Friday, June 26, 2015

Who's been complaining about what TransLink service

To finish off this week of looking at some of the key indicators of TransLink’s performance, today I look at the customer complaints received about the transit system. This information is from TransLink’s Statutory Annual Reports.

Complaints per 1 million board passenger about TransLink's transit service from 2010 to 2014. Select graph to enlarge.

Even though the SkyTrain system has been in the news a lot since last summer's service disruptions, there are actually very few complaints that TransLink receives about the system. In fact, SkyTrain service has the least amount of complaints per 1 million boarded passengers of any of the transit services that TransLink provides.

Now there has been an uptick in the amount of complaints about the Expo and Millennium lines. This is due to track and train noise disturbing residents between Main Street-Science World Station and Stadium-Chinatown Station. TransLink has improved this section of track to reduce the noise issues. The other major cause of complaints was due to service reliability. This makes sense considering that reliability has decreased in the last several years.

Complaints about the West Coast Express increased sharply in 2013, but was down in 2014. This increase was due to people getting upset when TransLink optimized the service by reducing the amount of seats available on one train to increase the amount of seats available on another train. People were also upset because TransLink ended the discounted Employee Pass Program at the end 2013. 40% of West Coast Express customers had the discounted pass which was about 20% cheaper than a normal pass over a 12 month period.

Complaints about bus service has remained stable with the majority of complaints focused around staff. The second largest group of complaints was about the delivery of bus service, such as buses not showing up at their scheduled time.

While HandyDART service doesn’t receive the same amount of media attention, it is the service that appears to need the most amount of attention. It has more customer complaints per 1 million board passengers than any other transit service. This is no surprise as HandyDART service is chronically underfunded, and service hours have been slashed in recent years. I posted about this in more detail last summer. There is also an excellent report by Eric Doherty called “Metro Vancouver’s Aging Population and the Need for Improved HandyDART Service” which goes deeper into the issues around HandyDART service.

While much of the public’s attention has been around SkyTrain service, the real focus should be on improving HandyDART service.

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