Thursday, October 13, 2011

Latest NJ Transit Customer Satisfaction Survey Leaves Riders Wanting

After receiving poor grades across the board on the first customer satisfaction survey earlier this year, NJ Transit got bad news when it released the results from the follow-up survey.

The results were even worse.

Of course, the results were skewed by several serious rail disruptions occurring just as the current survey was being distributed (derailments and major disruptions causing significant delays).
On a scale of 0 to 10, rail customers gave NJ Transit an overall grade of 4.2 in the agency's latest "Scorecard" customer satisfaction survey, down from 4.5 in April during the initial survey.

The score from bus customers went up slightly, from 5.5 in April to 5.6 in the latest survey.

For all modes of transportation, the systemwide NJ Transit score was 5.3, up from 5.2 percent in April.

The latest survey was taken by about 15,000 customers between Aug. 2 and Aug. 22. Smack in the middle of that time period was a train derailment outside New York Penn Station on Aug. 9 that led to two mornings of hellish commutes.

NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein, a rail commuter from Hamilton to Newark, said the Scorecard is the cornerstone to make the agency better and more responsive to customers.
The only way that the overall score could rise from 5.2 to 5.3 is if more bus riders were submitting surveys than rail users because the rail service was significantly worse during the latest period covered.

Service on the Main/Bergen line has been particularly bad, especially in the wake of Hurricane Irene and the disruptions on the Port Jervis line ended up affecting service due to poor planning and logistical issues in having equipment in place to handle the additional customers. Indeed, the agency all but admitted that they screwed up with a lack of information and they've eventually improved service.

Problems continually dog service along the Northeast Corridor, including power problems, Portal Bridge issues, and other delays that end up costing customers time and money.

There are no quick and easy fixes, but all customers want is to get prompt notifications when there are service disruptions so that they can have time to make alternative plans.

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