On August 6th Sound Transit’s Rider Experience Committee met to discuss its evolving “scorecard” for ride quality. It’s a promising set of metrics, but it would be great if the committee’s writ expanded beyond current service to the future.
The scorecard has metrics in five categories: dependable, safe, available, clean, and informed. The individual items seem reasonable enough:
Ridership, obviously, is way off of 2019 levels. Public safety incidents and customer complaints are back to the 2019 baseline after shooting up in the spring, possibly because ST implemented a “recovery” fare to discourage some anti-social behaviors.
But oh, those escalators:
It’s incredible we’re still at this point with the escalators, but at least they’re measuring the right thing.
Overall, it’s a good set of metrics: not too vague, but not so simplistic that there will be perverse outcomes. What really bothers me is where Sound Transit really botches rider experience — when it sites and designs stations.
The Rider Experience Committee doesn’t seem to have the early planning process in its domain, which is a shame. Nearly every station open to date could have benefited from a little more thought into how people will flow into and through the station. Someone expressly thinking about these issues could improve things while it’s cheap to do so.