When the D.C. Taxicab Commission said it wanted the public to start weighing in this week on possible color schemes for Washington’s fleet, I’m not sure it was expecting the reaction it was about to get from Brian Feldman. Standing outside the Verizon Center, where four of the sample paint jobs are on display, the Deanwood resident simply shook his head and blurted out, “Terrible!”
He was staring at a vehicle with diagonal lime and yellow stripes that vaguely resembles the Jamaican flag. “I can’t wait to not ride in one of those,” said Feldman, who’d seen pictures online of the nine potential designs and wanted to get a better look. The verdict? “They’re even uglier in person.”
Some members of the D.C. Council seem to agree, which is why they’re considering halting the contest. Maybe while they’re at it, they can also put a stop to the Department of Transportation’s poll to pick a tagline for the forthcoming D.C. Streetcar.
Anyone who votes (the poll at Surveymonkey.com/s/dcstreetcar2 ends today) has to choose the least of six evils. “Uncover the District” could be a bad cop show. “Let’s Go!” is a line of travel guidebooks. “Your Next Connection” — and the similar “Make Your Next Connection” — sound too much like online dating. And “The District Discovered” and “District at Your Doorstep” leave much to be desired. (Although I do support naming the streetcar Desire.)
I can’t imagine why anyone thought these choices would get a positive response. Then again, I also can’t understand the survey results that came out last week from WMATA.
The transit agency reported that 80 percent of respondents indicated a high satisfaction with rail service, 84 percent indicated a high satisfaction with bus service, and 79 percent of Metro users reported a high likelihood that they’d recommend riding to a friend.
Given the kvetching I hear constantly, those numbers are hard to believe. But I guess if you’re comparing Metro to a competing, nonexistent rail system in D.C., it fares pretty well.
Maybe that’s why even despite the high numbers, Metro announced another survey Wednesday.
This new one (available at WMATA.com/momentumsurvey through Dec. 31) promises to give folks “a say in the future of transit” by letting them rank in importance potential safety improvements, ways to improve the quality of service, and accommodations for passengers with disabilities.
Unlike the streetcar taglines, I wish I could pick them all. Can’t we repair the system, relieve crowding, circulate more police and improve information delivery during incidents and emergencies?
Washingtonians aren’t used to having a vote that counts for much, so it’s nice to feel like our opinions matter.
All this surveying, however, isn’t doing anything to improve transportation. D.C. could handle lime-and-yellow-striped taxis as long as they were clean, accepted credit cards and took people where they wanted to go. No one cares what the tagline for the D.C. Streetcar is — they just want it to start running.
And the city doesn’t need to conduct a survey to figure these things out.
Time Travelers: In 2013, are you planning to try that bus route by your house, dust off your old bike or finally learn how to parallel park? We want to hear your transportation-related New Year’s resolutions for an upcoming column. Send your plans to Dcrider@wpost.com.