Three Views of Customer Service

Customer Service was a big issue in Toronto’s transit discussions over the past year.  Transit touches a wide group of users, and even those who drive listen to horror stories about bad transit trips if only to reinforce their own choice.  “Choice” is an important word for transit, and as with any business, customers are hard-won and easily lost.  The “product” isn’t just “getting there”, but doing so dependably in reasonable comfort.  Everyone knows that real products often fail to live up to the glossy brochure, and the beautiful merchandise in the shop window or online may not match personal experience.

Three different reactions were published in past months, and the contrast between them says a lot about their origins.

  • TTC’s Customer Service Advisory Panel produced a long, if not particularly well-edited report full of recommendations, but ending with an injunction to riders that they should mind their P’s & Q’s if they expect good service.
  • GO Transit announced its Passenger Charter, a much simpler set of goals developed in cooperation with GO’s Customer Service Advisory Committee and employees.  This charter is supported by a number of web pages where riders can track GO’s delivery of what it has promised.
  • The RCCAO (Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario) funded a report by Dr. Richard Soberman which recommends, among other things, a strong customer service focus in the provision of transit.

TTC’s Customer Service Advisory Panel

Back in August 2010, I reviewed the TTC report in detail and will not dwell on it here beyond noting that its vast collection of recommendations creates a “can’t see the forest for the trees” situation.  TTC management produced a preliminary response to the report including a table cross-referencing many issues scattered through the advisory’s committee’s recommendations.  A more detailed response is expected for consideration by the new Commission early in 2011.

Consolidation of recommendations and goals will be essential to any meaningful change and measurement within the organization.  For example, if a goal is to “provide reliable service”, this will have many components ranging from adequacy of scheduled service to line management to vehicle breakdown rates and more.  Some of these can be reported directly as an index to be tracked (how often does a bus fail in service, and why) while others are the result of management philosophy (how much service reaches its advertised destination and on how reliable a headway).

The TTC’s big challenge will be to provide an open view of what is going on.  There is a long-standing organization culture that not only resists change, but attempts to maintain the fantasy of an ideal TTC, the one people used to visit to see how things are done right.  This organization fought public exposure of the NextBus maps showing vehicle locations and irregular service.  The first part of any customer service improvement is to acknowledge what could be improved and work on this in a demonstrable way rather than finding excuses or hiding the evidence.

Some of that evidence is directly available from vehicle monitoring systems.  Automated digestion and publication of information about service reliability is within the TTC’s grasp, should they choose to provide it.  Through the Open Data initiative, the detailed raw data should be available in January 2011, and this will give the bit-twiddlers like me lots to chew on.  However, routine reporting on service quality shouldn’t be down to the efforts of pro bono amateurs.

Although it is easy to monitor vehicles, it is less simple to monitor passengers.  How many of them are crammed on one bus while two half-empty ones follow a few hundred feet behind?  How often are they forced to transfer when vehicles are short-turned, or to endure much longer than advertised wait times when service does not reach the end of the line?

Such analysis, of course, begs the question of what is good service?  What are we trying to measure?  Will there be a measure of “cost effectiveness” that produces a happy balance sheet, but unhappy would-be transit riders?

GO Transit’s Passenger Charter

GO has much simpler aims, and announced them as a starting point complete with a number of online tools.  GO has five simple goals:  be on time, be safe, keep passengers informed, provide a comfortable trip and provided assistance when it is needed.  “Simple” could easily become “simplistic” if the goals ended at such an abstract level, but GO has set up a number of tracked measures that anyone — riders, GO management, politicians, the media — can use to see what they have achieved.

Sadly, GO has already fallen behind in posting updates to their figures, and the monthly stats for October are still not online as I write this near the end of November.  However, detailed information about major delays is up to date.

Any system that claims it will report metrics regularly needs to stick to that schedule.  If we have a terrible snowbound winter, we need to have those stats — good or bad — available before people are sunning on the beach.  Nothing exposes a lack of interest in passengers better than outdated information be it on web pages or the dog-eared, long expired service notices so common on the TTC .

The largest collection of data details on time performance by GO Rail services.  Within these pages, a reader can investigate overall on time stats or drill down to individual routes.  Some of the stats are accumulated over a one-year interval and it is impossible to see what the seasonal fluctuation might be.

