a story about a station manager who GOT ON THE TRACKS to fetch a rider's MP3 player. Metro contacted us to see if we could help them identify the manager so as to reward him, which we thought was impressive. (No word on if they were able to or not.)

The award for that guy, if they find him?

Recognition and 100 bucks. No ham. Possibly a plaque.

Depending on the MP3 player, the manager might have made out better refusing to retrieve it and going back later to get it for himself!

So, if not through lavish awards, how is this excellence highlighted and promoted throughout WMATA?

According to Metro, if/when" drivers like Campbell "decide to change from driving, the next logical step is training instructors. They also speak to new hires at training graduation."

Metro said Campbell still drives a bus daily.

If you see him, thank him. He truly delivers on the WMATA slogan, "best ride in the nation."

Other items:
Live chat with Metro Board member Chris Zimmerman (GGW)


Anonymous said...

Anyone with an ethical hangup with cloning should read this.

N/A said...

We choose to unsuck the metro. We choose to unsuck the metro...and to do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

...first thing that came to mind.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but if he's been driving that long he's probably one of the drivers making $100,000. He should get more recognition yes, but he's more than likely making good money as it is.

roma said...

Okay, good drivers should get more recognition. However, safe driving should be the STANDARD. "The New Metrobus: See How Far We've Come" slogan is ridiculous. They're touting the "average" as "exceptional" because the ACTUAL standard is terrible.

Anonymous said...

No ham?!

Anonymous said...

It's a Simpsons reference.

Margaret Williams said...

Fire Catoe and put this guy in charge! In all seriousness, I wonder what kind of input the Board and Sr. mgmt get from dedicated workers like this who obviously care.

greyintheusa said...

Anon #2 makes a good point, the driver's probably getting a decent paycheck. I don't think monetary bonuses are proper in this case anyway. A raise following a performance review, sure. It's definitely commendable though, if true...

Anonymous said...

You are delusional if you believe Metro is going to go out of their way to identify the MP3 rescuing individual to reward him/her.
He violated a basic safety rule by reaching over the platform, regardless how nice an action it might have been. This is precisely how employees end up hurt and WMATA ridiculed on sites like this.
They want to know who that is to look for a way to nail this person.
You just cannot jump down or reach over the platform because it is unsafe, and because you are now going to have every numb nut expecting you to rescue their MP3/BlackBerry or try to do it themselves.

Anonymous said...


this guy is NOT the STANDARD! the standard is 'i don't give a fuck.'

ksu499 said...

Metro cannot award this guy in any way that is not spelled out in the union contract. I used to work in a unionized firm and my secretary quit the union over the union's unmoving opposition to any sort of merit pay structure for bargaining unit employees. No matter how good or bad you are, everyone gets the same lock-step pay scale. She got tired of busting her butt and getting the same thing as those who just did enough to get by. Quitting the union didn't change anything, but she sent them a signal,as she was a senior non-mgmt employee.

Anonymous said...

"Best ride in the nation" for the service that kills, through its own negligence, its employees and passengers in national record setting numbers.

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