Friday, February 06, 2009

The Public's Trust


Metro never ceases to amaze me with their shortsightedness. From accidents, to poor service, to downright thievery on part of their very own employees, Washington's Subway system has always been an enigma--much needed but never fully satisfactory. Always quick to pat themselves on the back when they succeed (The recent Presidential Inauguration comes to mind), The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority continually and rarely faces up to their inadequate and never ceasing customer relations problems.

Now comes Metro's latest PR snafu.

Like many businesses around The Greater Washington, DC Area and our country itself, there is a big pinch thanks to a serious recession. Money is tight and businesses are cutting back. Job layoffs are happening all over. Life is not fun for many. And Metro finds itself with yet another serious budget shortfall to cover. The Transit Agency needs to find ways to make their ends meet--that's understandable. But two of the proposals being reported to save Metro money in the future include--shutting down the entire Metro System at 10PM on Weeknights--and eliminating the Yellow Line service every weekend. Talk about cutting off your nose despite your face--once again Metro fails to prioritize what's important to their future as a Public Transit System.

They are suppose to transport the public--not turn the public away.

Understanding that these are just IDEAS thrown out on the table for possible consideration--why not just go ahead and tell Our Washington Nationals, The Washington Capitals, The Washington Wizards, DC United and just about any entertainment venue in Downtown Washington DC to provide for their own patrons--personal transportation to and from their respective events. Because if Metro shuts down those services as proposed--chaos breaks out. The scramble will be on to get customers in and out of venues with unreliable ease. A problem Metro will lay off on every single Entertainment and Sports Venue in The Nation's Capital, wiping their hands clean of an uproar Metro will be responsible for starting themselves. Upsetting everyone save, most likely, The Washington Redskins. Because you can bet the ranch that even if these drastic measures do eventually go through--METRO would step up to the plate for The Washington Redskins for each and every home game. Shudder the thought if anyone goes against The Burgundy and Gold and their 90,000 odd fans at Fed Ex Field.

Sports Teams and Entertainment Venues are already seeing a drop off in extra-curricula spending. Tickets are not being sold at a brisk pace these days. Many families and individuals are cutting back, saving their hard earned dollars for necessities--not Sports or The Theatre. So, if Metro follows through with their proposal to shutdown service at 10PM on weeknights and The Yellow Line every weekend--they might as well tell Our Washington Nationals, National Theatre and just about every other revenue producing entertainment business in town to take a hike--and find somewhere else to play.

Once again--those running Metro just don't get it. Shortsighted these proposals are and one of the very reasons Metro is so lacking of the public's trust.

Metro--please find a better way to save our tax given and fare dollars. There is no excuse for cutting back major service when so many businesses and people demand it from you. Understand Metro, you need to get your own house in order first, before you end up stranding so many more riders inside their very own homes--with nowhere else to go.

Not only will Metro make even less money, but so will most any other business in Washington that depends on you.

9 comments:

Sam said...

SBF,

How troubling is this? Particularly in light of the very concerted effort on by Metro and the Nationals to promote using Metro to get to the games. I can't imagine being at an exciting extra inning game or having a slight rain delay or heaven forbid a no-hitter (most likely by the opponents ;-)) and then looking at my watch and thinking I've got to leave to catch the last Metro Train....argh!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Sam

Steve said...

SBF,

This is another body blow to the future of baseball in D.C., unless Metro changes its mind (or we help them to).

While I want to leave a comment bashing Metro, I think it might be more productive to respectfully - and it is vital it is done in a professional and respectful way - dissent and ask Metro to consider making an exception to stay open later on evenings when the Nats have a home night game.

Here's a link to the page that lists Metro's Board of Directors.

http://wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/

I really feel for the Nationals and us fans. Like my son said, "It seems like everything is against them."

Now, I'm going to write Metro!

The Economist.... said...

That crazy, they hike there fare every other month and then say they having budget falls. funny you never here nyc have this problem.

Kenny G said...

it doesn't make any sense to me how cities with lower ridership numbers have more money going into their public transportation systems.

Sean said...

NYC doesn't have this big of a problem because they have a dedicated funding source for their transit systems. (Although NYC has actually seen some service cuts this year due to budget concerns.) In our area it's hard to get DC, Maryland and Virginia to pony up.

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill, everybody. Have you ever heard of the "Washington Monument" theory of cost savings, as in the Park Service gets faced with a budget cut and threatens to close the Washington Monument as a cost saving measure? It won't happen!

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I can deal with a fare hike, but there is no way I can drive to Nationals Park, find a parking space (WHERE???) and then get back home at a reasonable hour when I have to wake up very early in the morning. That's why I leave the game early on weeknights. Now to be fair, I sometimes manage to get back by Shady Grove by 10 PM, but do they really want EVERYBODY leaving the park that early?

What happens if this goes into effect and D.C. United is playing a game at RFK Stadium? Isn't there a D.C. Council member who wants to kill the Nats shuttle because he wants the bus to stop by Eastern Market?

There are die-hard fans like us who want to see the games even though the team is bad, but we can't do so if we can't GET to the games!

Jon Hervena said...

Step back...the doors are closing. How many times have we heard that. Are the doors really closing?

Surveys have been conducted in North Carolina for a baseball relocation team with favorable feedback and several investment groups have lined up. Under the current banking troubles could halt this but there is a growing interest in Raleigh with Charlotte magnet Bob Johnson making some noise.

Are the Lerners putting a PR front to include Metro as the exit plan? This is not the first that early exit has been discussed behind close doors.

If this has legs, then it's Raleigh, NC. Charlotte has too many banking matters to deal with a the current stage under the TARP situation.

Raleigh has the population, economic reach, and better layout vision for this move.

Stay tuned. Follow this story.

An Briosca Mor said...

Raleigh or anywhere else for the Nationals? Not happening. They have a 30-year lease here. That's binding on the city and the team. MLB did not move the team here only to have it move again in just a few years. Dream on, Raleigh - or anywhere else for that matter.