Another problem is that statistics are mingled between the periods before and after GO adjusted its schedules to reflect actual operating conditions — it’s easier to be on time when you pad the schedules.  Given the infrequent nature of GO service, being “on time” means being “on schedule”, as compared to frequent TTC services where reliable headways are far more important.  At the very least, charts should include footnotes indicating when major changes that could affect reliability were implemented.

The metrics for some of the five goals are rather simple, and boil down to asking “do more people like us this year than last year”.  To be fair, this sort of thing is hard to measure, and the all-too-prevalent modern management fetish for reducing everything to an index can trivialize a much more complex process.  Customer service demands an organizational culture that ranks this as an important part of overall operations.  It’s not just about the trains, but the people who are in them.  Parts of that experience don’t easily translate to a number.

GO is working to overcome a record of indifference and, at times, outright hostility in its treatment of the public.  Whether this effort will be sustained remains to be seen, to be tested by a season of bad weather and the inevitable deterioration in service.

GO’s public face is relentlessly a sunny one.  News is always good.  Employees always smile.  The numbers this year always look better than last.  While transit success stories are encouraging, I can’t help wondering what will happen when things turn sour, when funding constrains service growth, when maintenance practices and equipment age start to affect reliability.

Will GO evolve into another TTC, desperate to defend its fading glory, or will it address problems when they emerge head on?  Will GO’s ability to provide detailed information about its performance, about the underlying causes of problems, be compromised by the sheer volume of information as the system grows, or worse by a desire to keep the good news flowing?  That’s a challenge for any organization, doubly so for the very public political environment of a transit agency.

Scaling Up GO Metrics To The TTC

The idea that I can check on whether a specific train will have empty seats at my station is, in a TTC context, almost quaint.  TTC passengers have very different interests, and the system is far bigger than GO.  Reporting on service quality will be challenging, but it should be done and, to the extent possible, be automated so that information is current.

The TTC already has a log of major delays, although its content depends on information posted on FaceBook by TTC Communications staff.  If they don’t hear about a delay, or don’t consider it worth sending out an alert, it just vanishes.  Given the degree to which the TTC depends on the excuse that their service is unreliable thanks to external events, a more complete log of such events would be useful to make their case.

Service depends on vehicle reliability, but we never see breakdown or availability statistics even in regular public reports to the Commission.  How many service disruptions are caused by vehicles failing in service?  How much service never gets out of the garage because there is no available vehicle (or no available operator)?

The TTC reports “on time” statistics, but these are meaningless on two counts.  A vehicle is considered “on time” if it is within three minutes of schedule, but on many routes, this window is greater than a headway.  Two or three vehicles can be running in a pack, but they are all “on time”.  What riders care about is regularity of service.  Do buses and streetcars arrive roughly on the spacing advertised?  Do they all go to their destinations?  Even if some are short turned, are there large, unpredictable gaps at the terminals, or is a regular service maintained beyond the turnbacks?

Which routes are overcrowded?  “Crowding” needs to be measured not just on average vehicle load — a full bus and an empty one are, on average, half-loaded — but on the experience of a typical rider.  Bunching and short turns can cause uneven demands on vehicles, and the “average rider” does not experience the “average load”.  TTC riding counts estimate the occupancy of each vehicle, but merge this together as an average — the data are available, but they are not reported.

Maintenance projects that take escalators and elevators out of service are a continuing annoyance, not least because they rarely meet their advertised end dates.  The TTC’s website includes information on such projects, and some of it is even accurate, but the reasons for completion dates receding into the mists of the future are never stated.  Customers will understand if there is some force majeure delay, but they tire of repeatedly updated end dates and no sign of progress.

What the TTC is selling is service.  Smiling faces are nice, but more employees will smile and more riders will smile back if their day-to-day environment improves.

Dr. Soberman’s Recipe for Better Transit

Richard Soberman’s report for the RCCAO argues that good transit service is essential to attracting the “choice riders”, those who could drive, but for whom transit really is “the better way”.  Three components of transit are essential, in his view, for this to happen:  customer service, revised governance and reliable financing.

Many components within the “customer service” list involve the environment in which employees work and include encouragement of innovation, better labour-management relations, and empowering staff to behave in ways that make for good customer relations.  Sadly, this reads like text cribbed from a generic tome on customer service, and does not address the real situation in which transit systems operate.

Without question, the TTC is very much a command-based organization where innovation is not exactly the order of the day, especially down at the operating level.  This is a managerial problem and a deep part of “TTC culture”.  At the front line, the fine words about serving customers ring hollow if there aren’t enough buses on the street and the service is disorganized more often than not.

