A Lack of Courtesy

Rachel Gibson

I had a buzz-killing exchange with a Metro supervisor Saturday.

I was giddy about going to a game for the first time in 11 days (gasp!). I knew there would be green line track work and planned my route to the game accordingly. I'd seen something in press releases and e-mails about free shuttles from various metro stops, so I bypassed the green line and rode to Union Station hoping to catch one to the game.

Evidently, the shuttles were for AFTER the game but I didn't know that at the time.

Outside Union Station a little before 6 p.m., I looked around and saw different lines of buses, none of which were obvious shuttles to the ballpark. I approached Supervisor Tim Driscoll, in his Metro uniform with a bright, neon reflective vest that screamed, 'QUESTIONS? ASK ME!' So I did. I asked where the free shuttle to the ballpark was and was joined by another fan, Melanie Wyne, asking the same question.

He answered us sternly and angrily like we were little kids who'd asked him 10 times already. 'There are NO. FREE. SHUTTLES. There's the N-22 and it's not free.' When Melanie insisted the free shuttles were mentioned on the WMATA website, he got attitude and snapped again, a couple times, 'There are no free shuttles!'

The funny thing is that on the way in I was feeling so expansive, so impressed that WMATA and the Nationals had gotten together to remedy the subway problems on a game night. Mr. Driscoll was so incredibly rude, it killed any good feelings I had going into the game.

Of course, the game itself didn't do much uplifting either. Though I'd like to, I guess I can't blame Mr. Driscoll for the Marlins' 7 runs in the 4th.

Anyway, all he had to say was, 'I'm not sure, let me check;' or 'I'm sorry, it must have been a mistake." Anything in a calmer more helpful voice would have been appropriate and appreciated. We certainly weren't the only ones expecting free shuttles from Union Station.

Sure, we were evidently mistaken about the free shuttles going TO the game, but that doesn't change the need for Metro supervisors to extend a little courtesy and assistance to his customers.

By Rachel Gibson  |  May 12, 2008; 4:57 PM ET  | Category:  Rachel Gibson , Taking Metro
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While rudeness is not acceptable, the Metro employee did give you the correct information that there were no free shuttles to the game and that you could take the N-22 Metrobus. The Metro press release and Lena Sun's article in the Post were pretty clear about the shuttles being after the game. When I have to travel into the District on weekends for events, such as sporting events, I check Metro's website on Thursday afternoon as Metro posts the press releases for weekend track work to see if I will need to make adjustments to my travel plans. If necessary, I print out the press release and take it with me if I think I might need the information; better then relying on my ever failing memory.

Posted by: CW | May 12, 2008 9:57 PM

Thanks. I conceded my mistake twice in my post. The point was the rudeness.

Posted by: Gibson | May 13, 2008 10:27 AM

The rudeness is bad and the attitude that "you, the customer" causes them inconvenience is worse. Metro's point of view often seems to be that they could run a first class system if it didn't have to deal with passengers.

The problem with Metro to NatsPark is the hassle factor. I don't mind waiting. It's waiting on crowded platforms watching successive Yellow line trains go by while the volume of impatient fans grows that gets old. Or watching the inefficient handling of the stream of foot traffic at the Navy Yard station that bugs me.

Posted by: Tom Brooke | May 13, 2008 11:08 AM

I don't like metro, but I like bananas.

Posted by: Human2Ape | May 13, 2008 11:20 AM

Wait, you mean you were hoping for customer service from Metro??? Customer friendly Metro??? You know, the organization that pays it's people so well that they're going into banruptcy and taking their customers down with them? Metro???

Posted by: F-Rod | May 13, 2008 11:54 AM

I didn't realize that this blog was now the Metro customer service complaints blog, or the "whine about anything that I can tangentially connect to Nats' Park" blog. In all seriousness, why are you writing about this? Someone from Metro was rude to you when you happened to be going to a Nats' game? That's as shocking as gambling in Casablanca!

Posted by: annoyed natsfan | May 13, 2008 3:26 PM

Same point could have been made in a quarter of the space. A rude Metro employee, wow. And I don't believe the part about the buzz-kill, where you really buzzed at the time?

Posted by: (419+1)*0 | May 22, 2008 6:01 PM

If metro had serious competition, it would be out of business. I have had so many bad experiences with their staff, I wonder if they advertise job openings looking for people who don't have good communication skills. I don't have bad customer service experiences in stores or with utility companies, but somehow metro seems to have attracted the worst of the worst. Could it be due to the horrid DC public school system?

Posted by: Me | May 29, 2008 10:46 PM

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