Staff Report #4
February 23, 2022
To All Commissioners
Re: 2021 Specialized Transit Service Performance Report
That the report be NOTED and FILED.
The 2019-2022 Business Plan, London Transit’s vision is: “The valued and trusted mobility choice for Londoners”. The vision is supported by the mission statement, “Moving Londoners – progressively, reliably and affordably”. The vision and mission statements give direction to five congruent and competing strategic outcomes, namely:
- An integrated, affordable and valued mobility choice
- An engaged, diverse and respectful workplace
- Demonstrated fiscal accountability
- Being open, transparent and understood
- Effective utilization of infrastructure
Service performance is measured in terms of fiscal accountability (efficiency), service (effectiveness and quality), and communication (accuracy and quality of information provided).
The years 2020 and 2021 were significantly impacted by the global pandemic, the repercussions of which are still being felt to varying degrees across all sectors. While the specialized service continued to operate throughout the pandemic, demand for service was significantly lower than normal due primarily to public health measures and lock downs that were in place.
As indicated above, the current Business Plan includes key performance indicators for each year, which have been historically relied upon to measure the service performance against budget, targets, and previous years. While the data required to continue to monitor and report on these indicators was gathered throughout the pandemic period, the operating environment was drastically different from what would be considered normal, and as such, many of the indicators are not considered reliable for 2021 in terms of measuring service performance. In addition, direct comparison to year over year performance is also not considered a true indication of service performance.
Notwithstanding these differences, the remainder of the report will provide the traditional year over year and actual to budget comparisons in the interest of transparency. Additional commentary will be provided with the indicators discussing the impacts of the pandemic.
Specialized Transit Service – Efficiency
The following table provides a summary of ridership and revenue service hours actual to budget performance for 2021 (unaudited). Actual ridership and service provided, as well as the related measures varied significantly from budget.
2021 Ridership and Service Hours – Actual versus Budget (unaudited)
|Description||Actual||Budget||Amount Better (Worse)||Percent Better (Worse)|
|Revenue service hours (000’s)||122.2||157.3||(35.1)||(22.3) %|
|Ridership ( 000’s)||168.6||192.5||(23.9)||(12.4) %|
|Rides per revenue service hour||1.4||1.2||0.2||16.4 %|
As indicated earlier in this report, an organizational decision was made to ensure adequate service remained in place to ensure all trip requests could be accommodated with a maximum of two riders on the vehicle at any one time. This approach explains why the reduction in revenue service hours does not directly correlate to reduced ridership.
The following table provides comparisons in the various ridership and service hour measures over the past four years.
Ridership and Service Hour Comparisons – 2018 through 2021
|Description||2018||2019||2020||2021||% Change Over Period|
|Revenue service hours (000’s)||145.2||147.1||129.9||122.2||(15.8)%|
|Rides per revenue service hour||2.3||2.3||1.2||1.4||(39.1)%|
Specialized service customers participated in the Voice of the Customer survey process for the first time in 2018. The table below sets out the customer perceptions of the specialized service as collected in the survey. One of the underlying rationale for conducting the Voice of the Customer survey is to reach out to customers who may not be inclined to contact customer service with a complaint or compliment. Further, it is a known fact that a customer is more likely to contact an organization when they have had a poor experience versus a good one. The Voice of the Customer allows customers to rate each area of service on their perception of how it meets their needs. Both sets of data are critical in ensuring that the perspective of the customers is at the forefront of decision making.
The table below sets out the percent of survey respondents that agreed or strongly agreed with statements regarding the service.
Voice of the Customer Perceptions – 2018 Survey
|Trips available at the time needed||72%|
|Vehicles arrive within 30 minute window||84%|
|Time on vehicle is reasonable||88%|
|Vehicles are clean||96%|
|Vehicles are comfortable||88%|
|Vehicle lifts are in good working order||99%|
|Drivers safely secure my mobility device||96%|
It is important to recognize this survey was completed in late 2018, and as such, could be considered to also apply to 2019. Given the ongoing pandemic, the annual Voice of the Customer survey has been placed on hold, noting it is anticipated to be resumed in 2022 should pandemic conditions allow.
