Rush Plus to mess up agency's on-time performance data

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Local,DC,Maryland,Virginia,Transportation,Kytja Weir

The Rush Plus change affecting every Metro line but the Red Line beginning Monday will mess up how Metro calculates if trains are on time, according to the transit agency.

Metro is planning on making a major shift in how it runs trains, putting some Blue Line trains during rush periods onto the Yellow Line tracks to make way for the coming Silver Line. That, in turn, will cause a ripple effect on the Orange, Yellow and Green lines.

The change in service will create uneven wait times between trains. The staggered timing means that the agency's on-time performance will "incorrectly decline," according to a Metro report slated to be presented to board members Thursday.

Glossy brochure part of $400k info campaign
Metro has been trying to get the word out to riders that Rush Plus will begin on Monday, hoping to mitigate confusion when it starts rerouting some Blue and Orange line trains. Among the efforts: a glossy, heavy stock square pamphlet.
Riders have complained that it is not informative and serves better duty as a drink coaster. The five-sheet fold-out does not spell out that riders will need to look at the destination of their train, not just their color, as Blue Line trains runs on Green and Yellow tracks and Orange Lines run on Blue ones. It also does not explain exactly where Blue Line riders will be losing out on service (answer: between Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza if they don't want to transfer).
Some also griped that the brochure is too fancy, suggesting that fare hikes beginning July 1 should not be used for such an expense.
So how much was the brochure? Metro does not have an exact calculation but said it is spending $165,000 on "customer communication materials" such as videos, fliers and web materials as part of the $400,000 information campaign to educate riders about the change.

Metro's on-time performance metrics are a big deal for the agency to see how well it is doing. Last year, the agency lowered the goal for trains' on-time performance from 95 percent to 90 percent in what General Manager Richard Sarles called a management tool to focus staff on making improvements.

But now, the report says, Metro needs to change the formula to compensate for what otherwise would be a drop and to "accurately reflect customer experience."

Spokeswoman Caroline Lukas declined to comment, saying Metro did not want to discuss it until the board could hear the agency's plans. - Kytja Weir

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Kytja Weir

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner