Douglas M. Duncan [“What if Metro put riders first?” Local Opinions, Sept. 2] had it right: Metro is a great transit system, but it could be so much better if it simply operated with evidence of concern for its customers. Just one example:
I am a regular user of Farragut North, the fourth most heavily used station in the system. Can you imagine Nordstrom (or any successful retailer) taking its fourth most heavily patronized branch and leaving a substantial portion (the entire northern part of the platform) with negligible lighting, no place to sit, construction barricades creating dangerously narrow walkways between the barrier and the edge of the platform, broken escalators (of course), and — most puzzling to me — no signage explaining to the captive audience waiting there day after day why the station was a disaster area and when it would be put back together again. This went on for months! Even when some signage finally appeared, it contained no substantive information beyond a “pardon our dust” sensibility.
Why can’t the station manager serve as the “mayor” of the station — constantly looking for things that need to be improved and fixing them, welcoming customers, having access to immediate maintenance service to resolve minor items. Instead of keeping managers walled into kiosks, what about encouraging them to actively manage the station?
Come on, Metro. Try acting as if the customer had other options (which many of us do) and show us why we should continue to patronize you.
Ellen M. McCarthy, Washington
Here’s an idea to help Metro move toward a “rider-centered” philosophy [letters, Sept. 5]: Ask us.
Every year, I eagerly accept a Metro rider survey form, handed out at a randomly selected station, thinking that finally — finally — here’s my chance to let officials know how I feel. Instead, I’m asked where I board, where I disembark, if I’m using Metro for work, if I ride the bus. Period, end of questions, thank you very much, please place the survey form in the box as you exit the station.
Every year, disappointed, I ask Metro, in scribbles along the margins of the survey form, why they don’t ask the real questions. What’s working? What isn’t working? What suggestions do you have to improve performance and ease of use? I think that real surveys would provide Metro with real ideas to improve our dreary daily commutes and the transit experiences of millions of befuddled tourists.
Hey, it’s worth a try.
Alice Mayio, Bethesda