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Early customer feedback favors WMATA's communication plan


After two months, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) "Call to Action" campaign to improve customer communication is getting positive reviews, General Manager Richard White told the board Oct. 13.

The agency recently conducted customer focus groups. WMATA’s "We Stop — We Tell" policy, which requires train operators to make an announcement at least once every two minutes if a train is delayed, received high marks for improving information during train incidents and service disruptions. Focus-group members also noticed riders now are referred to as customers.

Other initiatives begun under Call to Action’s Phase I include training customer service representatives to improve announcement quality; posting "Metro Works" signs on out-of-service escalators and elevators with the date the unit is scheduled to be back in operation; posting escalator and elevator service availability to WMATA’s Web site; redeploying 12 spare rail cars on the Blue and Yellow lines, which provides 4,000 more seats during peak periods; and increasing top management presence on trains, at stations, in schools, at career fairs and before community groups.

WMATA also is trying to reduce the possibility of small trash fires in its tunnels by cleaning third-rail insulators. The agency recently completed rail cleaning with existing equipment, and plans to complete a second round with new cleaning equipment by late December.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/16/2000