Metro: Frank Wilson's too busy to ride public transit

Image credit: Pixabay

Last night on KTRK-13, Wayne Dolcefino took a look at what it cost to make those goofy videos on Metro’s website:

Just how much of your money is METRO spending to convince you to ride the bus and rail you are already paying for? And is it the job of METRO to convince us in the first place?

“This is the METRO Report, your source for news and happenings with your host, Elliot Roberts,” said the ad METRO is running on its website.

Who’s Elliot Roberts? Let’s go to METRO headquarters and find out.

“I’m looking for Elliot Roberts,” we said when we went into METRO headquarters.

“Who’s Elliot Roberts? We asked METRO’s George Smalley.

“He’s an actor,” said Smalley.

He’s an actor you paid to do an imitation of Steven Colbert. You can catch his show on Comedy Central.


“We’re trying to add a little levity, a little lightness to an education piece,” said Smalley.

We showed the video to bus passengers next to METRO headquarters.

“You think it was funny?” we asked.

“It was stupid,” said one person.

That cost $46,000, a mere drop in Metro’s overflowing, taxpayer-funded bucket.

Next up, a movie trailer!

The movie trailer cost $68,961 of your money to make and took three days to scout a location to shoot the video, even though METRO has more than 25 park and ride lots.

“Odds are, there’s one near you,” the ad says. “Maybe even in your own back yard.”

Add another $115,000 to run the video before movies in 13 theaters. You paid talent fees of $3,750 for the actors. Apparently, no one in METRO’s $3 million a year marketing department could do it as part of their work day.

And then this:

One of the park and rides lots is down in Missouri City. There are plenty of empty spaces there. Its near Frank Wilson’s house, METRO’s chief executive officer, but he doesn’t use it even though the 163 downtown express can drop him off just a couple of blocks from METRO’s headquarters. And the other bus connects to the METRO Rail that runs right next to Wilson’s office.

“He’s busier than the average commuter,” I said.

“Certainly there is a higher expectation on a CEO about how they spend their time and make most productive use of time,” Smalley replied.

But METRO spends your money telling you how much work you can get done on mass transit

“With the study time I get on the bus, I got a ‘C+’ in history,” said an actor in the spot. “METRO rocks dude!”

But of course, Wilson gets a $1,000 a month car allowance. So maybe gas prices don’t hit his wallet the same as yours.

Metro’s transit offerings aren’t efficient enough for a busy CEO, and the average commuter’s busy-ness isn’t comparable to Frank Wilson’s. He’s just more important!

Another fine example of Metro’s tone-deafness.

Perhaps Metro officials could spend less time and money trying to sell an inefficient product, and more time making their product work better…for busy commuters AND CEO’s.

Tonight, Dolcefino promises to show us how to ride the bus and light rail for free!

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.