MTA Releases Customer Survey Results

Yesterday afternoon, I received a press release from the MTA talking about the release of the customer satisfaction survey results. I did not have the time to open the e-mail & would get to it the next day. I did not think much of it until I was on my way home this morning around 2AM from the pool hall, when I heard a report about most riders being satisfied with the Long Island Rail Road.

Before I get into that, here is that press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that results of its first agency-wide standardized customer satisfaction surveys show that MTA customers value real-time service information, including countdown clocks and email and text message service alerts. Levels of satisfaction also correlate to on-time performance measures. Customers provided high marks for safety and security and for front-line employees.

The newly activated subway countdown clocks were one of the highest rated attributes of the system, with 95% of customers who reported viewing them stating they were satisfied with them, including 55% reporting that they were very satisfied. Similarly, 83% of subway customers reported being satisfied or very satisfied by service-related email alerts. MTA Metro-North Railroad was given the highest marks by its customers, with 93% of respondents saying they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service. On the Long Island Rail Road, 89% of respondents reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

Using the new format for the first time that transcends agency boundaries to show comparable statistics across the MTA family, customers were asked about service quality, MTA employees, on-board conditions, information and communications, comfort and convenience, safety and security, home stations, and overall satisfaction. The MTA’s agencies used this data to formulate priority areas for improvement.

“This has obviously been an extremely tough year for our transit system and for our customers, but the survey results show that our customers appreciate the improvements we have been able to put into place, like countdown clocks,” said MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder. “This survey demonstrates the importance of improving service where we can in cost-effective ways.”

Separate surveys asking similar questions were completed by customers of the subway, local buses operated by New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels. In total, more than 18,000 people responded to the surveys, which have margins of error ranging between +/- 1% to +/- 4%.

If you are interested in reading the individual report for each agency, click the respective link below:

Bridges & Tunnels

Long Island Rail Road

Metro-North Railroad

New York City Local Buses

New York City Transit Subways

When I was in the car on my way home, I was caught off guard by the report on the majority of riders being satisfied with the LIRR. As someone who has kept an eye on the LIRR for years being a long time customer, I find the results inaccurate.

First off, look at the small percentage of people asked & compare it with the actual ridership numbers for the LIRR. Secondly, it is a known fact that poll results can be skewed based on how the questions are asked. Most riders find the service slow & overpriced. While it might have a high on time percentage, even those numbers are skewed by the reporting procedure,

Not surprisingly the agency scored low with peak service from Penn Station. However in all fairness, not much can be done there considering the facility is outdated & too small for the amount of services running from there.

I skimmed through the majority of the reports due to a lack of available time. However it is easy to see that the sample sizes are way too small for each considering daily ridership figures. Most polls/surveys tend to be useless due to this fact & this is no different.

If you only need one piece of evidence on how flawed these results are, take a look at how subway station conditions scored a satisfied ranking. Seriously our intelligence is being insulted here as I’d bet my life if you polled a true majority of riders, subway station conditions would not scored “very satisfied”. Give me a break…………..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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This is hilarious. I don’t know of a single person who even saw a survey. The questions seem a bit repetitive and they seem to be fixated on the bathrooms. After reading 17 pages, I was a little annoyed to find that there were NO questions regarding costs, cleanliness of the CAR, and Quiet Cars. But then again, I was not surprised. The LIRR is just deceptive if not downright deceitful in all that they do.
Jay and Helena, a big thank you to both of you for that 11% increase for January. (Even though they claimed it was “ only 7%” in their full color TRAIN TALK brochure… and I wonder how much are we paying for that unnecessary piece of trash, by the way? ) The only thing that it is good for is to line the floor from spilled coffee or urine from the overflowing bathrooms. The LIRR put us through hell in September/October in order to upgrade the system. We had only a dusting of snow on 12/14, and yet they had major cancellations and delays. What will happen when it really snows? And, regardless, after having to deal with delays and cancellations, after a long hard day at work, it would be nice to be able to relax on the train, but the LIRR (unlike Amtrak, NJ Transit, Boston MBTA, Philadelphia, etc.) refuses to give us Quiet Cars. Instead, during these [LIRR caused] delays, we must be treated to loud yapping and yelling by rude passengers. I would have appreciated a real survey. I am not a satisfied customer.

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