The Washington D.C. Metro transit system is planning to hire a group of "mystery riders" to discretely monitor the system and identify areas for improvement. Critics call the plan a waste of money.
"The Metro board yesterday approved spending as much as $1 million over five years to hire professional 'mystery riders' to assess the quality of service on trains and buses."
"Much like the mystery shoppers of retail, the undercover Metro riders would take trips on Metrorail and Metrobus. Armed with a checklist of criteria that includes cleanliness and on-time performance, the mystery riders would travel on nearly all routes, evaluate the service from a customer's perspective and provide feedback to Metro, officials said. The information would be used to help Metro identify and correct problems."
"'We want to know what works and doesn't work, and what can be made better,' said Metro board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, who represents Arlington County and pushed for the program as part of Metro's goal to improve service."
"Metro already hears from many customers about what does not work. The agency receives between 3,000 and 4,000 complaints a month, according to agency reports."