Monday, September 18, 2006

Pure Genius

I have got to become a consultant. I don't even care what kind of consultant so long as I can come up with off-the-wall ideas about how to "improve" a product and get paid a wheelbarrow full of money to do so. In this case, the product is the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the consultant is a guy named Joey Reiman, who I'm sure is a nice guy and all, but c'mon. His basic idea to improve the woefully crappy MARTA?
MARTA's mission must no longer be limited to simply getting people from point A to point B, Reiman told the MARTA board of directors last week.
To be fair, MARTA does get people from point A to point B; they just don't do it very well. And you really don't want to know why that dude sleeping in the corner smells like that. Or wonder what exactly is growing on, and under, the seat next to you; whatever it is, it's evolving and possibly becoming sentient. So yeah, technically MARTA gets you wherever you're going, but you won't like the trip. Maybe they should work on cleaning things up a bit and improving reliability first. Some of Reiman's specific ideas:
•Leather couches in a furniture-store sponsored train car.
•Pictures of reindeer plastered on trains during the Christmas season [...] putting pictures of pumpkins in train car windows during Halloween, and turning train car walls into gallery space for local artists.
•Short films and even serials could be broadcast on televisions already installed on buses and trains to entertain riders and encourage frequent use.Train cars could be sponsored by companies.
•The walls of a Borders-sponsored car, like the illustration below, could be lined with books, though it's not clear how theft would be prevented. [snicker]
And my favorite, if only for its tastelessness:
• Free rides on MLK Jr. Day -- "Free at last," get it?
Ughh. At least the MARTA officials' reaction to the pitch was sufficiently sober:
"I like his ideas and his vision, and I really agree that we need to take MARTA to the next level, but some of the things he's recommending are not very realistic," said Upshaw-Monteith, executive director of Leadership Atlanta. "When you look at our clientele, I just don't think our ridership would be willing to pay $3 for a cup of coffee."
Understatement of the month right there; MARTA users only use MARTA because they have too. At least MARTA realizes this and seems to be trying to improve basic point-to-point service instead of making the trains and buses the bestest cultural experience ever. Oh well, they did get a deal in hiring Reiman; they had to pay only $150,000 for his services, instead of his normal fee of $750,000.

I have got to become a consultant. I totally would have done all that for a measly $75,000.

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