MetroFAIL. Again. (Rinse, Repeat)

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courtesy of ‘sofafort’

And the Metro angst continues.

Kudos to James Hohmann over at WaPo for his breakdown of yesterday’s absurd circus between WMATA and its board members. What’s utterly appalling is Metro’s insistence that their August 5 press release was enough notice.

While the notice does mention “major track maintenance rehabilitation program during the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend,” it does not list September 4 – 7 as dates that particular stations will be closed. Only the weekday evenings particular stations would be shut in the evening. Nowhere in the release does it state anything about three stations being closed for three days.

Granted, I picked up on the fact that Labor Day might see some issues and planned accordingly. But I also keep abreast of Metro issues for the sake of this blog and based on past performances over the years, it was an easy inference to make.

But not so for regular riders, who rely on concise information from their primary mode of transporation in the region. And continually, Metro FAILS in communicating concise, factual information to the public. (Check Unsuck DC Metro for their ‘finish the tweet’ contests – they’re a prime example.)

Can’t fault the board on this one, despite Metro’s continued insistence on passing the buck. But then again, that’s their normal business model. Doubt me? Check out John Catoe, Jr’s non-apology on Channel 8 last night: “I’m sorry that the congressmen were not aware that we sent this notification a month ago. This was not done in a vacuum.”

Rep. Gerald Connolly from VA had the best reply: “The notion that the Aug. 5 notification constitutes public notice is absurd,” he said. “It doesn’t in any way, shape or form apprise the public. I think their excuse is just indefensible.”

While I still think the closing is the best of a bad situation, communication from WMATA is not. I think most riders understand the situation when you explain it – which they didn’t. You’d think an agency suffering from the worst public exposure over the last three months would actually care about rebuilding its reputation. (And the moon is made of cheese, too.)

I have a challenge for you, WMATA. Hire me to write your communications. (Beware, I’m not cheap.) I may not have ‘official’ PR experience, but it’s better than the monkeys sitting at typewriters you’re using over there.

Get with it or get out, John.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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3 thoughts on “MetroFAIL. Again. (Rinse, Repeat)

  1. I don’t really have a lot of empathy for people complaining about the late notice. I’ve known for the past month that Metro was going to be closed this weekend, as did several other of my friends who live in the stretch that will be closed. Metro has had information on their website about this planned closure for awhile. Yes, they could have communicated it better, but we also have to be adults and take responsibility for our own transportation needs.

  2. The problem is, Kartasi, that Metro never DID state for sure that those stations would be closed. Look closely at the August 5 press release; they only mention the weekday night closings and says nothing about this weekend. There is nothing else on their website that gives info about this planned closure – if they had, then at least Greater Greater Washington, DCist and us would’ve mentioned it sooner.

    Now, you’re like me – you just automatically assumed there was going to be issues bleeding into the holiday weekend because that’s just how Metro rolls. Specifically though, none of us knew *what* WMATA’s plan was until they broke the news earlier this week.

    And that is what the board is bitching about. (Which is what I agree with on that matter – WMATA’s communication, simply put, SUCKS.)

  3. Is there anyone left in DC who doesn’t want to see Catoe walk the plank? How do we get rid of this amateur?