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MetroHotCars.com Not Getting Any Love From Metro

10:22 PM, May 24, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- While Metro is working on the tracks this weekend, their lawyers may be working on putting one light-hearted critic on blast. 

It's WMATA's latest dustup with its disparagers. 

First, Metro blocked prolific Twitter critic and, to many riders, valued communicator @FixWMATA, now, we're hearing that they're not finding a joke site funny. 

To be clear, this is more than a story about a cute website, it's the perception by many that Metro doesn't care about riders' issues.

Kyle Conrad is a creative design type based out of Northwest D.C. He got the idea for his website, MetroHotCars.com, and rolled with it. 

He says the thought just came to him, "That would make such a terrible dating website, like the cheesiest dating website name, and then when the news came out that Prague was doing a singles car, I thought now I have to make this real." So, he did. 

To be clear, it's a parody dating site: it's not real. It's a tongue-in-cheek dig at Metro, offering love opportunities amidst the minor commuting inconveniences of life.

He tweeted about it once. It took off, "The first night I had 870, and that was just one tweet and then yesterday I think I had 21,000 unique hits." That's a lot of love for Conrad's latest bit of creativity. Why? "I think everyone relates. Everyone's been on the hot car, everyone's waited 40 minutes on a train."

With faux-services like the "patented LoveDelays™ system" or promises like "Our broken escalator system and failing AC ensures a sweaty encounter with your match,"You could say Conrad's site is snarky yet clever. And, I know what you're thinking, could Conrad just have too much time on his hands? His answer, "It didn't take me that long." That's because this is what he does. He's a creative type. 

But, Metro has been quoted as reviewing their legal options. After a recent fire, an employee arrest, and trip-extending weekend trackwork Twitter lit up:

@nucgirl82: "#WMATA needs to worry about real things, like fires, and not fun websites."

@vxgxn: "parodies are typically difficult to take effective legal action against. How abt spend that legal money on repair?"

@PatLahrDC: "they were dumb and used the logo. Done right there."

The logo are strikingly similar. Conrad says he doesn't think he's crossed any legal lines, "As far as I'm concerned I think it's fair use parody. I definitely looked up some stuff on copyright infringement before I put it out there."

We'll leave that to the lawyers. 

But as far as love, looks like no one's getting any. Not Metro. Not riders, because some say they wished the site was real. And while Conrad's site is getting lots of hits, he hasn't gotten any love from Metro, "Nothing, They haven't tweeted, called, I mean my email address, phone number are all out there, so I've heard nothing from anybody at Metro. "

Metro says they don't consider this to really be news. To be fair, they are focusing on many more important issues than this. But, it's the perception that riders think they're focusing on shutting down the little guy versus fixing real problems that may be the real story here. 

What do you think Metro can do to make riders think they care?

 Email me at dalfarone@wusa9.com or tweet me at @DebraAlfarone.

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