If being “on time” is more valued than providing “good service”, the front line staff will respond accordingly, if not appropriately from a customer service perspective.  If departmental rivalries and priorities get in the way of overall organizational performance, then “innovation” is unlikely to flourish.

Soberman argues that a transit board should not include politicians, but instead should have informed professionals who bring a variety of skills to their position.  This model presumes that boards would actually be chosen with a view to these skills, and not to the political leanings of the members.  Moreover, it presumes that management itself is competent and would do a spectacular job of running the transit system if only the politicians would get out of the way.  Years of experience at TTC and GO have shown that these assumptions are deeply flawed.

Boards are supposed to set policy and strategic directions, but too often the choices placed before them are limited to what management wishes to advocate or to what the politics of the day will support.  TTC and GO management both have their views of how transit should evolve in the GTA, and they don’t want to be bothered by pesky folks questioning their professional judgement.  If a Board is politically accountable, then there is hope that management will be held to account in a public forum.

One need only look at recent debacles such as the Georgetown South project on GO which took escalation to Ottawa to force responsible behaviour at a major construction site, or the proposed changes at east end subway stations that appeared out of nowhere.  Those are only a few examples of transit management in action.

GO/Metrolinx has a Board that does not deign to take deputations at its rare meetings, and provides only tightly managed, out-of-the-public-eye opportunities for interaction between staff and communities.  Board members rarely dirty their hands with the business end of “customer service”, and may discover only too late that a problem has escalated out of control.   TTC as a political Board is more visible, and provides, when a member chooses to support an issue, a mechanism for public input and comment.

Neither Board is actively involved in day-to-day issues, although TTC members certainly hear on a daily basis about what’s wrong with their system.  Most GO riders probably don’t even know who the Metrolinx board members are.

Reliable financing is easily the most political of the issues facing the GTA.  Soberman argues that this will likely come from some form of road pricing given the low appeal of taxes in the current environment.  That’s an odd statement considering that the word “toll” sends politicians running for cover.  The real problem is one of advocacy, of developing political support in the electorate for spending money on transit.  This will not be done by an anonymous Board of “experts” hiding away in an office building, but by people who get out into the communities and change public opinion.  By definition, those people are politicians.

Soberman flags “effective public consultation” as part of his recipe for better customer service, and cites the St. Clair project as an example of flawed consultation.  Regardless of one’s opinion on the process or the eventual result, this is fundamentally a political discussion.  Staff cannot be expected to mediate between competing views of such projects, but they should be expected to present the options and examine alternatives in a fair manner.  The moment the public feels that “the fix is in”, consultation stops and bitter political battles begin.

I cannot help feeling that governance discussions are a hobby-horse, and a Trojan one at that, aimed at diverting us from the real issues:  adequate funding and responsive, responsible management.  Changing the makeup of the TTC will not make the Queen car run reliably and could endanger the only real mechanism long-suffering riders have today to vent their complaints.  Bluntly, looking at the experience of the Metrolinx Board, I would not expect robust discussions about how the system operated, day to day, at a reconstituted TTC even though such debates are central to good customer service.  This may be seen as “micromanaging” by some, but that’s too much the “we know what’s best for you” management attitude despised by many in the recent election.

Soberman has, I feel, scored about 50% here.  Customer service is vital, but that’s almost a free point on any exam — would anyone seriously advocate something else?  The real problem is how to bring about the environment, the culture in which that service is actually experienced by the riders.  Financing is another free point, but I would deduct marks for the presumption that road pricing is the only answer.  Governance changes are a non-starter.  The real control will always be at the political level, and we risk losing the benefit of Councillors who actually have to learn, painfully at times, something about the transit system they govern.


These three views of Customer Service are intriguing for their contrasts.  The real issue through all of them is delivery.  Writing reports is the easy part, but making real changes is much harder.  Measuring and reporting on success — and on failure — is important if we are to know what works, and if we are to convince those who must change practices and, possibly, spend more money that the effort and cost were worthwhile.

GO and TTC are vastly different agencies in size and in type of service, and what works for one will almost certainly not scale up to the other.  Regardless of size, however, is the need to change, to be better.  This could descend into a battle for funding or a debate about the role of labour in aiding or thwarting better service.  If that’s the only result, then customers will sit on platforms and street corners, waiting as they have for so long, while nothing substantive happens.

