Frightfully Sorry for the Delay…
Torontoist has considered numerous ways in which London’s transport system is leaps and bounds ahead of ours, including coloured bus and bike lanes, a $1.6 billion high-speed rail terminus, and an extensively renovated transport museum. While straight-up comparisons aren’t entirely fair to Toronto—London is bigger and denser, and the political culture is much more amenable to public spending on transport projects—some measures are so simple and affordable that they could easily be imported here.
Today’s example? Apologies.
If a train is delayed and at a halt, even for as little as 30 seconds, it is common practice for the driver to announce on the intercom system the reason for the delay, the location of the problem, and the expected duration of the wait. It’s a small touch that costs nothing, but it makes passengers feel more informed and more valued.
If delays are particularly bad, riders can expect—as the image shows—the transit system’s management to offer an apology for the delay, an explanation of the exact reasons for the delay, and an assurance that steps are being taken to prevent it from recurring. It’s also not uncommon for management to write directly to affected businesses, educational institutions, and other groups, in those cases where delays are particularly frequent or severe.
A key ingredient to a successful transport system is that users feel valued. If TTC management wants to get smart about customer relations, focussing some of its energies on apologizing, explaining, and reassuring, and offering proper direction to employees to follow its example, would be a good place to start.
Photo by Annie Mole.