Jan 9, 2008

Customer communications take a back seat

Apparently the first day back after the Christmas holidays wasn't the best for DRT customers who used to take the Duffins mid day route in Ajax and the Route 10 running from Pickering to Ajax along Highway #2 and back to Pickering.

At Pickering Go Station there were many Pickering High School students looking for the best way to get to school first thing in the morning. They used to take the Route 10 and get off at Highway # 2 and Church Street and walk up to the school. DRT continues to list on their web site that the students can still take the R-10. ( Pickering High School Sept2007-June2008 ) Now they either have to take a bus to Highway # 2 and transfer to a GO Bus or take the 915 to Ajax and transfer to the R-32 Village Route. Both choices involve transferring and longer times to get to school. Coming home they will have to have DRT tickets or passes if they want to catch the GO bus coming back or else pay the full GO fare rate.

There were passengers standing at the old Route 10 platform at the Pickering Go Station waiting for the bus to arrive. Of course there is nothing posted at the stop informing customers that the Route 10 service has been discontinued. It would have been helpful if there was such a notice with instructions on alternative routes to take.

The afternoon mid day Harwood M-24 driver was busy at the Ajax Go Station having to stop at the Duffins platform after leaving the Harwood platform to inform the passengers awaiting the mid day Duffins bus that it no longer existed and explained alternatives, etc. There were so many customers waiting there in the afternoon that the driver ended up almost 25 minutes late and had to get the assistance of another driver to cover the 3:30 run. One would think they might have had an supervisor or another employee covering the Duffins platform for the first little while of this change to assist the customers and keep things moving smoothly.

It is service like this that drives customers away. It would have been better if notices were posted at all bus stops on routes that have been changed. These notices could have told of the changes and offered alternate routes. It’s bad enough that DRT has to cut service. Adding to this is DRT’s failure to communicate. Not everyone has access to a local newspaper or to the internet.

One good thing that has come from the service cuts is that the mayors, councillors and DRT staff have been having the phones ring off the hooks regarding the reduced service. People are disgusted.


Anonymous said...

I feel very sorry for these young students going to Pickering HS.
This has been of great hardship to the seniors on the Duffins route.
Shame-when DRT is such a new transit sysyem. Is this a taste of what is to come in the near future, fewer buses and more cars???

David Harrison said...

Agreed completely, Andy. DRT's communications are probably the worst aspect of the system at present. The web site has gotten slightly better, true, but the onsite communications have, if anything, gotten worse. The route cuts have been handled incredibly poorly.

Anonymous said...

Your information is very interesting. I was on the Route 7 this week and with the new changes where the bus leaves from the Pickering Town Cenre at 25 minutes after each hour instead of leaving from the Go Train at 5 minutes to the hour, many people are complaining. One lady said she missed the train once already and the driver advised her it would be difficult to arrive at the station on time as the schedule didn't give enough time to do the trip to the station on time. I know myself I now have to take 2 buses to get to the Town Centre instead of the one I used to take. This seems to be a step backward for Durham Transit.

Anonymous said...

What the heck is going on ?

Any route that has a heavy School usage should be communicated to the schools and students in advance.

Is this school a user of the Bus Pass special? Are students that qualify for it now having a harder time to use Transit ?

We really have to make transit election issues-- LOCAL Transit! Local Issues!

What do the Pickering Councillors have to say about this?

I will also blog about it with a link back here.

Karem Allen