Richard Davey, President of MTA NYC Transit, chats with a subway station worker behind a booth on Fulton Street.
Marc A. Hermann / MTA
New year, new New York City Transit. We enter 2023 full of energy in the spirit of our “Faster, Cleaner, Safer” customer service initiative.
As we have been discussing for some time, our goal is to increase passenger satisfaction with the public transport system by 10 points by spring 2024. And we will do that by putting New Yorkers first – because listening to customers is the best way to make a positive change.
Transit already regularly surveys passengers – most recently last month – so we know what improvements are needed to encourage more frequent trips:
• Safer environment;
• Faster, more frequent service;
• Cleaner stations and vehicles;
• Better weekend service; and
• Improved communication.
When it comes to security, 18% of customers said they felt more secure in December than in the previous month, the biggest increase since February, when we first launched this survey question. Drivers note increased police presence underground; Last month, 52% of respondents said there were a shortage of uniformed officers, up from 66% in October. This is real growth and we will continue to work with the NYPD to keep the momentum going.
Access-A-Ride customers have seen overall improvements in their service throughout 2022. By optimizing schedules, service delivery improved in December and the unmanned driver rate fell from 24% to 5.4%. As a result, overall satisfaction with our paratransit service increased by 12 points to 74% from June, with the largest increases in no-show rates and driver helpfulness.
Overall subway customer ratings are trending similarly up, registering a seven-point increase in December compared to June. The overall satisfaction score for the month increased to 59%, driven by higher ratings of “cleanliness on board” which jumped 10 points. Hopefully it will continue to explode this year as we hire hundreds of new cleaners and implement new cleaning protocols.
And over the next few weeks you will see our station agents stepping out of the coin stands to provide direct customer service at our stations.
The December survey also showed us that there is room for improvement in the bus service. Customers continue to share that shorter wait times, alongside faster service, are the most important factor that would improve satisfaction and encourage more frequent use, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve made some progress on bus speeds this year. Overall, customers saw consistent speeds system-wide throughout the year that were two percent above 2019, with priority corridors showing an average improvement of 14%. They are expected to increase further after the installation of 300 new cameras for automated bus lane surveillance on nine routes in all five boroughs.
We welcome the opportunities and challenges that the new year brings. Our North Star goal is clear: seven out of ten satisfied customers, up from six today. It’s an ambitious goal, but my faith in our Transit team knows no bounds. 2023 will be our best year yet.
Richard Davey is MTA New York City Transit President