Metrorail, bus customer satisfaction below target; fares expected to increase

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Metrorail on-time performance numbers were crushed by SafeTrack maintenance work along the Orange and Silver Lines last year and customer satisfaction missed its target says Martin Di Caro after reviewing the transit system's annual report card.

Di Caro, WAMU's transportation reporter and FOX 5 contributor, said the report showed that nearly a third of Metrorail trips were late last year. The rail fleet ran at a 70 percent on-time performance rate, Di Caro said. 85 percent of cars arrived within five minutes of the expected arrival time.

Di Caro says the new metrics used by Metro are customer focused. "It takes into account how long it should take to travel between any two stations on the system," he said. "Then, also how long it takes riders to fight through the crowds on the train; through the platform; get through the fare gate; and tap out their Smart Trip card."

Di Caro said customer satisfaction for both Metrorail and Metrobus were well below target. He said only 66 percent of Metrorail customers said they were satisfied and 77 percent of Metrobus said they were satisfied.

There was reason for optimism, Di Caro said. the bus fleet grew more reliable last year and work to remove the oldest railcars from the tracks also began. Di Caro said Metro also retrained mechanics to properly fix the railcars in the yard as needed.

Di Caro also added that the new budget to be put into place for July 1st will include a fare increase. Rail riders can expect anywhere between 10 cents and 25 cents per trip and bus riders around 25 cents per trip. Parking fares will also increase about 10 cents.

SafeTrack Surge 13 will impact rush-hour commuters on the Blue and Yellow Lines for the first time Monday morning.

Trains will share a single track and run every 24 minutes between Braddock Road, and the Huntington and Van Dorn Street Stations. Additional Yellow Line trains will run between Reagan National and Mt. Vernon Square only. This latest surge ends on April 9th; however, Blue Line service will return to normal April 2nd.

Metro is coming down the homestretch of a yearlong effort to bring its tracks back to a state of good repair. There are three more areas where work is planned under the SafeTrack program through June. Those places are all in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and the exact dates for the work have not yet been set.