Congressman John Delaney

Representing the 6th District of Maryland
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Over 1700 Respond to Delaney Metro Survey, Riders Believe System Must Improve

Feb 14, 2017
Press Release
Feedback part of Delaney effort to improve Metro

WASHINGTON – Over 1700 people have responded to Congressman John K. Delaney’s request for feedback and suggestions on the state of Metro, with users expressing overall concern and frustration with the system. Congressman Delaney’s survey was launched on January 31 of this year. Respondents were asked to rate Metro on safety, reliability and customer service; on whether the system has improved, stayed the same or gotten worse in the last year and to share their specific comments, experiences and suggestions. Congressman Delaney has announced that he will be filing legislation soon to improve Metro service by initiating a new Metro compact, a move that will allow comprehensive reforms.

As of February 14, using a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, respondents gave Metro an average score of 5.41 for safety, 4.87 for reliability and 4.73 for customer service. Additionally, in evaluating the system in the last year, 38% said that Metro has been getting worse, 37% said it has stayed the same and 25% said it has been getting better. (Additional details and a representative sample of rider feedback copied below.)

“The survey response was overwhelming in volume and crystal clear in meaning: Metro needs big transformative improvements,” said Congressman Delaney. “I represent a lot of Marylanders who absolutely depend on Metro and too many of them are worried about safety, frustrated by a lack of reliability and worried that they’re not being heard. This region simply does not work if we don’t have a world-class Metro. For years we’ve heard from Marylanders about Metro problems, but as I work on legislation to improve the system, I wanted to hear from riders in a comprehensive way. The stories we received really highlight how people are being driven away from Metro, men and women who board each morning at Shady Grove and day after day endure really nightmarish commutes. This is why I’m drafting legislation that will increase Metro’s funding and reform Metro’s governance so that we can give riders a real upgrade.”



Delaney Metro Survey Responses & Feedback


As of February 14, over 1700 people had responded to Congressman Delaney’s Metro survey online or via email, which included a series of questions and an option to send direct and specific feedback. The survey was posted on Congressman Delaney’s website, social media channels and distributed by email. 

The survey asked respondents to rate Metro on safety, reliability and customer service on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst, 10 being the best. The survey also asked if the overall experience on Metro has improved, stayed the same or gotten worse in the last year.

  • Respondents rated Metro a 5.41 on safety on a 1-10 scale
    • 13% of respondents gave Metro a 1 or 2 rating on safety, compared with just 7% who gave Metro a 9 or 10 rating
  • Respondents rated Metro a 4.87 on reliability on a 1-10 scale
    • 19% of respondents gave Metro a 1 or 2 rating on reliability, compared with just 6% who gave Metro a 9 or 10 rating
  • Respondents rated Metro a 4.73 on customer service on a 1-10 scale
    • 23% of respondents gave Metro a 1 or 2 rating on customer service, compared with just 7% who gave Metro a 9 or 10 rating
  • In the last year:
    • 38% of respondents said that Metro has overall been getting worse
    • 37% of respondents said Metro has stayed the same
    • 25% said it has been getting better.  


Individual responses included both positive and negative feedback on Metro. Positive messages included individual customer service experiences, very good service during the Women’s March in January and the overall importance of Metro to the region. Some respondents did voice support for the SafeTrack program and recent efforts to make improvements.  

Many responders lamented a long-term decline and growing frustration with the system, including a number who stated that they have decided to stop riding due to problems. Concerns about safety and reliability were widespread, as were complaints about rising fares being combined with a decline in service. Requests that Metro rail service expand were frequent, as were complaints about transparency, communication with riders and cleanliness.   


Representative comments include:


“I am hopeful safety is getting better, but I state this simply because I have not encountered the multiple weekly problems I experienced in the past. I do not, however, have great confidence that the trains and lines are safe.”

“A wonderful transit system has gradually deteriorated over the years due to lack of financial commitment and mismanagement.”

“I left a job with 27 years of history, and a relevant Masters Degree from JHU for a much less secure job because I couldn't take the red line delays any more.  The frustration factor just got too high.”

“I stopped using Metro due to sporadic Red Line service, both when repairs are announced and when it's allegedly running 'normal.' I just don't need the aggravation”

“I am a senior woman traveling alone and become very nervous at the thought of delays or problems with the train. In addition, the cost of Metro has gotten very high and I don't feel like I'm getting much ‘bang for my buck’”

“I have not used the Metro in almost 3 years now specifically due to both safety concerns and service cuts. I can no longer even attend religious classes in DC due to the fact that I would end up stranded with no way home.”

“Regarding reliability, quite frankly I never trust Metro to get me anywhere on time”

“Having taken the Red Line Metro for almost 20 years, I have seen a steady deterioration of service.”

“A complete nightmare!”

Based on my experience using Metro to get to and from the women's march in January, Metro is improving. I have never experienced such good customer service on Metro before”

“I have used Metro on a nearly daily basis since the late 1980s and although I have seen a few glimmers of hope lately, it has been a long, sad slide to the bottom that could and should have been prevented in this very wealthy region. It is really shameful that this situation has gone on for so long. I really do hope you can help put Metro back on track.”

“I am very concerned about increased fares and decreases in service. Elevators and escalators are broken down (even those out of service for months and recently replaced), continued delays, trains are not being cleaned, shorter service hours even during big events, etc. It is expensive for me to use the Metro as is, and I often have to supplement it with another form of transportation”

“Outside, government-controlled oversight is needed to allow optics on the inner workings of this miasma. Reductions of any service will only bring about further loss of revenue, spiraling the organization into further trouble.”

