Josh Prince is a Westport commuter.
He’s also a blogger.
Metro-North: Watch out!
His “Longitude & Gratitude” blog is a grab-bag of clever, cogent observations about life in the burbs. The other day, though, Josh’s general good nature gave way to venting about Metro-North’s piss-poor performance
recently this winter for a long goddamn time.
Usually, Josh takes out his anger by tweeting. He tweets photos of delay signs. Leaking roofs. Crowded cars.
This time, though, he had a few blessed days off the rails. He wrote: “I’ve tried to dial back my own vitriol by thinking about why Metro North yields such a level of rage in me and others, and by offering a few realistic, actionable ways the railroad might start to alleviate it.”
His 1st point was:
“Why does Metro-North make the average commuter’s head want to explode? In a nutshell, it’s the stark contrast in culture between the railroad’s ridership and its providership. “
Josh said that many Metro-North riders work for companies that are performance-oriented. “We are held accountable for delivering, developing, growing, improving, innovating, and excelling,” he wrote.
“This goes as much for interns and administrative folks as it does for mid- and senior-level people. We work all day (and often into the night) in competitive cultures with an underlying reality: if we don’t perform, there’s someone else hankering for the chance to do the same.”
And, he added, “most of our work cultures are customer- or client-centric. In order to survive, we have to understand what our customers want or need, and figure out how to deliver it better. What can we do better than our competitors to win the hearts and minds of our customers? What satisfies them and brings them value? How can we serve them better?”
Quoting a comment made at last week’s open meeting in Southport, Josh wrote: “If [Metro-North] was a restaurant, nobody would eat here, and if it was an airline, nobody would fly it. The real problem is that there is no responsibility being taken, and there won’t be any change until that happens.”
He challenged the new president, Joseph Giulietti: “Culture starts at the top.”
Change will take a while, Josh knows. But he offered a few smart ideas, which should not take long to put into place:
1) Use the digital station signs already. And have them show real information, including times. “Displaying the date at a train station is about as useful as showing altitude or windspeed,” Josh wrote.
2) Offer refunds for genuinely disastrous service. Even credit for a future ride would go a long way to restoring good will, Josh said.
3) Join the 21st century and accept credit cards on trains. “Cash only? In 2014?” Josh fumed. “I can pay for my morning coffee at a tiny start-up coffee shop with Square.”
Josh also suggested fixing the TrainTime app, updating the website, and improving the PA announcements.
Reasonable points, I say.
Metro-North: What do you say?