WASHINGTON — Nearly a year after Metro trimmed back round-the-clock track work from a near-constant reality to major shutdowns every few months, Metro says riders are happier.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m pleased to report that our Metrorail customer satisfaction scores have ticked up for the first three months of 2018 compared with the same period last year,” General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told the Metro Board Thursday.
Seventy-six percent of riders surveyed on the rail system were satisfied with their trips in January, February and March — up from 69 percent at the same time last year amid continuing 24/7 shutdowns.
“People are having a better experience. The Rush Hour Promise plays into that. I think there are a lot of factors that play into that,” Wiedefeld said after the meeting.
In March, railcars went an average of around 113,000 miles between breakdowns that caused notable delays for riders, the second-highest average since it began being measured more than a decade ago.
Wiedefeld credited better maintenance campaigns; running railcars only in trains produced in the same era; the retirement of older railcars that had not been maintained; and the new 7000 series cars still arriving each month.
Metro’s escalators are now in service around 94 percent of the time, down a fraction from the same time last year, but still at Metro’s target.
The agency is about two-thirds of the way through a current $150 million round of 130 escalator replacements due to be completed within the next two years.
In the bus system, customer satisfaction scores were relatively flat at 75 percent.
Metro’s satisfaction target has been 85 percent of surveyed riders. “Our reliability is getting better, our safety is getting better, our level of incidents are down, so as time goes on, it certainly appears that the system is getting better and better,” Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said.
“We have a long road ahead of us and a lot of things to do, but it appears it’s getting better.”