Real change requires political will to understand what transit can be, to debate openly the tradeoffs needed to improve it, to advocate and commit to a higher standard rather than just enough to get by.

13 thoughts on “Three Views of Customer Service

  1. I’m not opposed to metrics by which we measure ‘success’; indeed, these are sometimes quite useful and necessary. But I’m always concerned that over-measuring and endless analysis are simply another form of intransigent navel-gazing.

    Your (Steve’s) measuring work on TTC route performance has been helpful and needed; but if I can express it this way, … it shouldn’t have been. Not because the TTC should have produced the report … but because if routes were well-managed, and customers/riders happy, no one (or very few) would care.

    The analysis is needed only BECAUSE the performance is sub-par.

    Steve: Definitely. I had been writing about line management privately for years based on ad hoc observations on the street, but with the availability of data, was able to prove my point. Yes it should not have been necessary. The TTC has not even tried to prove me wrong, just grumbled privately about what I was doing and said nothing.

    Even in a well-run system, it is worth producing analyses to see what went wrong when things were less than perfect.

    Its like those endless cleaning reports every 3 months … which I read with interest … Except … I never felt the need for reports, until, like most, I noticed one day that the system was looking much shabbier than it once had. I’m still more interested in proper cleanliness and maintenance than I am in a report.

    I wonder how much staff time and money goes into the report than could hire one more janitor or replace a section of missing tile?


    Customer service is a culture, at every level, from management on down. Its something the TTC does not exude.

    From the driver on my bus last night, who didn’t say a thing, when I said ‘Hello’ or ‘Goodnight’ … to the plant maintenance manager who still hasn’t replaced the missing tile in Bloor-Yonge, six months later … There is a culture of indifference.

    I’m not sure how it’s fixed, but my suspicion is that a few metrics will not get us there, nor will a switch in governance models. What the precise answer is … I’m not sure.


  2. Steve

    This posting takes a very good look at the different issues related to customer service and the different approaches that are being taken.

    I certainly think GO can get away with a smaller, less comprehensive customer service plan since they have far fewer issues and challenges (and expectations) that they have to face.

    As for the TTC, I really have to wonder, what will it take to get the change in “TTC Culture” that is sorely needed? Adam G and some of the senior staff appeared to be genuinely interested in soliciting feedback and actually listening to it (and sometimes, taking it on the chin).

    Many (though definitely not all) among the politicians, media, and the public have educated themselves on public transport and become far more aware than ever. We have regular features on public transport, as well as Transit Camp, Transit City planning, Customer Service feedback sessions, new train mock-ups, etc. Not to mention, TTC continued to increase their passenger numbers during the recession, which says a lot for public faith and support of the TTC.

    And yet, the TTC has got a horrible reputation and TTC employees and streetcars are bearing the worst of the blame.

    Here we are coming off of what might be the best relationship between the TTC and the public that I have seen since the days of children’s tickets at 10c/ea and it seems that things will “go no further”

    So what do you (and those who read this site) think are the solutions? A crop of better educated public and politicians? Members of the public on the TTC board? More media attention? Less media attention? Greater expectations or lowered expectations?

    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad

    Steve: As a starter, the most important thing is, in the best Canadian tradition, something we should not do. There is a move afoot to consolidate management’s hold on TTC decision-making by reducing the Board to a bunch of “experts” who will meet now and then, as often in private as not, to contemplate options put to them by staff. Meet the public? Listen to criticism? Engage in debate? Accept the possibility that the organization isn’t perfect and publicly be accountable for fixing it? No, I think that’s not what an “expert” Board would bring us, presuming we got real transit expertise rather than a collection of ambitious lawyers and dentists.

    Politicians, for all their imperfections, will be the ones making the ultimate decisions about funding and, through that, policy. The desire for an apolitical Commission comes from recent times when media events and good news were the Chair’s stock in trade. Micromanaging? Yes, and yet there were times the only way to get things done at the TTC was to transform what should have been a routine management function into a public cause. Flogging management on Nathan Phillips Square at high noon may be excessive, but accountability must be exercised somehow. If that takes Commissioners who ask questions and raise operational issues, so be it.


  3. It is relatively straightforward to understand whether or not a metric is useful. A metric should be helpful in at least one of the following:

    a) Identifying a problem, or confirming an absence of a certain type of problem
    b) Pinpointing the cause of an identified problem
    c) Establishing a starting point for developing a solution to a problem

    If the metric is not helpful in any of these, then the metric can be considered, as James put it, “intransigent navel-gazing.”

