Saturday, July 08, 2017

A Reward for Surviving SafeTrack

So SafeTrack is now officially over. As a reward Metro handed out a voucher for a free coffee at McDonalds.

I got a couple of them. Not that I drink coffee but I know people who do and thought they'd might like to have the coupons. They handed them out at all the stations and for a couple of days. How many people will actually use them is of course debatable.

I guess it was a nice gesture. But I can see how some people might not take too kindly to it.

The Post had a great story on it. The reaction to the coupons was definitely mixed:
“#WMATA trying to bribe me with free coffee just makes me angrier than before,” declared one rider.

One woman, who was handed a coupon from Wiedefeld, took it and glanced at the text. On the back was a note, from the general manager himself, acknowledging that “this has not been an easy journey for our customers and we appreciate your loyalty.”

“Seriously?” she said, glaring, then kept walking toward the platform.
But other's reacted differently:
“Are you the general manager?” 40-year-old Rasika Kalamegham asked Wiedefeld incredulously.

“Yes,” he said.

Kalamegham’s face lit up.

“I love you, you’re amazing,” she told Wiedefeld. “I thought you were amazing when you ran BWI. . . . It was my favorite airport.”

After taking a photo with Wiedefeld — “This is going on Instagram,” she declared — Kalamegham, a D.C. resident of 10 years, explained why she continues to carry so much enthusiasm for the challenge-prone transit agency.

“Metro is the lifeblood of D.C., and people under-appreciate this public resource,” she said. The root of the problem, she said, lies with Congress. It is a lack of funding that causes chronic problems, and she wishes people were more “civic-minded” when it came to appreciating the tough job that WMATA faces.
I think I'm somewhere between these two reactions. It is nice that there is some acknowledgment of what people had to put up with when SafeTrack was going on. On the other hand just a few weeks earlier prices went up and service was cut back. And there is more work and more disruptions on the way.

In all I'm going to give them a B on this. The main thing to hope is that all this work actually made a difference. As we say in my family we'll see.

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