Judicial Watch Sues WMATA on Behalf of DC Metro Watchdog for Customer Satisfaction Survey
APRIL 30, 2019
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Public Access to Records Policy lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“Metro”) and its General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, on behalf of Unsuck DC Metro for an unredacted version of their Customer Satisfaction Tracking Study (Unsuck DC Metro v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Paul Wiedefeld (No. 1:19-cv-01242)). Unsuck DC Metro (@UnsuckDCMetro) is a citizens’ watchdog over the DC area’s public transit Metro system.
The suit was filed after WMATA denied an Unsuck DC Metro April 26, 2018, open records request for Metro’s customer satisfaction survey by providing a version of the survey with 28 of 29 pages completely blacked out and redacted.
Metro has had safety, management, financial, and declining ridership problems. DC Metro has been called “the worst in the world.” Services have been drastically cut so that three years’ worth of maintenance can be done. Meanwhile, fares are increasing and ridership is declining.
A collision in 2009 between two trains killed nine people. In 2015 a woman died of smoke inhalation during an electrical malfunction.
In October 2018, Metro asked for an additional $87 million of taxpayer dollars, which would push its operation expenditure to $1.0794 billion.
The Metro board’s chairman Jack Evans and General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said recently that the system was in such poor shape that segments of rail lines could shut down for weeks at a time for maintenance, and that much more additional funding is needed.”
Metro’s leaders have not offered a solution to the system’s ridership decline.
“DC’s Metro system is a mess and untold millions of federal and local tax dollars have gone to support this failing, corrupt and unsafe transit operation system,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Metro is so out of it that it won’t even release its most recent Ridership Survey to the public! In our experience, this illegal secrecy means Metro has something to hide.”
“Over the years, various general managers have promised transparency but, in fact, Metro has become increasingly opaque. A taxpayer-funded organization withholding information, such as the questions on the customer satisfaction survey, from the public on dubious grounds is unacceptable. If local politicians won’t hold Metro accountable and truly transparent, perhaps this lawsuit will,” said Unsuck DC Metro.