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St Catharines Transit Commission Automated Workflow While Reducing Expenses & Improving Satisfaction

2012 First Street Louth, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3V9, Canada
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Goverment Champion

https://yourbus.com/

Cost

Initial:
1.2 Thousand USD
Maintenance:
600 USD

Project Status

Operational since 2019

Keywords

cloud
Maintenance
Customer Satisfaction
Work and Request Management
Citizen Management

Challenges Addressed

Citizen Engagement
Transparency
Civic Technology
Essential Services
Transportation
Fleet Management
Customer Service
Process Improvement

Motivation

Smart city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Technology

At a Glance

The St. Catharines Transit Commission in Ontario, Canada has automated its workflow management. This automation has resulted in reduced expenses, increased staff & public satisfaction, with better performance measurement for management.

Problem Addressed

St. Catharines Transit provides public transit services to the Ontario, Canada cities of St. Catharines and Thorold, and shares delivery of regional transit needs in the Niagara Region. In 2019, St. Catharines Transit provided 5.3 million passenger trips with 71 conventional transit buses and 150 bus operators.

The initial objective of the project was to create a better way to track customer service issues and requests, to ensure proper follow-up, communication, and resolution. Information was being collected by a call taker, filled out on paper forms, then given to a supervisor to contact the bus operator. These forms could get lost and the problems would frequently not be resolved in desired timeframes. There was also no way for the person reporting the problem to get updates along the way, or for management to measure the effectiveness of the process.

The Transit Commission uses sophisticated GPS and CCTV monitoring technology on all transit vehicles. This invaluable data/information could not be easily connected to Customer Service issues in a timely nor automated manner. They were seeking a way to take better advantage of this technology investment.

St. Catharines Transit Commission used/is using Public Service Request cloud solutions to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Public Service Request provided St. Catharines Transit with a solution that required very little setup and training to get started. The solution works on devices, desktops, tablets, and phones that already existed and that staff were already comfortable using. The small amount of training that was needed was able to be done remotely to reduce cost and fit everyone's schedules. The minimal training, cost, and the lack of time need by IT for the PSR solution allowed St. Catharines to be live and productive quickly.

With PSR, the information is quickly and easily entered into the system in as little as 30 seconds. The system automatically routes the request to the correct department/supervisor based on the issue. The request is automatically assigned to a person, the key to that statement is a person. Someone is responsible for dealing with it or delegating it. The person reporting the issue, whether it is an internal staff member or a customer, is automatically kept aware of progress without any additional work or steps by the person handling the request.

The system is so simple to use and so effective it soon evolved into things like recording when a bus stop was damaged, light bulbs needing to be replaced, IT challenges, etc. Issues that St. Catharines did not track in the past.

St. Catharines uses the system to generate monthly statistical reports for their Commission as well as other management reporting for oversight and root cause analysis.

Outcomes

  1. An inexpensive & simple to use system that automated work requests and other communications across the organization with very little setup and training required.
  2. St. Catharines has completed over 1,100 requests while also providing reporting to the commission and management, including links to in-bus and terminal CCTV footage attached to requests.
  3. Customer Service "Playback Reports" related to GPS-sourced bus position (early/late etc.) are now attached to Service Requests to identify route/equipment/operator issue trends & specifics.
  4. St. Catharines Transit initially started with 34 members of the staff plus management and are planning to give their 150 drivers access to the system.
  5. In late 2020, the Transit Commission will open the system up to the Public from their website (and Facebook page) to be able to create their own requests & follow them through to resolution.

Lessons Learned

  1. Customer Service is about not letting things fall through the cracks & prompt follow-up. Accomplish this almost overnight using simple and inexpensive cloud-based technology. Don't wait!

Something Unique

As St. Catharines and Thorold Transit Commission adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have opened the PSR system up to all employees to be able to report any of their COVID-19 related concerns. This request can be anonymous if so desired.

Who Should Consider?

Any small / medium municipality, county, utility or transit system operator needing an intuitive request management (workflow) system internally & public-facing. Include the rest of your Service Network easily.

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