Friday, October 27, 2006

Troubles at VIVA continue

This morning on my way into work, while waiting for 9 minutes to transfer buses between VIVA Purple to VIVA Orange, I decided to purchase my November monthly pass.

I used the automated fare machine to purchase the pass. However, nothing came out after the machine's screen finished saying "please wait, I'm printing your tickets." I looked in and saw the problem. There was a gap between where the ticket is dispensed from and the receptacle. There was a white piece of paper in it. It was my receipt. I managed to fish that out of the machine. Next, I searched for the pass in that same hole no wider than your pinky. I nudged the piece of paper in the gap and it fell lower out of reach. This pass cost me $120.00!

While my hands and knees were getting acquainted with the concrete sidewalk, I copied down the Location# (9715) and Device # (0802) from the tag at the bottom left hand corner of the machine. I then reported it to the VIVA Orange bus driver on bus # 5132. He called it into transit control who said I had to call customer service instead.

So, I got to work and called customer service. I listened to their two minutes of pre-recorded information and was told that now my call was being transferred to the customer service agent. The phone rang four times and then I got nothing except dead air. I waited a minute and then nothing.

So I dialed the number again and waited through the two minutes of pre-recorded information (including for more information please visit our website! ARGH!). Then, I had to wait in the usual que for a customer service agent to pick up. This call occurred shortly after 8 A.M. and there isn't enough customer service agents to handle the calls? Perhaps more agents need to be hired or perhaps the bus system is receiving so many questions and complaints that communication with the customers need to be thought out.

Elsie picked up and I explained what happened. She said that I should expect a response to my query sometime next week.

I pointed out November started next Wednesday and what was I supposed to do then, get a $150.00 ticket from VIVA/YRT's Rent a Cops because I didn't have a monthly pass and the receipt would not suffice? I asked why one of the supervisors who always seem to be hiding in their cars sleeping instead of assisting the passengars, might be able to deliver me the monthly pass in question. I pointed out that I did work really close to one of their major terminals (Downsview Station) and perhaps they could deliver one there sometime by Wednesday.

Elsie said she would transfer me to someone, she said I had to lose the sarcasm though.

I thought to myself, I'm out $120.00 right now, I believe I've paid for the right to be sarcastic.

Elsie noted that person is not working yet as this person starts work at 8:30, so I should leave a voicemail.

I was transferred to another line and someone picked up. She said Elsie had transferred me to the wrong person. This person transferred me to Vanessa.

Vanessa was awesome! I gave her all my information of where, when, and how I lost the pass. She said she would call dispatch to see if a technician could visit the VIVA vending machine in question and figure out when I could get the pass. She called back in five minutes to say a technician was en route to the machine.

In fifteen Vanessa called back to say the technician would visit me at the office in under an hour. She apologized profusely about the situation. She also noted that the technician said there were two problems at this machine.

Apparently, there was a report of another Michael Suddard who had his debit card stuck in the machine as well as Vanessa's request to retrieve a pass for Michael Suddard. I said to Vanessa that I never said I had my debit card stuck in the machine. In fact, I noted, I have my debit cards on me and their perfectly fine. Elsie hadn't been listening to my story about losing the pass. But at least Vanessa did. She noted she was going into a meeting later that day and would bring up the problem I ran into. I also pointed out that the VIVA Orange to Downsview and the VIVA Purple to Martin Grove miss each other every day by one minute, yet I just get the runaround that "VIVA operates like the subway." I pointed out to Vanessa that perhaps VIVA should run the Toronto subway and have the TTC Subway trains operate every fifteen minutes! We both laughed at this, but she got my point and would pass it on.

Within the hour, Wade had dropped off the pass and again apologized for the confusion.

So BRAVO to Wade and Vanessa for quickly fixing the problem. I was imagining a possibly bureaucratic nightmare. I'm ecstatic that didn't happen.

JEERS to Elsie for screwing this up and the customer service line where you have to wait for two minutes and cannot press "0" to speak to a human.

JEERS again to customer service centre and the VIVA Rent a Cops for not ensuring the Ontario Smoke Free Act and the YRT Customer Code of Conduct (Region of York By-law # R-415-2005-028 section 3.21) at Richmond Hill Centre Terminal is enforced. People smoke at this transit terminal despite the no smoking signs being posted at the station,. the above customer code of conduct posted on the York Region Transit website and a report by myself that smoking is an ongoing issue. The terminal is also littered with cigrette butts and yet enforcement never seems to be around! Even BIGGER JEERS and a BIGGER SHAME! to the transit supervisor at Richmond Hill Centre Termianl who, every morning, stands next to a VIVA driver on break and lets this said DRIVER SMOKE! So why go about posting the signs on every single window at the station and post it on your website if your own enforcement refuses to even enforce it? SHAME ON YRT!

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