Metro Redesigns Web Site, Still Sucks

So WMATA redesigned their web site the other day, and pretty much all the DC blogs talked about it. Most ooh'd and ahh'd and talked about how spiffy it was, and how it was great that this, that, or the other thing are on the front page.

As best I can tell, someone with a copy of Web 2.0 for Dummies threw up all over the existing WMATA web site. I mean, check out those buttons. They all are shiny, and look like glass! And everything has reflections! Can I browse through Metro stops using Cover Flow yet?

I'll admit, there are a few good changes. The ride guide is a little bit easier to use, even if it often offers you fairly bizarre directions. Also, there's an Interactive System Map, that's integrated with Google Maps. That's pretty cool. BUT, there's still no interactive map for buses. Still gotta download the big PDF map that always times out and never finishes.

Come on, Metro. You made all of your icons shiny, why can't you make a damn clickable map for buses? Like, a big online version of those huge maps at certain bus stops? Are we just assuming that no one who owns a computer rides on the bus?

I'm also glad they've got Google Ads on the site. It was pretty fun seeing links to airport shuttles and limo services.

But yes, I suppose this is a step in the right direction. And at the pace WMATA operates, I'm kind of surprised they have a web site at all, and aren't still offering outdated bus schedules via Gopher.

I'll offer WMATA a few tips. Here's a few things you can do. The bus map, that's a given. Also, how about making it so we can add money to SmarTrip via the web site? How about also making it so you can put passes on a SmarTrip card? It would be pretty cool if you could have a bus pass on your SmarTrip card. I'm sure there's some degree of bus pass fraud out there, and will probably be even more now that paper transfers are going away.

Clearly, we could dedicate an entire web site to why.i.hate.metro, but we also need Metro. Here I go with my liberal progressive non-sense about how public transportation is awesome. I'll spare you philosophical arguments about how it shouldn't matter if Metro can turn a profit or not.

So yeah, thank you Metro for your new web site with "rider friendly icons and graphics." Awesome. Can I be friends with the Red Line on Facebook?


  1. you nailed it. a fresh coat of paint on a seriously dysfunctional website. also kinda sad how they can't get slick-looking without using generic apple-esque reflective icons. say what you want about the old site, at least it was somewhat original, albeit shitty.

    as for the online SmarTrip reloading, there was actually an item in the Post a few weeks ago about how the company managing SmarTrip has slated this for sometime in 2010. pretty sad it's going to take that long, but seeing as though that contractor is running quite a shitshow itself (continuously over-budget, management issues out the ass), we should feel blessed it's happening at all.

  2. "why.i.hate.dc Redesigns Web Site, Still Sucks"

  3. Gopher? Wow. That's dating yourself.

    (Good job on that, BTW.)

  4. just in time for the inauguration

  5. Buses are for poor people who don't have computers and don't deserve spiffy new buttons. We save those for the surbanites who ride the underground and deserve padded new seats for their precious butts.

  6. Bring back Nextbus. Who cares if it didn't work all the time. At least we could fool ourselves that we thought we knew when the next buss was coming...

  7. No mention of the "wool seat testing". Are they trying to see how well DudeBro barf clings to their plush surfaces? OR how well baby gravy works in there after Mom changes diapers underground?

  8. No fucking shit!?

    The existence of a Metro Web site was somewhere on the margins of my consciousness but the fact that there are blogs covering its redesign strikes me as mind boggling.

    Somehow, Dave, I missed this news.

    I did see on the news, however, that some Yuropean country (or was it Japan?) just tested a 200 mile-per-hour bullet train. We need more and better public surface transportation.

  9. Those seats look like they can soak up a lot of Super AIDS too.

  10. I was going to leave a comment about how the Gopher reference led me to envision you with a bit of gray in your beard, but I see someone beat me to it.

    Either way, it is meant as a compliment.

  11. I'm with the guy who called for bringing back NextBus. Who cares if it was only 85% accurate? It's better than the current non-system, which is 100% inaccurate.

    I wrote a complaint letter to wmata about this, and got a response. If I understood them correctly, then **if** the budget request is approved, then it will take 18 months for them to get us back to where we were Nov. 2007?!?!!?

    Here it is:

    "Dear Mr. :

    As you mention, Metro halted its Next Bus information program a year ago. The decision to the Next Bus program on hold was based on the accuracy levels of the pilot system at that time, which was operating on 32 Metrobus routes throughout the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. The system was accurate about 80 percent of the time in its predictions. Metro required accuracy to be at 95 percent before expanding the program to all 336 bus routes.

    Over the last few months our Bus and Information Technology divisions have put in place a budget and plan to address the pilot accuracy issues and to bring Next Bus service back online. A budget request was made and, if approved as an accelerated priority item for July 2009, Metro estimates that it will take 18 months to upgrade the technology systems that provide data to the Next Bus system, before expanding the next phase of routes.


    Office of Customer Relations
    Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

  12. I have question.

    How much of a SmartTrip metro card can you cut off before it becomes useless?

    I'm thinking about slicing one in half and inserting the piece into the space between my blackberrys battery and the battery cover.

    If it works I would be able to swipe my phone over the gates like one bad ass mother fucker.
    Girls would see me swiping my blackberry over the electronic reader and they would throw their bras at me.

    Has anyone tried this? I don't want to destroy my card to later find out that it wont work. I would look like a fool and I am no fool.

  13. I agree with the being able to add funds to your goddamned SmarTrip card on the internet. It'd be so convenient and I can't imagine it would be that hard for them to set it up... and yet they refuse (http://thedailypage.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-metro-sucks.html).

    Also, to the previous anonymous poster: You should totally try putting your SmarTrip in your Blackberry. That would be badass if it works, and if it doesn't, it's only a waste of $5.

  14. You can do that. But don't just cut it up. You'll need to sort of pull it apart and remove the RFID chip and antenna. I think DCist once ran a post about how to make a Smartrip keychain. It's totally possible.

  15. I found that post. http://dcist.com/2005/12/14/dissecting_the_.php

    I now know how it works. The inside cover of my blackberry 9000 would make for a perfect place to put that little wire loop on. I don't have any acetone in my house, but if any naked sexy girls want to lend me some it would make my experiment much more expedient.

    but in any case. IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!