Windsor

Transit review highlights need for customer service training, user etiquette

Responses included a desire for increased evening and weekend service, more efficient connections between routes and solutions to overcrowding. 

'We're all on this bus together' says executive director Pat Delmore

Transit Windsor continues to develop and adjust a 2019 Master Plan looking at the future of public transit in the region. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Transit Windsor continues to develop and adjust a 2019 master plan looking at the future of public transportation in the region.

As part of this master plan, Transit Windsor asked for community feedback on the bus service offered in the city.

Responses included a desire for increased evening and weekend service, more efficient connections between routes and solutions to overcrowding. 

Another common request was about bus etiquette — things like offering your seat to someone in greater need, avoiding food and drink on the bus, or exiting by the back door instead of pushing to the front. 

Amarender Peddi is a student at St. Clair College who wants to see warmer bus shelters at the Windsor International Transit Terminal. (Sameer Chhabra/CBC)

Amarender Reddy Peddi, a student at St. Clair College, told CBC News that warmer bus shelters at the Windsor International Transit Terminal are a personal concern of his — especially as the season changes and winter slowly becomes a reality. 

"We have [closed shelters] all over the city, so it'll be better for us," he said. 

Samantha Ainsworth is a post-graduate student at St. Clair College who said overcrowding is a concern of hers. (Sameer Chhabra/CBC)

Samantha Ainsworth, a post-graduate student at St. Clair College, said she hopes Transit Windsor can improve overcrowding on buses.

"For people who don't have cars, it's often the buses will just pass you right by," she said. 

Responsibility lies with transit user, not operator

Pat Delmore, executive director for Transit Windsor, said the responsibility to enforce bus etiquette lies with the user, not the operator. 

"Transit has really changed ... everything from providing top level customer service to customer to customer relationships on the bus ... there's a whole etiquette we should be thinking about," said Delmore. "We're all on this bus together."

Pat Delmore, executive director for Transit Windsor, said the responsibility to enforce bus etiquette lies with the user, not the operator.  (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

According to Delmore, drivers are not "and should not be" expected to enforce something like offering up a seat.

"Lets everybody be conscious of my ability and offer up a seat to someone who might need it," said Delmore.

Customer service training costly

Delmore said bus drivers are expected to be so much more than just drivers — they have to be company and customer representatives as well. 

"Our operators are extremely busy out there ... they're dealing with road rage ... everything someone in a car is experiencing. It's a tough job," said Delmore, adding that the company does need to do a better job of providing customer service skills to drivers.

There is a customer service training program for bus drivers, but funds to do so are limited.

"Training is a costly endeavour in transit," said Delmore. "There are courses specific to public transit and the jobs of the driver and we would love to get that implemented."

Delmore wants to be able to provide deescalation skills to drivers, who right now have "caution" before they open the door. He said more and more is being put on the "face of the driver" which makes it difficult to provide good customer service without more training.

A 77-page service delivery review report goes before the city's Environment, Transportation and Public Safety Committee Wednesday. 

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