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Calgary Transit aiming to speak more with riders PDF Print E-mail
Written by SHANE FLUG   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:49

New customer-relations initiative coincides with service delays

Calgary Transit wants to hear more from its riders on how to better serve customers.  

During a break at a city council meeting on Monday, Fred Wong, Calgary Transit director, alongside Mayor Naheed Nenshi, announced a new Customer Advisory Group.  

Neenshi
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Transit director Fred Wong announced a new Customer Advisory Group where riders can provide feedback to management on how to improve customer service.
Photo: Shane Flug/Calgary Journal
The aim is to seek input from transit riders from different walks of life. Wong said they would range from students to seniors and low-income monthly pass users to business people working in the downtown core. He said volunteers would join the advisory group on two-year terms.  

Nenshi said members’ feedback would be relayed back to city council for future decision-making on the public-transportation system.  

Wong added, "It's going to give our riders more of a voice and we'll listen to their feedback.”  

Online applications for membership will be accepted starting next week.  

Nenshi said the advisory group is something that has been in the works since the election.  

ROUGH RIDE LATELY  

The announcement came as the LRT system faced problems with numerous delays and technical failures over the past several weeks.  

Keith Sanderson, transit rider and used-bookstore owner, takes a bus to Southland Station and said the maintenance and upgrading work on the LRT lately has been a hassle.  

"It's been pretty bad for the consumer.  

"I have to wonder whether there's a shuttle coming by because there's a breakdown or they're doing work on the station," Sanderson said, referring to this spring's closure of Southland Station to build its new four-car LRT platform.  

June_News_Sullivan_ClgryLRT2
Recently, the LRT system has had problems with technical failures causing “significant” commuter delays. There have been 25 delays this past year due to technical problems, said Calgary Transit director Fred Wong.
Photo: Sean Sullivan/Calgary Journal
Calgary Transit's Twitter account seems to serve as an online venue for customers to share their frustrations.  

“It literally takes 2 freaking hours for me to get to U of C this morning. WTF Calgary Transit?” read one tweet.  

“You need to have adequate shuttle services. Come on. Seriously. I'm never on time on your system and this is getting ridiculous,” read another.  

Wong said that there has been an increase in service disruptions on the C-Train this year compared to last year.  

Wong said there have been 56 "significant" C-Train service disruptions so far this year. Nearly half were technical in nature, such as mechanical failures and overhead power line problems. The rest, he said, were due to traffic accidents and medical emergencies.  

Wong said more maintenance would be done on the 30-year-old Siemens U2 light-rail vehicles but it wouldn't be "a full refurbishment," as he said Calgary Transit is looking at purchasing new rail cars.  

Wong said that real-time information of arrival times on C-Train platforms that was originally said to be implemented in August would arrive within the next few weeks.  

Wong said work is being done with Enmax on the recent technical problems and acknowledged that budget rollbacks would make improved service delivery "a challenge."  

"We've heard loud and clear from our customers that we have to be better and I think we can be better," he said.  

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