New Board members might be less quick to push back on the suggestion of service cuts, but they also are raising the quality of recommendations on technology, customer outreach, and performance metrics.
Mary Hynes, having noted the common complaint that Metro Tweets @metroopensdoors but doesn’t follow anyone or reply to tweets, made the radical suggestion that Metro “[think] about tweeting back.”
DC’s Tom Downs said that years ago, Metro had a big electronic sign in the lobby showing performance metrics. As those metrics deteriorated, first the sign stopped getting updated, then disappeared completely.
Jeff McKay warned against letting metrics drive personnel. The metrics, he said, are tools for improving service, not ways to get a “gotcha” on a particular staff member. That’s right, and if someone misses a goal a few times, it shouldn’t necessarily warrant punishment. Perhaps it’s the goal that’s wrong.
Also, a good organization wants to encourage people to set ambitious goals, it shouldn’t punish people for missing some of them. However, management should take a closer look at people who constantly don’t make real progress toward goals, to decide if either they’re setting unreasonable goals or aren’t doing good work.
Downs and others also pushed hard on better communication as well as better processes on escalator and elevator outages. Downs said that WMATA “did a lot of stupid things” which got the agency into its current escalator mess, adding, “Admitting we bought some junk and are replacing it is an important part of the story.”