In addition to the Voice of the Customer surveys, customer satisfaction levels with service performance are measured through tracking both the number and nature of customer contacts received via email, social media and phone. When considering these numbers, it is important to recognize that not all contacts are investigated and as such, cannot all be confirmed as accurate. Contacts that are serious in nature or those in which the customer requests a response are all investigated.
The table below sets out a breakdown of the number of service complaints over the four year period by category, as well as a percentage change in each category over the period.
Total Service Performance Complaints by Category 2018-2021
|Complaints – Service||2018||2019||2020||2021||% Change|
|Warning Letter Response||12||1||2||0||(100)%|
|Per 1,000 riders||0.85||0.65||0.64||0.49||(41)%|
Consistent with the reporting above, the total number of service performance complaints by category are set out in the table above for transparency purposes. While direct number comparisons to previous years is problematic, the total complaints per 1,000 riders provides a better comparison. As the table indicates, the total complaints per 1,000 riders declined slightly in 2020 and again in 2021 to the lowest it has been over the four year period. While on the surface, this can be viewed as a positive trend, the overall decline is likely tied to the organizational decision to carry a maximum of two customers per vehicle, which resulted in a direct trip for most customers, eliminating or greatly reducing the chances of a poor rider experience.
The top category of complaints over the period has remained “service received”, which includes issues such as length of trip, drop off locations, pick up locations, as well as other complaints that may encompass more than one of the categories listed in the table above. The complaints in this category declined at approximately the same rate as other categories in 2021; however the details of complaints in this category in 2021 were predominantly related to the pandemic, and issues customers had with the manner in which the service was being delivered in light of it.
Impressions of Driver Performance
Another area of the specialized service measured by the Voice of the Customer surveys from 2018 covers Driver performance expectations. As set out in the table below, survey respondents indicated a high level of satisfaction with Driver performance.
Voice of the Customer Perceptions
|The drivers are friendly||93%|
|The drivers are helpful||93%|
|The drivers operate the vehicle safely||93%|
Consistent with service related contacts, customer contacts (complaints and compliments) regarding Driver performance are also tracked and trended. Performance results for 2018 through 2021 with respect to Driver complaints are set out in the following table.
Total Operator Complaints by Category 2018-2021
|Complaints – Operator Performance||2018||2019||2020||2021||% Change|
|Per 1,000 riders||0.4||0.3||0.6||0.7||75 %|
Of note in the table above, the number of Operator complaints remained relatively consistent with previous years, notwithstanding the significant reduction in ridership. Further analysis of the 2021 complaints revealed that a significant number were related to the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, public health guidance changed, resulting in the need to frequently change programs and protocols on public transit services in order to ensure both Operators and passengers remained as safe as possible. The combination of the unknowns relating to the virus and the frequent changes in procedures and protocols, resulted in a heightened level of anxiety for both Operators and customers, which in numerous cases, led to verbal exchanges that were reported to customer service and classified in the attitude/treatment category. In the case of complaints alleging a significant Driver performance issue, all information is forwarded to the contractor for investigation and follow-up. All contacts received relating to the specialized service are followed up on by administration.
The chart below sets out the trend in Operator compliments over the period of 2018 through 2021.
Total Operator Compliments by Category 2018-2021
|Compliments – Operator Performance||2018||2019||2020||2021||% Change|
|Per 1,000 riders||0.05||0.08||0.04||0.11||120.0%|
As the chart above indicates, Operator compliments received for the specialized service are limited, which underscores the value of the Voice of the Customer surveys as an alternative way to gather customer perspectives with respect to the service being provided. As set out earlier in the report, 93% of survey responded indicated their satisfaction with specialized service Operators. The total compliments in 2021 rebounded to typical levels, with most expressing appreciation for the continued service throughout the pandemic.
This report will be shared with the Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee as input into discussions relating to priorities for future years. The details of this report will also be utilized in the implementation of the rebuilding phase of the Pandemic Response Plan, noting insights gained through analysis of the customer contacts and key performance indicators will help determine what will be required to restore ridership and service efficiencies to more historic levels.
Brandon Goldstone, Manager of Service Integration
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager