UPDATE: Metro Regrets Deleting Facebook Comments, But Says Attacks By Blogs Are Unfair
*UPDATE: Metro spokesman Marc Littman said in a phone interview today that Metro made a mistake in deleting Facebook comments on its own fan page.
"It shouldn't have been done. I talked to the people who did it, and it's not going to happen in the future," Littman said.
This is not an issue that anyone will lose their job over, because it was just a mistake, Littman said. "I'm not going to make excuses for it. I don't think it was right."
He said he normally doesn't pay attention to the Facebook page, because it is run by the marketing department, not public relations.
He said the marketing department is also responsible for deleting the comments.
"I'm not involved with that Facebook stuff."
In response to a question posed by Traci Cummings on its own Facebook page on August 2, the Metro Los Angeles Facebook account commented that a little more than one percent of their employees ride Metro to work.
The Bus Bench blog also received an email from Metro in January stating that in 2009, 155 out of 9,210 Metro employees rode Metro to work.
"I don't even know if that 1.6 percent is current," Littman said on the phone today. He said a more current, thorough survey on employees' commutes will be released in November.
Littman said that the 1.6 percent figure does not include other public transportation services used by their employees, run by other transportation agencies besides Metro.
"It looks like it was just Metro. We weren't calculating Metrolink... a lot of our employees work in outlying counties," Littman said.
He said that more than 50 percent of the 1300 employees working at their Downtown headquarters ride public transportation, but not necessarily Metro.
He said that currently, 218 of those employees who work downtown ride buses or trains run by Metro.
"Most employees that can use public transit, do it," Littman said.
Metro's own blog, The Source, has a series about Metro employees who ride public transit to work. The blog published a story about Littman's commute on August 9.
After receiving criticism from The Bus Bench blog for posting on their Facebook page that a little over one percent of their employees take mass transit ride Metro to work, and then receiving more criticism after deleting the Facebook comment with that figure, Metro released a statement on Facebook and on The Source defending the low figure.
"There are about 1,300 managers, planners, engineers and other Metro employees who work at Metro’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters and 764 of them – more than 50 percent — do use public transportation including Metro, Metrolink and the municipal bus operators," the statement says.
But the are another 8,000 people, Metro says, who do not work Downtown, but who are spread out in industrial areas throughout the county.
"There are about 8,000 people involved in this effort. Many report to work before 6 a.m. while others work a graveyard shift, some come from outlying counties..." the statement says.
This statement comes after Neon Tommy reported that the Metro Los Angeles Facebook account deleted its own Facebook comment about their employees' commutes to work.
The Bus Bench originally broke the story about Metro deleting its own Facebook comment, along with another comment underneath it.
Metro told Neon Tommy Monday that they deleted the comments because they did not provide a balanced enough picture for why the figure was so low.
The statement that Metro released on The Source does not address the disappearance of the Facebook comments.
The original question that spurred the comment, written by Traci Cummings, is still there.