The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SB-29 [Active (Synthesis)]

Customer Focused Service Guarantees and Transparency Practices
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/27/2016 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Michael Walk
Effective Date: 9/30/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

A growing number of North American public transit agencies have adopted “Service Guarantees” (a.k.a. “Customer Charters” or “Passenger Bill of Rights”) as part of a customer-focused service strategy. Service guarantees describe the level of service customers can expect and the procedures they may follow if standards are not met. In addition, some North American transit agencies report their public-facing performance metrics as online dashboards or report cards on the agency’s website as part of a proactive communications strategy. Currently, there is little existing research on these practices and experiences among U.S. transit providers.

This synthesis will document the nature and prevalence of service guarantees among transit providers in North America. It will document the current state of the practice and benefits and implementation strategies, and identify challenges and lessons learned through a literature review, survey of representative transit agencies, and documentation of selected case examples/profiles.

Tasks will include but not be limited to:

• Prepare a literature review of service guarantees and customer charters. This will include a review of existing research and assessments by service quality thought-leaders. Document examples of Service Guarantees from public transit and passenger rail, and compare and contrast their contents.
• How does the service guarantee fit into the overall strategic plan or mission of the agency?
• What is the goal and objective of the service guarantee and have these objectives been accomplished?
• Describe the role of customer charters as part of a comprehensive customer-focused service quality program, including metrics (e.g. safety, satisfaction, load factors, transit reliability, accessibility and other customer focused metrics).and processes to monitor performance and assess their success in meeting these objectives.
• Identify transparency practices around customer focused service strategies (dashboards, report cards, open data, etc.)
• Assess impacts on revenue, ridership and customer satisfaction, specifically considering refund policies and administrative methods and costs.
• Describe processes used for designing and adopting Service Guarantees.
• Identify other alternatives to service guarantees (bus bridges, TNCs, real time communications, etc.)
• Document and assess lessons learned and future direction and gaps in information.

Information Sources:
• Customer-Focused Transit, TCRP Synthesis 45, TRB, Washington, D.C 2002
• A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System, TCRP Report 88, TRB, Washington, D.C 2003
• Public Transport and Its Users: The Passenger's Perspective in Planning and Customer Care, Martin Schiefelbusch, Hans-Liudger Dienel, Burlington, VT 2009
• The UK Citizen's Charter: Origins and Implementation in Three Agencies, Doern, G. Bruce, Policy & Politics, Volume 21, Number 1, January 1993 , pp. 17-29(13)
• UITP Passenger Charter. UITP, Brussels, Belgium, 2006.
• Final Rule on Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Planning https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/transportation-planning/final-rule-statewide-and-nonmetropolitan 

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 30, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: May 18, 2017, Woods Hole, MA

Topic Panel
Melissa Dullea, Massachussetts
Henning Eichler, Southern California Regional Rail Authority
Christopher A. Pangilinan, Transit Center
Alan L. Rao, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Felipe Robles, SFMTA
Heather Marie Sobush, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Walt Stringer, Denver Regional Transportation District
Melissa Foreman, Federal Transit Administration- Region VI
Stephen J. Andrle, Transportation Research Board 

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