Last week, the MTA President, Howard Roberts Jr., announced that one of his first initiatives is to develop a subway and bus report card system. Basically, the system would allow line riders to grade the system. Everything from reliability and service to cleanliness and security is up for evaluation.
Sounds like a good plan. Why? Because it’s a clear rip off of the Straphangers Campaign concept. They’ve been grading for a while now, so that’s probably why it sounds familiar.
He envisions cards that would be handed out to riders as they exit stations, and which they could fill out and mail in at no cost.
Does anyone else smell the government job backwards logic with that idea? Why hand out the cards as people are leaving the subway? It’s going get tossed in the trash with all the takeout menus you get handed on the way to work.
Instead, why not hand out the cards as people ENTER the subway. Also, hand them one of those little golf pencils with the card. Then, people can fill out the cards as they wait for the train or while riding it in the first place! After people get to their destination, they will already have filled the card out, and they can deposit them at the station booth (or a mailbox on street level).
That would probably generate waaay more responses. It would also save lots of money in postage costs because most of the cards could be collected right at the station versus having them dropped into USPS mailboxes.
The grading system is first going to start on the 7 line. Hopefully, the wounds won’t still be raw from the recent 7 line construction closures. That might cause some “colorful” responses on those cards.
The MTA should also look into an online system. Clearly, all riders don’t have access to the Internet, so the card system is probably the most inclusive method. However, an online system might also be good.