Share

Metro botches Jewish holiday calendar when planning promotion

|
Photo - A Yellow Line Metro train approaches the Eisenhower Ave station. (Examiner file photo)
A Yellow Line Metro train approaches the Eisenhower Ave station. (Examiner file photo)
Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir

Metro scheduled a new promotional campaign around the Jewish high holidays. But it turns out agency officials didn't check the calendar.

The Hello Yellow plan to encourage more riders to transfer from the Blue Line to the Yellow as a way to salvage the Rush Plus service pattern was supposed to be held Tuesday and Wednesday of this and next week.

But none of the yellow-shirted ambassadors was present Tuesday morning, according to a rider using the Pentagon station, and none of the Metro employees knew what he was talking about when he asked.

Metro had canceled the promotion without telling anyone. Spokeswoman Cathy Asato said Tuesday morning that the agency called off the four-day campaign because it fell during the high Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The irony is that when Metro had announced it planned to do the promotion, which included a $5 farecard giveaway and survey, Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Marketing and Communications Lynn Bowersox toldThe Washington Examiner the agency had scheduled it specifically to start on those four days because of the Jewish holidays.

The Jewish New Year started on Sunday night at sundown and ended Tuesday evening at sundown.

And next week, Yom Kippur is during the other two days scheduled for Hello Yellow.

The agency has rescheduled the promotion, but spokesman Philip Stewart said the agency will not be announcing the dates in advance "to avoid the misconception that this is a broad promotion or 'giveaway.' "

Metro called the Hello Yellow campaign instead a "highly focused customer initiative" intended to encourage riders who currently use the Blue Line to consider transferring to the Yellow Line.

Metro changed Blue Line service in June as part of the Rush Plus program to make room in the Rosslyn-Foggy Bottom tunnel for the Silver Line now under construction. But Blue Line riders, who lost train service in the deal, have been complaining about crowded conditions and having to wait as long as 12 minutes while paying peak prices.

The agency estimates that a few hundred riders could be transferring to the Yellow Line. Bowersox said customer survey data from July show that many of them haven't tried the transfer, which she said can be faster and less crowded.

The promotion is intended to have those select riders try it, with the $5 farecard as an incentive. Then the agency hopes they will take a survey so Metro can learn if riders were not transferring to the Yellow Line because they disliked it or merely hadn't tried it.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment