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Posted at 6:13 PM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Out in the cold at Metro headquarters

By William J. Camarinos, Alexandria

I went to Metro’s headquarters at 600 Fifth St. NW last week to turn in a cracked SmarTrip card and obtain a replacement. The building contains an attractive and spacious lobby. Upon inquiry with the lobby security personnel, I was directed to the plaza outside, where there were two service windows, one of them staffed, and a long line of shivering people awaiting service. The sun was shining brightly, but the temperature was below freezing.

I went to the end of the slow-moving line. After an hour, I abandoned my quest. There has to be a better way.

Metro constantly emphasizes its commitment to service and the comfort of its riders. One way it could show this commitment is by setting up a desk in the expansive (and warm) lobby and inviting those suffering in the line outdoors to transact their business inside.

While waiting in line, I watched as a stream of Metro personnel entered and exited 600 Fifth St. Couldn’t one of them have taken a simple action to improve the status of Metro’s freezing customers by opening the lobby for customer service?

By William J. Camarinos, Alexandria  | January 7, 2011; 6:13 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Metro, transportation  
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The joke's on you! If you HAD gotten to the head of the line, I bet you would have been blown off as I was at Metro Center.

Seems Metro can't be bothered to "exchange" your Metro card (& $5, of course) for a new one....So just buy a new one, period.

Ernestine no longer works for Ma Bell; she's in charge of customer service at Metro...

Posted by: j_oper | January 8, 2011 12:56 AM | Report abuse

What makes you think they care about you, your cracked card or if you freeze on the street? Do they have competition?

Posted by: observer100 | January 8, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

METRO's actions speak loud and clear: Accommodate customers in the lobby? That would mare the appearance of the lobby. Customers be dammed.

Change the culture and system, and change it NOW:

-- Pay for performance (including customer satisfaction).

-- A regular duty of each and every Metro board member and top management executive should be to engage with all of the various aspects of Metro. Each one's engagement should be transparent, i.e., reported on the Metro web site.

-- Be accountable to customers: Post customer kudos and complaints, with Metro's responses, on the Metro web site.

Posted by: jimb | January 12, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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