Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Metro's Broken Promises
So Metro announced a "revamp" in customer service. Nothing really says "we got nothing" quite like revamp, but let's take a look at what they promised:
First off, the "we're going to improve safety and reliability" meme has been going around the Jackson Graham building forever. Here it is in its 2008 GM Catoe-era form. Sounds positively Sarlesian, doesn't it? Six months after this release, things didn't work out well for Catoe and those killed and injured on the Red Line crash.
Here are the rest of the rejiggering promises:
"More customer service training": Been there in 2004. Remember this from the following year?
"New electronic information displays in Metrorail stations": Sound familiar (2008)?
"Focus on security and youth behavior": They were going to do this in 2009.
Metro also promised "remote temperature monitoring" as part "station improvements," presumably in response to the hot station "phenomenon." Sounds a little bit like the infamous "Operation Cool Breeze," which never happened. No word on remote odor monitoring caused by organic brake pads.
One thing that strikes me about "temperature monitoring" is that like most of Metro's initiatives, it doesn't really scream action.
To be fair, as the press release states, Metro has improved SmarTrip. It was a long, hard struggle to cross into the new millennium, but in 2012, Metro did it. Way to go guys!
(A station manager tells me the SmarTrip card purchase machines (not the fare machines) at the stations won't accept credit or debit cards for the next three weeks because of some kind of computer glitch. The one at East Falls Church only accepts cash for now.)
Of course you'd expect Metro to spin all this stuff, but you'd also expect the "watchdog" media to do a little more digging. Maybe searching Metro's press releases for "customer service" would be a good start.
Yet despite Metro burping up the same old stale stories year after year, and Metro slogging pitifully on with unreliable, unsafe and ever more expensive service, the local media just laps up the Metro press offload as if it's all a done deal. (No offense WJLA, you were just the first to regurgitate Metro's cud.)
The whole thing reminds me of the proverb, "a promise is a comfort for a fool."
at 5:30:00 AM