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2018 Metrobus Survey FAQ's


The survey started on October but I haven’t received a form yet.  When will you survey my bus route?

We appreciate your interest.  However, to ensure that the survey results are statistically representative of all Metrobus riders, we cannot disclose the survey schedule to the public in advance. For instance, if customers knew in advance when we were surveying a particular bus route, they may choose to ride a bus that they do not normally ride – thus distorting our survey results. 

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I don’t commute during the normal peak periods.  Should I expect to be surveyed as well?

Yes! This survey covers every hour of the day.
 

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I got a survey form last week and today I got another one.  Should I fill it out?

Yes!  This is a survey of trip making patterns, not of individual riders.  As such, every time you are handed a survey you should fill it out and submit it either to the surveyor on board the bus, by mail, or complete the survey(s) online. 

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Isn’t that double-counting?

No, it's not.   We are interested in every trip that is taken.  We want an accounting of each of those trips, so we ask that you fill in the form each time one is handed to you. 

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Why do you need my street address?

The primary purpose of this survey is to determine how much each funding jurisdiction (DC, Maryland, and various counties in VA) should pay to subsidize the cost of Metrobus services for its residents.  To achieve this, we need to measure the numbers of Metrobus riders who live in each jurisdiction.  If we could achieve our goal just by asking for your zip code, we would.  Unfortunately, many ZIP codes cross jurisdictional lines, so we must ask for your street address. We assure you that this information will not be used for any purpose other than what we explained above. 

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Why does the survey ask about income and race?

As a recipient of federal funds, WMATA must comply with federal regulation such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Title VI of the act and its implementing regulation and associated executive orders require that we ensure meaningful participation in transportation planning processes by minority and low income populations in our service area, and distribute transportation costs and benefits equitably among all populations. We ask demographic questions on all our surveys to help us meet these requirements. 

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Can’t you get all of the survey data you’re asking for from the SmarTrip usage data?

No, we can't.   The primary importance of this survey is to gather data on jurisdiction of residence from a representative sample of our ridership.  This data cannot be gleaned from SmarTrip usage, even if we were to look at registered SmarTrip card holders, as that wouldn't be a representative sample of our ridership.  Secondarily, but also very important, data on income and race are required to ensure compliance with federal regulations (see previous questions), and that data cannot be gathered from SmarTrip card usage.   For example, trip purpose is a very important data dimension captured by the survey that is otherwise unavailable. 

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This is a survey but there’s no place for me to add my thoughts.  Why not?

The purpose of this survey is to gather data for planning and funding purposes.  Comments about customer satisfaction can be directed to our customer comment form, and we conduct other surveys that collect customer opinions.  For other ways to contact Metro, please visit the Contact Us page of our website

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Are Metro employees handing out the survey forms?

No, our survey contractor has a dedicated and experienced staff of survey distributors who are passing out the survey forms to riders on the bus.  While they may appear as WMATA employees because they are wearing safety vests with the Metro logo, rest assured that no essential work is being delayed due to this survey.  Metro has employees from the Office of Customer Research who are supervising the survey team on a daily basis. 

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What does the survey cost cover?

The survey contract covered development of the survey form, determining the sampling selection, implementation planning, staffing the survey distribution, gathering and encoding the data, summarizing the data and producing cross-tabulations and reports. 

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How can riders with visual disabilities take the survey?

Survey respondents can ask the survey staff who provided the form for assistance in filling it out. Otherwise, the respondent can fill in the form online.  We have verified that the online version of the survey is compatible with BrowseAloud, Metro's licensed reading assistance software. 

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What if I don’t speak English very well or prefer to take the survey in another language? Are there any alternatives?

Yes! The paper survey has questions in both English and Spanish on it. Online options are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, French, and Amharic. Instructions to access the online survey are on the paper survey. 

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Why don’t you ask whether the rider is disabled?

While it could be useful to have that level of knowledge about our disabled riders, the word "disability" covers a wide range of meanings. It would be difficult to gather detailed data on riders with disabilities on a survey of this magnitude with such a constrained survey form. 

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