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March 01, 2008


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Joe Caruso

Steve: Promising exemplary service is frankly oversimplifying a very complex issue. People ride transit for two basic reason: convenience and reliability. When there are deep service cuts and fare increases that far exceed inflation, good customer service can only go so far. Those actions indicate a lack of fiscal support. If my bus no longer comes because the trip or route was cut, or if the frequency of service is increased and I can't make a transfer connection, then those factors ae no longer in play and I go away as a rider. In my opinion, putting the burden on front line employees to make up in friendliness what bad funding policy takes away in actual service product is unfair and unrealistic.

Steve Hirano

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the comment. I guess what I was trying to say is that a smile and friendly greeting doesn't cost anything and can help to mitigate the public relations damage caused by fare increases and service cuts. That's something that transit properties should be impressing upon their bus operators regardless of their financial health. From my own experience as a choice bus rider, I can honestly say that the operator's attitude had a small bus significant impact on my day-to-day decision whether to ride the bus.

Thanks again.


Fred Camino

I agree Steve that customer service is neglected by transit agencies.

I don't know if I buy Joe's statement that people ride transit for convenience and reliability. Most transit riders ride transit because they have no other choice. The rest might do it if it's particularly convenient for their job, or for loftier reasons. Transit in America is typically neither convenient OR reliable. The least it could do is be friendly. Obviously good customer service can't save ridership if service is drastically cut, but it can go miles to help improve the ridership experience for all riders, transit dependent and those with a choice.

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