Metro ad about bus reliability raises eyebrows

The ad is posted at the Metro Center station. Photo: Lucy Westcott

(WJLA) - An ad for Metro posted inside a downtown Washington station raised an eyebrow or two on social media on Tuesday.

The ad for Metro Forward, WMATA's marketing arm to promote the system's improvements and enhancements, depicts two women talking to each other. One points out Metro's commitment to improving the reliability of its bus fleet.

The other woman responds, "Can't we just talk about shoes?"

The rest of the ad, as photographed by Lucy Wesctott at Metro Center, describes how people aren't often talking about things like bus reliability.

"It's obviously sexist...what else is there to say?" says passenger Claire Edwards.

"It makes the second woman look silly and superficial," adds Alice Ra'anan.

We also found an ad with two men in it, and the second guy says: “Can’t we just talk about sports?”

In response to the notion that the ads may be in some way sexist, a Metro spokesperson said in a statement:

"Tthe point is to get people talking about METRO's massive rebuilding effort by juxtaposing technical facts with a variety of light responses and conversation between friends. Some of the ads contain men, some contain women."

But some passengers tell us that they just don't get it, period.

"It's just hopeless...and I actually deal with this stuff professionally," says metro commuter Arthur Rypinski.

Metro says that seven ads in this style are on display in 20 different stations. The agency plans to roll them out at all of their rail stations in the future.