Hinting at a new city-wide tolerance of broken escalators and regular train delays, the latest Washington Post poll revealed Monday that 7 out of 10 Washingtonians rated Metro as either “excellent” or “good”.
But a look at the full results indicates that most of the survey’s sample live in the Burbs, hop in their car to go to work, and in fact, rarely ride the Metro rail at all.
In other words, the Post conducted a public opinion poll on the Metro and basically just asked a bunch of people who have never heard of “Walk to the Left, Stand to the Right”. Much less been squeezed in like sardines in a train during rush hour, trapped in a tunnel or stranded during a Nats game. You know, people with cars.
Well, that’s just great.
Close to 80 percent of the poll’s 1,100 respondents indicated that they rode the Metro only “sometimes”, “often” or “never”. Of those who said they commuted to work, only 11 percent took the Metro.
The survey got one crucial thing right by polling a roughly proportional three-way split of District, Maryland and Virginia residents, though Virginians came in at a slight lead, representing 36 percent of the people surveyed.
Such an overwhelmingly positive assessment drew the ire of WMATA critics on Twitter. Reactions to the poll’s methodology ranged from disbelief to all-out rage, with dubious riders slamming WMATA, the Post, or in the case of one well-known Metro Twitter grouch, both.
“Good to see the Washington Post and WMATA haven’t given up on mutual masturbation,” wrote FixWMATA in response to the poll results.
To the Post’s credit, they’ve chosen not to blindly report the numbers and add some context:
Nonetheless, WaPo, here’s some parting words of advice for your next groundbreaking study on the Metro: Try reaching riders AT the Metro. After all, we have plenty of time to kill.