Worse customer service than the airlines

I complain about customer service from the airlines quite a bit. On the whole, the majors are pretty bad (and for all of the accolades Southwest receives, I want to fly them even less).

But they’re better than most public transit.

When I drive to work, I have a lovely commute — along the George Washington Parkway which borders the Potomac River and all of the monuments. When the weather is nice, I drive with the top down as planes approaching National airport fly overhead.

This morning I took the metro (for all non-DC types, that’s our subway system). And we were delayed due to a report of smoke in one of the tunnels.

Earlier this year my metro rides have been delayed because of a passenger hit by a train and a train derailment. Each time was made worse when they offloaded all of the passengers from unaffected trains. A thirty minute commute has taken as long as two hours.

Problems happen in any endeavor. Goodness knows that the airlines face delays. But even the airlines offer refunds, credits toward future travel, and/or meal vouchers during a delay.

The metro system won’t credit back my $1.90 when a mechanical problem causes me to miss a meeting and spend two hours on the train. They wonder why traffic has fallen. And fewer riders lead them to argue for higher fares. It’s all absurd.

Provide a quality product and more people will ride. Raise the price and fewer people will ride. It’s really that simple.

For starters, I want my $1.90 back.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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