    I think the problem with a reports every so often is that they sometimes provide detailed description of a problem without saying anything about how to solve it. An “It is the way it is” report doesn’t really help anybody, as the people that would actually be affected by such a report probably already know that something’s wrong, likely with at least a vague idea why if it’s an-almost daily issue.

    If innovation belongs anywhere, it’s in reports that should be striving to resolve problems, not just acknowledging the existence of problems in detail.

    Steve: A good analogy would be to the simplest of financial reports, a profit and loss statement. Profits may go up, but that tells you nothing about whether the underlying company is working to its best advantage. Are there better ways of making widgets? Does your profit depend on a captive market that may not last forever? Could you change the widget to improve your market share? Entire industries have disappeared through complacency.


  4. TTC needs a significant cultural shift to improve its customer service – that is something which most people will agree on. However, what exactly should the comission and general manager actually *do* to bring about that shift?


  5. I await the discussion about the TTC in 18 months after even more people call Rob Ford about things like bus bunching on Finch West. As I suspect he was already getting those sort of calls and not really doing anything, I don’t think much will change under the new regime until a breaking point occurs and management then finally gets flagged for not doing its job.

    Only if the politicians listen will TTC management be asked/ordered to contemplate or implement the necessary management changes. It is the responsibility of the board to set the proper culture in place and for management to implement what the board wants within the broad framework of providing service. For too long it seems we have had TTC boards either too reliant on TTC staff for advice or unwilling to hold management accountable for its culture.

    Until this changes, the standard response to the customer service issue at the TTC on the part of many to the right politically will be to blame the union and Miller (I suspect he will be the right’s bogey man for 5 years). I always find this opinion interesting because blaming the union assumes competence at the management level can be controlled through simply hiring the right people; anybody who has studied management knows it will take more then hiring to change things, as the TTC management culture is deeply flawed (and Miller and Giambrone are not responsible for the TTC management culture – that goes back to the 70’s, at least).

    Meanwhile the left seems to want to avoid the discussion of customer service completely because they want to be supporting the TTC, whatever that means, when there are anti-transit moves being contemplated.

    Seems on one side people assume managers know what they are doing and on the other, they don’t want to knock anybody at all.

    Hopefully this will change if we could get TTC board members that are interested in running it like a board, with proper oversight, and not like either a briefing place for technocrats or a way to get things done in their constituency.

    Steve: I have run into problems with “the left” being uncomfortable with some of my commentary because it plays into the hands of those who would attack the TTC as “broken”. Well, folks, it may not be broken, but it ain’t perfect either, and wishing won’t make it so.


  6. As long as we are brainstorming here couldn’t the individuals responsible for the poor service be identified and replaced?

    Steve: It’s less a question of individuals (there’s more than a few) than of an attitude that things are ok, thank you.


  7. So what would be a good way to fix the prevailing TTC culture which you complain so much about?

    Steve: If those at the top only talk platitudes, but don’t do the hard work of finding how to improve the organization, it’s very hard. Adam Giambrone had a strong interest in how things worked, but as his political career evolved, his focus turned to good news stories and away from wrestling with management. The incoming crew may bring a “run a tight ship” attitude that wants to cut costs, but doesn’t want to do the hard work of understanding what drives them. This sort of approach creates an embattled management and staff whose behaviour becomes even harder to change — if the assumption is that you can’t do a good job, you usually won’t try harder.

    This is a difficult nut to crack because we shouldn’t have board members micromanaging the system, but for this to work, they need to have senior management who actively work at improvement rather than self-justification. Attracting new managers is difficult in the transit industry because there are so few people to draw on, and this is compounded if the overriding concern is to cut back rather than to build the system. It’s a problem of mixed messages.

    The Ford administration says that they care about customer service. Let’s see how this translates into action. Being able to call the Mayor to complain about transit service isn’t enough — his team must address the problem and its multiple facets.


  8. Steve names “a collection of ambitious lawyers and dentists” as a possible problem with a non-politician TTC board.

    If this comment was based on history, one dentist does come to my mind. As for lawyers, there’s an awful lot of them to choose from.

