- Slick new Metro car of the future. (Photo: Courtesy of WMATA)
WMATA is bouncing back from a nasty GAO report and escalator ire by initiating some awesome PR moves well-designed to cool tempers and cause oohs and ahhs. Let's review some smart actions that Metro has taken that will help people forget about recent troubles:
• New escalators at Foggy Bottom! WMATA tweeted that "brand new" escalators will go into service on Monday, July 11th. Maybe those will make people forget that recent New York Times piece on Metro escalators?
• Sweet, new, and very welcome features for Metro's SmarTrip passes have been unveiled. Commuters may soon be able to upload fares to their cards from the Internet rather than waiting at a busy kiosk in the station. WMATA is trying the concept out now with 5,000 customers in a four-week trial.
• Photos! Everyone loves photos, and transportation-lovers have spent the day drooling over the new renderings of Metro's 7,000-series of cars, set to be rolled out in 2013 in place of the older 1,000-series cars. These 64-seaters feature a sleek blue-and-grey interior, LCD route maps and four video screens per car, and a floor described as "nonslip." Get excited.
• Playing the name game. Metro also dropped news about a recent study the organization conducted that concluded riders prefer shorter, more distinctive station names. You can imagine the immediate head-scratching wonder that resulted as the media and D.C. residents came to consider what stations should be named.
Touché, WMATA. These recent announcements may provide just the right amount of flash to keep your customers happy. Maybe this'll distract from the Metro board member talking about how 16 members is too big, unwieldy, and detrimental to strategic thinking or the big Metro union's fears about worker safety also in the news today.