Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Transit Alert: Rockville MARC to Remain Open

New information has come to light in regards to the Rockville MARC Station renovations. MTA clarified this morning that the station will remain open. Trains will continue to stop at Rockville, however tickets will not be able to be purchased at the station until after the renovations are complete.

These renovations do not have a timeline yet, but will result in the construction of a waiting room with seating for passengers and the installation of self-serve ticketing kiosks. Rockville will not have a ticket agent after March 6.

I apologize for any confusion that my earlier posting my have caused. I hope you'll continue to visit Track Twenty-Nine for the scoop on transit.

I strive to bring you the most accurate information possible here at Track Twenty-Nine. Part of that means sending out occasional updates for major changes in transit services in the region. When I got an email from MTA last week which referenced Rockville's impending closure, I emailed them to confirm. They responded, saying that the "Rockville Station" would be closed for the duration of the renovations.

It appears that they actually meant "ticket office." Today's email clarifed that the Rockville ticket office would remain closed through the end of the renovations.

In my opinion, MTA needs to work on its communications. This case in an excellent example. Please see the below emails I received from MTA.

MTA Broadcast Email to MARC Subscribers,
Friday, February 27, 3:03PM

Attention MARC Commuters; The following MARC stations will no longer be staffed after the close of business on Friday March 6, 2009: Aberdeen, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Laurel, Martin Airport, Perryville, Rockville and Savage. Rockville Station will be closed temporarily for renovations. The "Self Serve Ticketing Kiosk" installation is complete and operational. The availability to purchase tickets will increase to both morning and evening hours, during MARC’s hours of operation. You will still be able to purchase a one-way ticket onboard the train with cash and without a penalty fee. MARC regrets any inconvenience this may cause.
Above emphasis added.

MTA Email Response to my Inquiry,
Monday, March 1, 9:59AM

The station will close at the end of the business day on Friday March 6th 2009. It will remain closed for renovations to the station, adding a waiting area with seating and a ticket machine. It will remain shut for a short while but we can not give you a
deadline at this time. We will send out a notice as soon as we have updated information. Thank you for your inquiry.
Above emphasis added.

I hope you can understand my confusion. I am sorry if I confused any of you.


Dustin said...

I know what you mean about MTA's need to improve its communications. While misinformation about the Rockville MARC station didn't affect me, I have been tripped up before by MTA's deficient ability to communicate effectively.

A good example is its Web site. The home page was redesigned sometime back and actually looks quite nice now. When the redesign was launched, I was hopeful that navigating the rest of the site and finding useful information would be easier, and that the information would be better presented. However, a click on any link on the homepage takes you to a page just like on the old site: a bit sloppy, honestly, but now with different colors.

Corporate image can do a lot to change and improve users' -- and the public's -- perception. Highly successful companies are very cautious about their "look". Too bad many transit agencies aren't more so, even when times aren't so lean.

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