“Accountability is the word.”

“In general, Metro does a good job.”

“The new GM is really do(ing) some good things and is making some difficult decisions for the better. I would recommend supporting his budget proposal for Metro.

“Let's get tough on safety, buy more of the new cars (which are lovely), make sure basic issues like brakes, on-time arrivals, overcrowding are addressed. And stop raising prices on the poor.”

“I don't feel safe on metro with equipment failures and attacks on the passengers both of which have resulted in deaths. The new management seems to be competent and taking action.”

“The customer service is abhorrent. They are unfriendly and seem to lack basic customer service skills.”

“Metro was once a great system. But now the service is bad and getting worse. Safety is abysmal. Governance is all but absent”

“Years of neglect - no ownership or leadership. – it’s what one can expect when by a system run by a committee ( political appointees). The current general manager is trying to fix it but he walked into a huge challenge.”

“Metro should be reviewed on a yearly basis and maintenance performed as needed.”

“While I appreciate the efforts of ‘Safe Track’, there are still safety issues (one of their own employees almost run over by a train!) And the metro just isn't reliable -- seems like every time I get on metro, trains are running late.”

“There are too many escalator malfunctions. Many escalators have been replaced over the last few years at great inconvenience to passengers. Yet those same escalators still go out of service.”

“DC Metro is by far the worst transportation system I have ever used and that includes New Jersey. It was a huge factor in me beginning a job hunt outside of Maryland.”

“I think any changes in funding source need to be accompanied by changes in management and / or oversight.  I don't think giving Metro more money without some system of accountability is a very good idea.  I think metro has come a long way in considering the customer in their decisions and actions, but there is always room for improvement.  Every decision, every action, should be considered from the perspective of customer service.  And, as a rider, many times it just doesn't feel like that is the case.”

“I have a one line, 25 minute train commute and I have to factor in a 20 minute cushion to get to work on time and sometimes am still late. Weekend service is almost non-existent anymore as multiple stations are shut down.”

“Each year gets progressively less reliable. It's really sad as I chose where to live for 30 years based on being 1 mile from Metro.”

“The biggest complaint that I have is communication. The speaker system throughout metro station is terrible. No one can understand anything they say.”

“Public transport does more than just get people around, it reduces pollution and congestion on the roads. During the reform effort, I would like to see routes that make it easier for low income families to get to school, work and shopping.”

“The delays are awful. But I had a very good experience the day of the Women's March. Plenty of trains and very helpful staff.”

“I think Metro service on the Red Line can and should be extended to Frederick, MD. That would do a lot to alleviate at least some of the morning and evening rush hour traffic on I-270.”

“Metro's biggest failing, IMO, is COMMUNICATION. I don't use Metro any more. The reason is, too many times, I have been held in one place on the train, on the tracks for extended periods without ANY information from anyone about the source of the delay or the expected wait time.”

“Without continued dedicated funding, all the delayed maintenance will ultimately be wasted. Metro needs more federal oversight, specifically with regard to safety and clearly needs better employee practices.”

“It would be great if we had more Metro, more stations, and more track extensions. We need to do something about the traffic in Montgomery County and all of the DC area.”

“Slow, expensive, unsafe, unreliable”

“I'm an original RedLine rider from the grand opening at the Bethesda station in 1980... I've seen the downfall, demise, danger, corruption & overuseage in my adult lifetime.”

“Metro is incredibly inconsistent. It's getting impossible to plan a commute, because I could either have a dream of a day on the Red Line and get to DuPont Circle in 20 minutes, or for no real reason take over an hour. Visible station employees seem bothered when they're asked to do their job and help customers.”

“Red Line needs to be extended to Upper Montgomery County and Frederick County.”

“I can tell that the new Metro administration is trying hard to change the culture and improve safety but it is a hard to steer an ice burg. The reliability is still hit and miss.”

“I'm worried about safety issues & the ability to communicate for help if needed.”

I was impressed with Metro's operating service during the Women's March recently. What I have never really understood about Metro is why fares always rise after a service concern and yet those rate hikes never translate to service improvements.”

“Metro has consistently failed me almost every day on my commute to and from work. It is so unreliable that when I have an important meeting that I know I can't be late to, I make sure to get up extra early and take an Uber to my office. That is how awful the Metro is. That I have to wake up before the sun rises and pay three times as much to get to work just to make a meeting on time.”

“I have traditionally been one that gives Metro a little slack. However, over the past couple years I have become more and more disillusioned. I believe the non-rush hours wait times are too long.”

“Metro is organized for failure. Serious restructuring of the governing body, an ensured source of funding, and continued management attention to deficiencies are all needed. Cutting service and raising fares will only contribute to the downward spiral.”

“Metro did a GREAT job getting ALL of the participants to the March on 1/21/17!! Great job. My main concern about Metro is that they have to stop the lapses in service.”

“We need a new professional governing Board for Metro and a dedicated funding source for Metro.”

“I would, however, like to point out something that has been a particular irritant to me, namely, Metro's customer service philosophy, which seems to be summed up in three words: ‘Blame the passenger.’”

“I think the new leadership is trying to do the right thing, making some hard choices, but the deck was really stacked against them due to years of negligence and kicking the can do the road, over and over.”

 “I want to love metro again. I'm very willing and very forgiving but it's gotta actually improve for me to start the forgiveness process.”