Monday, October 10, 2005

York Region Transit Customer service

York Region Transit

On September 29th of this year I was working in the Jane and Langstaff area like I had been for the previous two weeks. The ride home was anything but enjoyable. The Route 20, northbound on Jane Street, came at 4:55 P.M. thus, I missed it. I saw it go by as I was finishing up work for the day and thought it was the previously scheduled bus operating really late. That was because the Route 20 northbound wasn't scheduled to arrive at Jane & Courtland until 5:05 P.M.

Apparently I was wrong. The 5:05 P.M. bus, which I was at Jane & Courtland for 5:00 P.M. for, never showed up and I was forced to take the 5:24 P.M. bus. Not only that but taking this later bus means I miss a connection to the Route 98 northbound bus further on in my route. In other words I take 4 YRT/VIVA buses in order to get home after work. So I was not impressed when I got home at 7:30 P.M.

I filled out the YRT online form for customer feedback that very night (September 29th) and waited all weekend for a response. I shouldn't have had to wait the weekend considering the website notes that: "If you request a response, we will be contacting you within 72 hours."

So here is the online form I forwarded to the YRT customer service online:

Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:43 PM
To: Transitinfo
Subject: YRT Web Site: Conventional Transit Compliment/Concern

Name: Michael Suddard
Travelling day: 9/29/05
Time of day: 5:00
Route number: 20
Bus number: Don' t know....
Travelling direction: Northbound on Jane
Closest major intersection: Jane Street & Courtland Avenue
Description of Incident/Event:
I was on Courtland near Jane Street and saw the YRT route 20 go wizzing
buy at 4:55 P.M..

I normally catch the bus Route 20 Northbound at Jane and Courtland
around 5:04 P.M. (usually the bus is on time lately or a few minutes late...thelatest I have
caught that bus is 5:15 P.M.). The 5:04 P.M. northbound Jane bus never showed
and I was force to take the 5:24 P.M.

The no show of the 5:04 P.M. meant that my normal transfer at Rutherford
(5:22 P.M.) didn't happen. Therefore I had to get on the 5:37 P.M. bus. The
missing of the 5:22 p.m. meant missing the the right connection, after VIVA, with
Route 98 from Bernard northward to Aurora I literraly missed the northbound
Route 98 by 1 minute as I saw it make a right onto Yonge from Bernard. I then was
forced to wait thirty minutes with three other people with similar stories.

I am now considering taking GO Transit as this is the second time in a
week this YRT bus has had problems. I am always sure to get to the bus stop at
Jane & Courtland by 5 P.M. which should provide more than enough leeway if the
bus is early. This corener is a YRT schedule point that the driver should be
using to guage his/her route timing. Therefore, he/she should be holding there
until the appropriate time on the schedule like the route 20 & 85 does at Vaughan
Mills terminal.

I have been hearing and experiencing around the issue of bad connection
times between bus routes lately. Thus, I allow a minimum of 10 minutes
between YRT schedule times to transfer to deal with lateness.


***********************************************************************
This e-mail was generated from the online feedback form
at http://www.yorkregiontransit.com/feedback.asp
on Thursday, September 29, 2005 at 8:43:27 PM
***********************************************************************

On Tuesday I received the following response:

"Transitinfo" on October 3, 2005 at 1:59 PM -0500 wrote:
Hi Michael,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding YRT Route 20.

Your concern has been entered into our tracking system to be
investigated by our Operations department. Your ticket number is 24908,
and you will be contacted with a resolution to this matter as soon as
possible.

Should you wish to inquire about the progress of your ticket, please
contact our call centre at 905-762-2100 or 1-866 MOVE YRT (668-3978) and
one of our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to assist you.
The call centre is open between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

At YRT we strive to meet and improve upon on our customer service
standards. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know your
concern.

Regards,

Laura Fudor
Customer Service Coordinator
York Region Transit
www.york.ca

OUR MISSION:

To provide quality public transit services which support the economic
vitality, environment sustainability, and health of the Regional
community.
----------------------

All fine and dandy except that the original promise of the 72 hours as posted on the YRT website had been broken.

I called on Wednesday in the afternoon to their customer service on the phone. I received a response that the problem was still being investigated. I then went onto question the representative about the e-mail response and the 72 hour issue. She said that was 72 hours in business hours. I pointed out that the website didn't say that and it should be fixed. (The website you will notice is still showing 72 hours from the time of submission and makes no mention of "business hours").

I then pointed out another interesting thing about the "ticket agent locations" in Aurora listings needed to be updated. This was because with the introduction of new fare media at the beginning of September there was now a two zone system in effect. There, the webpage needed to be updated to show which location had which type of tickets. This being Wednesday October 8th, this page had been like this for over a month. So much for "updating this page" as the webpage indicates. Does it really take over a month to update a simple webpage with 4 locations on it? Wouldn't it only take about half an hour including the time to phone these locations to see which tickets and passes they have? Apparently it does take over a month.

Uppity Update: YRT has finally, after taking ions to fix the problem, updated its ticket agent locations to reflect the new 2 zone fares. If you are going to introduce a two-zone fare system, wouldn't it be easier for people to check to make sure they can get the required tickets instead of having to call you? Just a thought for the next time around....if your going to change something...have it easily explained!

I then sent an e-mail this past Saturday (October 8th) with some strong wording to show my displeasure over how long it was taking to get a simple problem solved. All I am looking for really is an explanation on why that bus was so early. I already indicated what time the bus missed and what I thought was the right bus going by at an earlier time. So I still wonder what is taking more than a week to resolve. So here is the e-mail I sent (I also included the above two messages):


I have yet to hear about anything regarding to the [above] message. I called on Wednesday October 5 and heard the issue had yet to be resolved. The issue is now more than a week in length and there is still no answer?

Please forward me your answer as soon as possible. More than a week to investigate this simple problem? Perhaps the investigation team needs to be investigated. Why because obviously YRT does not believe in the following: " We appreciate you taking the time to let us know yourconcern." If YRT did believe this, a proper response would have already been forwarded.

Michael

----------------------------------------

So in true bureaucractic form, York Region Transit, is taking forever in trying to investigate an easy situation. Why? Couldn't a simple inquiry into who was driving the bus in question and why was he/she there so early be an easy thing to do? I guess not, that would be too easy for a bureaucratic organization to do.

I await an answer, but don't really expect one!

Uppity Update: I received the following from the York Region Transit inspector who looked into my complaint:

Hello Michael,
I regret that you suffered this experience because of a schedule adherence problem on September 29th. We have contacted the contractor and they have reminded their operators to pay attention to their schedules and keep to the timing points as the public uses this as their guide to transportation.
Please look forward to improved service in the immediate future. Please do not hesitate to call me should the need arise.
Thank you,


Beverly Berry
Transit Inspector,
York Region Transit
Regional Municipality of York
50 High Tech Road
Richmond Hill, ON
L4B 4N7
--------------------------------------------------------------

Right, so this took little more than a week to figure out? Bureaucracy is alive and well at York Region Transit. Now about that webpage.....

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