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Transit system plans quarterly surveys

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News,Business,Transportation

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Capital Area Transit System is implementing quarterly surveys in an effort to improve satisfaction of bus riders.

The first review was conducted before a system expansion kicked off in March.

The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1p0GLnV) that during that review, riders said the bus system's biggest weaknesses were being on time, frequency of buses on routes, bus maintenance and cleanliness and the system's call center.

Customers generally were pleased with the fares and friendliness of bus drivers.

The customer satisfaction report was conducted by TransPro, a Tampa, Florida-based firm. The survey sampled more than 500 people in February and March.

The transit system, known locally as CATS, unveiled expanded service in March with more routes.

System CEO Bob Mirabito said the surveys will be conducted quarterly in an effort to improve customer satisfaction.

While the expansion is expected to address some rider concerns — such as frequency of buses on routes— Mirabito said the agency will start focusing on such issues as cleanliness, on-time performance and the call center.

The first survey found that one-third of riders had contacted the CATS call center with a complaint, and 36 percent of those people did not feel their issue had been resolved.

The survey also looked at rider demographics.

Among its finding:

— CATS has a loyal customer base, with more than 65 percent of riders who have used the system for more than a year and 80 percent of customers riding at least three times a week.

— Most riders are low-income residents. About 75 percent of them earned less than $25,000 a year, and 95 percent earned less than $50,000 a year.

— About 85 percent of riders are black, and about 12 percent are white.

— CATS buses are on time at about 75 percent of route stops. "On time" is defined as within 10 minutes of being late, or one minute of being early.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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