Can't get no satisfaction
Here's yet another shameless lift from a last week's Tribune Getting Around column by transportation writer Jon Hilkevitch. This one covers the CTA's customer satisfaction survey. (The link in this graph is to today's column. Last week's is no longer free online.)
"Operating like all too many CTA buses, an 8:30 a.m. meeting last Wednesday of the transit agency's Committees on Strategic Planning and Service Delivery got under way 45 minutes late.
"The failure to keep to a schedule, if not surprising, was at least poetic justice.
"The Chicago Transit Authority board members who finally showed up for the meeting heard a report on rider feedback about the agency's performance. The report was based on polling that is done every two years, what Getting Around calls the CTA Customer Dissatisfaction Survey.
"Once again, the CTA received mediocre grades overall. Can it be that the operators and supervisors on the street take their cues--a "whatever and whenever" attitude certainly prevails--from the highly paid executives responsible for ensuring service that CTA president Frank Kruesi boasts is on time, clean, safe and friendly?
"Mediocre should not cut it at the nation's second-largest transit system. The survey results, which show that customer satisfaction levels have remained stagnant since the last poll in 2001--though in some categories worse--complicate Kruesi's ongoing efforts to make the case in Springfield that the CTA deserves more operating assistance from the state.
"The CTA can blame it on the economy, but there are other reasons ridership declined in 2003. Sixty-eight percent of CTA customers own a car or can afford to own a car, but they ride the CTA instead. CTA chairman Carole Brown noted the agency has to work much harder to keep those customers, as well as attract to the CTA commuters who now drive.
"We're committed to making sure we get all A's. Until that happens, we're still working and we are not happy with the results," Brown said.
"The CTA survey found that riders judged the reliability of train operations, as well as the appearance and professionalism of CTA rail employees, to be significantly better than on the bus side. Only 35 percent of bus customers surveyed said they were "very satisfied" with the service, compared to 47 percent of train riders."