FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After Metro-North revealed a 20 percent drop in rider satisfaction in a June survey, Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker requested the railroad complete an in-depth assessment and create a plan by Dec. 1 that would bring on-time train performance to a minimum of 95 percent.
“A 20-point drop in customer satisfaction with Metro-North performance is a lot more than a wake-up call for a railroad that has struggled for many months with very big issues and challenges,” Redeker said in a press release.
His sentiments were echoed by recently re-elected Gov. Dannel Malloy, who said customers “were right to express deep dissatisfaction” with the commuter railroad.
“Our commuters have a right to expect a culture of safety and on-time performance levels of 95 percent or better. It is clear that Metro-North has a long way to go,” Malloy said.
Overall satisfaction for riders overall dropped to 73 percent, according to the survey. On the New Haven Line, which runs through Connecticut, the satisfaction rate plunged to 59 percent, a decline of 29 percentage points from last year. New Haven Line riders were more dissatisfied than their counterparts on the Harlem (82 percent) and Hudson (84 percent) lines in New York.
When it came to on-time performance, satisfaction levels dropped from 86 percent to 58 percent.
Customer satisfaction with on-time performance, schedules, communications and seat availability all declined by at least 8 percentage points, Metro-North said.
But in good news for Metro-North, satisfaction with restroom cleanliness continues to increase in tandem with continued roll-out of the new M8 railcars on the New Haven Line.
Despite the big drops in numbers, the Metro-North 2014 Consumer Satisfaction Survey report may not be entirely reflective of the current state of the railroad. The survey was conducted in “June 2014, following a period which saw several incidents occur on the railroad which adversely impacted perceptions of the safety of railroad operations and the railroad’s on-time performance record,” according to the Metro-North report.
However, despite the difficult year for Metro-North and its commuters, railroad President Joe Giulietti remains confident in the organization's steps to improve services moving forward.
“This year’s survey results are sobering but not surprising given the challenges Metro-North has faced during the last 18 months,” said Giulietti. “Our mission is to provide safe, efficient transportation and when we do that, customers are satisfied. We are rebuilding Metro-North and much progress has been made but much more needs to be done. We must and we will regain the trust of our customers.”
Giulietti said praised efforts to improve rail safety.
“Metro-North has devoted the last year-and-a-half driving toward the goal of rebuilding the railroad’s organizational culture and its physical plant so that safety is the foundation of everything we do,” he said in a public letter. “Every decision and change that has been made since I became president last February has been made to advance safety.”
Read the full report on customer satisfaction here at the Metro-North website.
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