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Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus From the GM Rider Information

Service that sets the standard

| Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:10:00 AM

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.

From Brian Lamb, Metro Transit General Manager

Customers boarded our buses, light-rail and commuter trains more than 81 million times last year. Despite the high volume of customers, we strive every day to ensure every person who uses our services has the best experience possible.               

Delivering on our promise of service excellence takes dedication and commitment from all members of the Metro Transit team – especially those who interact with customers on a regular basis.

During Customer Service Week (Oct. 7-11), we celebrate the bus and train operators, transit information experts, customer service representatives, customer advocates and Transit Store employees who serve as front-line ambassadors for our agency. But while we’re paying special attention to these employees over the coming week, we also know they play an invaluable role serving our customers year round.    

As the face of Metro Transit, operators have a particularly important role to play when it comes to putting our best foot forward. By being pleasant and helpful, they can do more than get customers where they need to go – they can make transit a bright spot in an otherwise hectic day (as one recent Route 5 customer said of their operator: “She just makes the morning right.”)                               

The response from customers shows operators are in large part delivering exemplary service. Over the last five years operators have received an average of 1,340 annual commendations – one for every 52,000 rides – and achieved an admirable 4:1 ratio of commendations to complaints. 

In a 2012 customer survey, nearly nine of ten riders rated our service as “good to excellent” and the number of customers who said they would recommend our service compared to such popular companies as Apple, Amazon and Jet Blue.   

Such praise is particularly impressive since an operator’s individual interactions are time-constrained. Operators must also balance individual needs against the demands of all customers aboard or waiting for the bus or train as well as others sharing the road.

Our operators have overcome these obstacles simply by doing their job well. One of the few factors under their control is the time they begin their routes. With more than 1,400 daily pull-outs, year-to-date on-time performance is nearly perfect. So far this year, there has been an average of three late pull-outs every day.

Outside of the bus and train, Transit Store employees, Transit Information Center representatives and Customer Relations are also playing a key supporting role.

TIC representatives have answered nearly 800,000 customer calls this year and expect to take another 400,000 more by the end of 2013. Customers who reach out to Metro Transit for personalized route and schedule information can expect friendly, reliable service in record time. With the use of new technology, calls now take less than two minutes to complete.

Such assistance can be invaluable for customers becoming acquainted with transit or trying to reach unfamiliar destinations. One customer who wrote earlier this year said they felt a TIC representative who helped them find their way to interviews in obscure locations “directly contributed” to their success. 

Our Customer Relations representatives are having an equally impressive impact. Through July, they have taken nearly 48,000 customer calls and responded to more than 5,100 email inquiries. They have also helped return nearly 300 bikes and more than 2,500 lost items.

Customer Advocates who play a key role introducing customers to Metro Transit have meanwhile presented to nearly 5,000 people this year.             

As our system grows and more new customers join the transit community, it will remain just as critical for Metro Transit to maintain its focus on customer service. Even as our volume grows I have no doubt the commitment to service excellence that we’ve seen on display will only continue to improve.  

> Mid-year progress report: On the right track

> Comment on Metro Transit service

> Outreach: We’re here to help

> Transit help just a phone call away

> Lost & Found at Metro Transit

> Metro Transit Stores