Metro mystery riders busy reviewing system, stations

Photo: Heather Farrell

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority has a secret, and any of the riders on trains and buses around the region could be in on it.

Metro officials say that the agency is spending more than $250,000 on a mystery rider program. To do this, WMATA has hired a Falls Church market research company to ride the entire rail and bus system and rate it.

While Metro is not yet releasing what the mystery riders have found, the agency says that those involved rate such aspects of the system as doors, announcements, maps, signage and the physical condition of cars. The survey also includes evaluating the level of graffiti, condition of seats and lights and the general cleanliness of the system.

Meanwhile, inside stations, the reviewers will weigh in on signage, maps, fare machines, elevators, escalators, cleanliness and lighting.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says that agency plans to report on results from the program as more data is compiled. Early findings from the study have already been presented in the form of a customer service action plan.

You can read that action plan here.

"Beyond this, we have multiple ways of letting the public know about our performance, including Vital Signs, in-depth public presentations before our five Board committees, and various online resources ranging from police blotter data to escalator status to daily service reports," Stessel said in a statement.