Metro is planning to close the Pentagon City, Chrystal City and National Airport stops starting at 9:30 pm this coming Friday. The stations will re-open on Tuesday. The announcement of this massive disruption of service over a long holiday weekend occurred Tuesday at 2:11 pm with a Metro press release. This allows 3 and a half days advanced notice of what Metro is planning to do.
To say that’s not enough time to inform people of the closing would be a huge understatement. I was on the subway three time since this information was released (Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning and evening). I’ve not heard a single public address announcement, seen anything on the electronic message boards or had a train operate say what was going to happen. Once again Metro pulls out all the stops to let people know what’s going on.
Then there is this incredible statement from the Metro spokesman (article from the Post):
Taubenkibel said that a mention at the end of an Aug. 5 news release about the repair work, which stated that trains wouldn't be able to operate between the three stations, should have been interpreted as an announcement that stations would be closed. He said final details of the plan were completed Tuesday.Should have been interpreted? When you make an announcement that stations are going to be closed especially over a weekend especially over a holiday weekend you state it up front, loud and clear so no one has to interpret anything. You say the stations are going to be CLOSED. How hard is that.
But this is Metro and giving out information to the riders of the system is something Metro seems completely incapable of doing. In fact in the 32 years that I’ve lived in DC (almost as long as the Metro’s been open) they have never been able to conquer this problem.
No matter how many times Metro is criticized for it’s abysmal performance of getting information out to the public, it never learns. The goal seems to be to keep the public in the dark.
And it seems they not only strive to keep the public in the dark but they keep the members of their own board in the dark:
Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille (D), a member of Metro's board, said Wednesday that he was unaware of the planned closure of the Reagan National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City stations until he saw a televised news report Tuesday night while he was working out at the gym.
The story continues with this:
Board members plan to discuss the closures and the way they were communicated during a Thursday morning conference call, said Metro board Chairman Jim Graham, a D.C. Council member.
"The board wants to review the justification for the action, as well as all of the steps that Metro staff have taken to alert the public, provide alternative transportation, and ameliorate the burden and inconvenience," Graham said in an e-mail.
Glad to see someone trying to do something. But at always with Metro it is after the fact. After the damage has been done.
The only conclusion that can be drawn from these actions is Metro has no interest in learning how to communicate with the riders or the public in general. The reason because they hold riders and the public in complete and total contempt.
Another job well done!