Wednesday, August 08, 2012

NJ Transit Releases Latest Customer Survey Results

Before we get to the details, let's get to how NJ Transit released the results. For those who have participated in the past, you get emails acknowledging when the new results have been tabulated. Here's what the email said:
Dear NJ TRANSIT Customer,

Thank you for participating in our quarterly Customer Satisfaction Survey. You were one of 15,710 respondents providing feedback to help us focus our time, talent and resources on the things that matter most to you. In the June 2012 survey you told us that the most important areas for us to improve are: On-time Performance, Fares and Weekday PM peak and Evening schedules.

We hear you. With your help, NJ TRANSIT was able to improve scores across the board! Helping us to meet our overall satisfaction goal of 6.0. Best of all, over 3 out of 4 customers would recommend our services to a friend or relative!

In the next twelve months, NJ TRANSIT is once again committed to conducting quarterly customer satisfaction surveys. Please continue to assist us in this effort. This regular feedback will enable us to provide you the quality transportation service you deserve, one trip at a time!

For detailed survey results visit the NJ TRANSIT website by clicking here.

Anyone see what's wrong with that picture. Since when is it acceptable in a customer service setting to accept an overall goal of 6? That's what the agency is striving for? A 6 out of 10?

So, without further ado, here's the results. While the results show quarter over quarter improvement, there's a long way to go before customer service is where it needs to be. On-time performance, particularly on the Northeast Corridor has room for improvement. But perhaps the biggest problem is how the agency handles disruptions. It's all too common for equipment or signal problems to throw timetables into complete disregard. Yet, the agency still can't timely inform commuters of problems and how to make alternative arrangements. After all, NJ Transit will initially say that there's 10 to 15 minute delays, and in the blink of an eye, it's 30-40 minutes.

The single best way to improve things is for NJ Transit to spend more on infrastructure to bring it up to a state of good repair. That means upgraded and improved signals, overhead lines in conjunction with Amtrak, and new railcars. On the latter front, NJ Transit has bought new multilevel cars, but that's not a cure-all since those trains are still subject to antiquated signals and equipment that is prone to failure (think Portal Bridge).

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