    Steve: I am trying to be circumspect. My point is that knowledge of transit did not seem to have anything to do with this type of appointment. Being a good buddy of those in power was the critical factor. How this leads to a board that is any more “expert” than a bunch of Councillors, I don’t know, but it does make the Board less available for ongoing criticism of its performance. Can you say “Metrolinx”?


  9. TTC needs to get rid of this ‘3 minute’ rule. I’ve never heard of any transit system that allows vehicles to operate ahead of schedule and this is far too frequently abused. Maybe their on-time stats look so good because so many vehicles are unnecessarily ahead of schedule.


  10. There is only one way to “fix” the TTC. Make it clear to management it is their job to “manage” and to make customer satisfaction a top priority. To get this across it needs to be made perfectly clear this is the “new” TTC and anyone who does not get with the program will be shown the exit. PERIOD! No Ifs, Ands or Buts. Once a few have been dismissed, the rest will “get it.”


  11. It strikes me that the failing of these initiatives is in differentiating between “customer service” and “transit service”. To me, the former refers to things such as friendliness of employees, likelihood of staff to go the proverbial extra mile, dispute resolution, and how the agency handles occasional unexpected crises. The TTC’s advisory panel, for example, seems to refer to “Customer service” initiatives in this vein.

    “Transit service,” however, should arguably be a much more important priority for the TTC — ensuring that enough service is scheduled at various times of the day, and ensuring that the service operates as scheduled to the greatest degree possible (whether to an actual clock time or to a headway).

    “Customer service” is likely what was the impetus for the TTC to do something — several unfortunately timed incidents and major disruptions — but it was “transit service” issues, simmering under the surface, that set the table for the crisis. The “customer service” issues were simply the tipping point. I would suggest that if the “transit service” issues can be addressed or substantially mitigated, the public would be a lot more forgiving of “customer service” issues. After all, “transit service” is what the TTC does — “customer service” is a secondary area, even if it may be closely related. When I’ve been waiting for a bus for 35 minutes in a lonely industrial park, wondering when it’ll arrive, issues of customer service are certainly lower on my priority list.


  12. As a daily GO rider, my biggest customer service frustration is not the fact that there are delays, but rather that ‘customer service ambassadors’ and station agents routinely lie about delays. For example, it will be announced at a station that a train is 15-20 minutes behind schedule 2 minutes or less before it’s scheduled arrival. Unless the train teleported backwards, GO has known for quite some time that the train isn’t going to make it on time. Rather than being up front with passengers so then can evaluate other alternatives to get where they’re going on time, GO will never report the delay to you until the last possible minute. Departure boards at Union will be indicating 5:05 departure for a certain train right up to 5:05, even if that train is at Long Branch at 5:04. This was most amusing when a previous schedule iteration required a particular westbound train to average over 150km/h (or alternatively, have riders board instantaneously at Pickering) between Pickering and Rouge Hill to reach Rouge Hill on time. The train would be 5-7 minutes late every day, because it was physically impossible for it to be on time. Yet the delay would never be announced until 1 or 2 minutes had passed from the scheduled arrival time.

    Likewise, ‘waiting for a signal’ routinely morphs into ‘uncorrectable mechanical failure causing this train to go out of service’ after being at a standstill for half an hour or more. If the CSA has no idea what the problem is or how long the delay will be, they should say that, rather than misleading customers into thinking an hour-long delay will be just a few moments.

    There is one simple practice that will help instill an appreciation for punctuality on the GO: just as the CSA’s scripted speech upon arrival at Union includes ‘… we are arriving on schedule at Union Station…’ when the train is on time, REQUIRE them to state exactly how many minutes behind schedule the train is, if it is in fact behind schedule (any reference to schedules is usually omitted if the train is delayed, hence many riders who are less OCD than me don’t notice 1 or 2 minute delays).

    Steve: Yes, I have been rather concerned that GO’s love for good news will lead them to paper over problems. Good “customer information” requires that people have accurate info as soon as possible, not ten or twenty minutes after the fact. Even if they are stuck on a train and don’t have an alternative, they would at least know what is going on.


  13. Brent’s comments regarding ‘transit service’ versus ‘customer service’ are interesting.

    My take on it is that ‘transit service’ is always a proactive function, which is why it should be the TTC’s priority. On the other hand, while ‘customer service’ can also be a proactive function, it ends up more often than not being a reactive function, and ends up not being done well partly because of that.

    If the TTC did a better job with ‘transit service’, then there would be much less need to have ‘customer service’ that is reactive.


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