Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fighting the Culture of Low Expectations--My First Complaint Letter to Metro for You!

It's a new month and Fall is only a few weeks away--time for a new direction for my blog? Maybe I should try dedicating my blog to doing good work this month. No more selfish, whining posts about finding a roommate, people who improperly shuck corn or the death of the doorbell. You know, make my blog all serious and meaningful and about YOU! Think DailyKos without the impartiality.

With that in mind I decided that after years of questionable service on Metro I would start escalating my complaints. How can they fix problems if due to our Culture of Low Expectations, we don't let them know when things are unacceptable? Did you know that there is an online Customer Comment form? (Bookmark this NOW!)

Now that my knees bark and my back howls when going up stairs (wait this really isn't about me, I am thinking of you!) I am very sensitive to when escalators are out of service. I have always been told when an escalator is out of service the remaining escalator should be used to ferry passengers upward. But how many times have we seen the case where those going down are on the working escalator while those going up have to trudge their way upwards on a dead escalator?

Observing this scenario during rush hour at Gallery/Place Chinatown submitted my first complaint, I mean Customer Comment form and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Herb of DC:

Thank you for taking the time to write to Metro's Red Line Team concerning the direction of escalators at Gallery Place-Chinatown station. I apologize for any inconvenience you experienced. Each station has an escalator plan outlining which direction the escalator should be going. Our policy states that there should always be an escalator going in the up direction, in response to our riders have who stated It's easier to walk down an escalator than to walk up an escalator. I check with the station manager on duty today and he stated that they could get the escalator to go in the up direction.

In the future, please asked the station manager if he/she can reverse the escalator.

Blah, Blah blah standard text yadda yadda yadda


Helen (Becky) Metro
Case 42XXXX

Score one for me! Metro admitted they were in the wrong! Although I was a little confused as to why it is my job to asked the manager. Shouldn't someone on staff notice all the huffing and puffing escalator hikers and asked the manager themselves?

But 5 minutes later I got another email from Helen (Becky) Metro ominously titled "Correction to Email."

h oh, was Helen (Becky) Metro going to reveal that her name is really Becky (Helen) Metro? Maybe tell me I should axe not asked the manager?

Dear Mr. Herb of DC:

I apologize for the mistake. I meant that "they couldn't get the escalator to go in the up direction".


Metro. Just can't get it up. I can see the new ad campaign now!

It's going to be a long month. But let me know who/what you want me take on next. September only hath 30 days.


Gilahi said...

I have a suggestion for Metro. When I'm waiting a station and looking at the electronic signs to see when my train is coming, I always have to wait several minutes while they list every single escalator outage in the entire system. It would be quicker if they just listed the escalators that are working.

lacochran said...

We sat on a metro car in the station for over half an hour with no metro people in sight and no information coming over the intercom as to when the train might be moving. Oh, to have known of the comment form then, when we were late for meeting friends and full of righteous indignation!

Thanks for the public service! Although not a very helpful response, at least you got more than a form letter. You rate!

Foilwoman said...

You might want to notify the MetroSuperHero (more effective than aluminum foil, as I've always admitted) MetroMan at IMetro, with the delightful blogspot URL of

Scenic Wheaton said...

can you ask wise metro to move their elevator button from the back wall of the Forest Glen metro (which is the only stop without an escalator) to the front? I am always sprinting past the closing elevator door to the button to open the door just in time to miss the elevator entirely. It makes me crazy and it happens every single morning.
Thanks a bunch! And your blog is totally hilarious.