Nova Scotia

Metro Transit complaints spike following strike

Between March 16 and May 30, the public transportation service for Halifax Regional Municipality received 1529 complaints.

Complaints up 21 per cent over same time frame last year

Metro Transit received 21 per cent more complaints than in 2011 following the strike. (CBC)

CBC News has learned that Metro Transit has seen an increase in complaints after a strike earlier this year.

Complaints by the numbers
  • 489 operator behaviour.
  • 354 driving concerns.
  • 229 marketing/advertising.
  • 174 service issues — early or late.
  • 121 bus didn't arrive at stop.
  • 56 accidents/claims/injuries.
  • 39 dispute, problem on transit property.
  • 29 vehicle related.
  • 26 missed connections.
  • 7 ferry issues.
  • 5 bus capacity issues (overloaded).

Source: Metro Transit

Between March 16 and May 30, the public transportation service for Halifax Regional Municipality received 1529 complaints. That's an increase of 269, or 21 per cent from the same time period the year before.

Tiffany Chase, a spokesperson for Metro Transit, said they believe the spike in complaints reflects lingering anger over the six-week strike.

"It impacted a lot of people — residents, citizens, and our customers and so there was a lot of attention paid to the service itself and our operator, so we would think that following the strike people would be more likely to submit complaints when previously maybe they wouldn't have," she said.

More than half of those complaints — 843 — were about how bus drivers treat their riders and their driving habits.

Chase said the service, and the bus drivers, are dealing with increased scrutiny now that they're back to work.

She said Metro Transit investigates all complaints, and they offer continuous training for their drivers.

Last week, Metro Transit announced revenues were down four per cent in April compared to the same month last year.

Tiffany Chase said Metro Transit hopes to win back customers. (CBC)

More than 700 employees were off the job between Feb. 2 and March 16 because of the strike, leaving thousands of HRM commuters to find alternate ways to navigate the city.

But Chase said they have a plan in place to win back their customer support.

"We are planning a ridership campaign in the fall that's going to provide incentives for some of the people that perhaps went away from transit after the strike and found other travel," she said.

Metro Transit received 93 compliments during the ten-week time period.

Chase said she believes the number of complaints Metro Transit receives is on par with other transit systems around the country.