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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Survey says CTA nets high marks


Chicago Transit Authority has been working to change its image recently by reconditioning older buses and train cars, upgrading "L" stations, and renewing aging infrastructure. And Chicagoans are noticing.

Overall customer satisfaction with CTA increased from 80 percent in 1999 to 85 percent last year; and 43 percent of responders said they were "very satisfied" compared with 34 percent two years ago, according to CTA’s recently released Customer Satisfaction Survey, which the agency’s conducted every two years since 1995.

In 1999, 83 percent of rail customers said they were satisfied and 39 percent, very satisfied, compared with 88 percent and 48 percent, respectively in 2001. Customers identified improved access to service, ease of fare payment, helpfulness of personnel, personal safety, appearance and comfort of equipment and stations, and service en route as contributing factors.

Customers who described themselves as loyal jumped from 27 percent in 1995 to 55 percent in 2001. And "secure" customers — those who were very willing to continue riding CTA and very likely to recommend CTA to others — nearly tripled during the same period increasing from 13 percent to 33 percent.

Customers’ perception of CTA as a market-oriented agency also increased from 41 percent when the issue was first identified in 1997 to 61 percent in 2001. Contributing factors included CTA’s cost-conscious management, the way the agency shows it cares for its customers, its ability to retain low fares while maintaining service levels and its consideration of customers’ needs in developing new services.

The survey, which Boise, Idaho-based Northwest Research Group conducted last fall, was based on random telephone interviews with 2,500 frequent riders in seven geographical areas within CTA’s service area who had ridden CTA at least once the week prior to the interview. This was also the first time since the surveys began that interviews were conducted in Spanish and English.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/15/2002