December 6, 2012

D.C. Metro gets high marks in customer survey

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Metrobus and Metrorail customers feel safe, would recommend Metrobus and Metrorail, and like Metro’s public information tools for travel planning, according to Metro’s new Voice of the Customer report.

“Hearing from our customers is one of the best and most important tools we have as we make decisions about Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess service. Assembling feedback from a variety of sources gives us a more comprehensive view of service and helps us focus on constantly improving our customers' experience," said Tom Downs, chair, customer service and operations committee.

The Voice of the Customer report surveyed rail and bus riders about customer satisfaction, reliability, safety, cleanliness and customer service. Voice of the Customer will be used in conjunction with findings from the mystery shopper program and comments received by the customer service office to develop a fuller understanding of customers’ experience riding on the system. The survey, which will be conducted quarterly, enables Metro to recognize excellence and take corrective action where necessary. Areas needing improvement include service delivery by station managers and railcar reliability. In addition, bus service reliability lags in the eyes of younger customers (under age 35).

“It’s gratifying to see that our customers are getting good bus, rail and paratransit service, and are getting the information they need from the website and call center to plan their trips,” said Metro GM and CEO Richard Sarles. “We’re also hearing clearly where we need to make improvements and will use customer input to develop solutions.”

In the Voice of the Customer report for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Metro surveyed 770 rail and bus riders by telephone. Customers were asked about safety, reliability, whether they would recommend Metro to a friend, cleanliness, service delivery and customer information. Highlights from the first survey include:

  • 87% of bus riders and 86% of rail riders rated high satisfaction with security.
  • 79% of bus and rail riders reported a high likelihood to recommend Metro to a friend.
  • 84% indicated a high satisfaction with bus service.
  • 80% indicated a high satisfaction with rail service.
  • 73% of rail riders were highly satisfied with station cleanliness, one of the highest scores among large transit agencies.
  • Trip planning information and service scored 100% among customers who used the website and 91% who called customer service call center.
  • Metro system maps had an 83% satisfaction rating among bus customers and 100% rating for rail riders.

MetroAccess scored high marks in a separate survey of 400 paratransit customers. Nine of 10 MetroAccess customers said drivers were courteous, helpful and knowledgeable, and 95% gave high performance scores for safety. While the survey also showed that 41% of customers reported having a problem on the system, 91% said that MetroAccess staff tried their best to help them.

Both Metrorail and Metrobus are developing customer service action plans and customers service programs to improve customer satisfaction.

The Voice of the Customer Report will be Metro’s new performance indicator for customer satisfaction. Results reported publicly in Vital Signs.

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