For those of you who have seen my posts in the past, you may already have some idea that I’m a nerd and I love technology. And just to confirm your first impressions, my nerd quotient rises when technology works the way it’s supposed to.
Recently my nerd quotient hit an “11” when I was returning from Phoenix on a late evening flight. I live in Maryland just north of Washington, DC and take advantage of the Washington, DC Metro system whenever I can. Since the Metro runs from near my house to the Ronald Regan National Airport, I use the system every chance I get. On this occasion, my flight was scheduled to land around midnight, after the last Metro train. Since I took the Metro to the airport, I didn’t have my car, it was too late for my wife to pick me up; so it was looking like I had a $70 dollar cab right ahead of me.
This evening, because of good weather and an efficient ground crew, we were 30 minutes early. –11:30pm– I went down to baggage claim where my bag was delivered quickly. –11:40pm– Now, I had a choice: head to the taxi stand and wait for a cab or get on the last Metro. With a few taps and a swipe, I checked the free DC Metro app on my Windows Phone, four minutes until the last train – I’m going for it! Three minutes later, I’m on the platform as the train pulls up. Cool. –11:44pm– I’m on the train heading toward Metro Center; where I have my next critical decision. My preference is to switch to the Red line where the train gets me all the way home. But if I get off at Metro Center and the last Red line train has left, I’m stuck trying to get a cab in downtown Washington, DC at midnight – oooh, I’m not looking forward to that. To make matters worse, most of the run from the airport to Metro Center is underground where I have poor reception. –11:45pm– I’ve got two minutes to figure out when the last train leaves Metro Center and if I can get there on time. Out comes the Phone and the DC Metro app followed by some taps and a swipe. –11:47pm– The last Red line train arrives at Metro Center at 12:06 and I’m 15 minutes away. Looks like I’ll be making the decision when I get to Metro Center and see how much time I have left. –12:03am– We’re pulling into Metro Center, I’ve got three minutes and an escalator lies between me and that train. But on the positive side the DC Metro app indicates the last Red line train hasn’t arrived yet. I’m going for the transfer! –12:08am– The last Red line train leaves Metro Center with me on it.
My complements to the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for having the forethought to develop their DC Metro app. I made all of my connections with my Windows Phone keeping me informed with real-time, critical information and saving me and my manager’s budget $70 in one evening! It’s time to start thinking about how technology can save your customers money. I love being a nerd.