On Wednesday, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chair Adam Giambrone announced several new customer service measures.
Last week, the Commission approved the formation of an advisory panel. This panel will have representation from customers, the private sector, TTC employees and the public transit industry. The panel will review and approve a terms of reference then begin the work of assessing existing plans to improve customer service, advise on where the TTC should seek outside expertise to achieve its objective, conduct public consultations, and draft a customer charter or “bill of rights.” It is intended that the advisory panel will publicly report its recommendations by June 30.
Next week, the TTC will unveil the first phase of its trip planner. Customer feedback will be sought as the trip planner continues through development, including a mobile application. The TTC will make its data available to organizations, like Google — at no charge — so they can develop applications that may be useful to TTC customers.
This year the TTC will install up to an additional 50 pass vending machines across the system, allowing customers to purchase Metropasses. The TTC continues to work with the province of Ontario on a smart card and automatic fare payment system.
In July, all 800 streetcar stops will have SMS capability whereby customers can send a text message to the TTC and get an immediate response about when the next streetcar will arrive at that particular stop. Select shelters and subway stations serviced by streetcars will also have LED readouts with next vehicle arrival information bus stops will have the same capability in 2011 as the TTC upgrades the GPS units aboard all the buses in its fleet.
Other improvements include:
- Installation of video screens at station entrances or at collector booths with system status information. As well, direct communication with collectors and supervisors from Transit Control will be implemented to ensure employees have the latest information to help them do their jobs effectively.
- Updates to the TTC Website when a delay on the subway occurs that is greater than 15 minutes during rush hour periods and 30 minutes at all other times. E-alerts will also be issued and platform video screens will carry text advising customers of any delay.
- A thorough and comprehensive review of its training curriculum – for new employees, as well as those going through recertification training. A renewed focus on customer service will be at the core of all training. To ensure service excellence is not only achieved, but sustained, quality assurance standards will be developed, as will the use of “secret shoppers” and comprehensive supervision.
- Expanding its TTC Ambassadors Program to full-time, enabling customers to get information or assistance from an ambassador at its busiest subway stations, or during major disruptions. The TTC will also undertake a review of its uniforms and dress code for frontline workers.
- Establishing a 24/7 hotline for TTC information or for filing a complaint.