The Real Problem With Transit: Lack Of Customer Service

<p>Forget slogans and fancy trains. If transit agencies just focused on getting people where they need to go in a consistent, reliable (and preferably quicker) way, more people would abandon their cars.</p>
April 14, 2008, 1pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"The bus lurches to a stop behind a rush-hour fender bender.

Passengers look up from their laptops and BlackBerrys, pausing from answering email or watching YouTube via wireless Internet access.

Their trip home is delayed.

Luckily, the vehicle has a satellite transit tracking system that shows buses and streetcars on nearby lines moving well. The information is available at passengers' fingertips via on-board touch screens, which provide real-time updates on route delays and connections.

It means riders can hop off and be assured of grabbing another bus and still getting home in time for dinner.

A futuristic glimpse of public transit? No, today in San Francisco.

Called the Connected Bus, it's a lesson in Customer Service 101.

Restaurateurs and retailers have long known how vital it is to provide service that encourages repeat business. But transit operators are behind schedule when it comes to treating riders like customers."

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Published on Monday, April 14, 2008 in The Toronto Star
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