Transpo transparency needed

OC Transpo’s new boss is taking a hands-on approach to customer service.

John Manconi phoned an upset bus rider on March 4 — one day after a Sun story lambasted the transit company’s response to a February 27 accident.

“He said he saw the article in the paper on Saturday,” said Shelley Pollock.

“So he said first he wanted to ask how (my daughter) was.”

After learning she’s getting better, he apparently reminded Pollock it was his first week on the job.

Pollock gave it to him straight.

“I appreciate the call but I said, ‘the day of the accident, I had just finished reading an article about how you’re saying customer service is number one. You’re not starting off great, but I understand that you’re just starting and let’s hope that you’re going to make some changes,’” she said.

Mr. Manconi (that’s what some of the bus drivers call you), we haven’t formally met.

I’m Kelly Roche, transit reporter at the Sun.

I’ve recently tried scheduling a chat with you to discuss a few customer service matters but got the runaround by staff ­— disappointing, considering I’ve dubbed you Super Man-coni in the Twitter-verse.

That may come across as sarcastic, however, I assure you, it’s genuine.

You see, Mr. Manconi, I’ve been asking around and everyone keeps raving about your stellar managerial skills and reputation.

Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess tells me you have “an open mind.”

So hear me out.

Lately, I’ve been contacted by many, many readers and riders who don’t know what to do — or expect from Transpo — when there’s a crash.

While I enjoy interacting with readers and riders, I am spending so much time educating them, it could be a full-time gig.

“…The city needs to start paying me, or they need to handle this themselves,” I barked at Coun. Bloess.

He laughed.

“I hate to tell you this: We don’t want to put you in a conflict of interest, so we’re not going to pay you. You’re on your own,” he shot back.

Mr. Manconi, please encourage transparency by posting Transpo’s protocol on the website, under Customer Service FAQ, Safety Related, or someplace logical.

On March 1, when I asked the city’s media relations department how crashes are handled by Transpo, they sent a link to the claims process.

Thanks for this completely useless information.

On the Toronto Transit Commission site, under Safety and Security, there’s a section titled ‘What to do in an emergency.’

Why not create a similar page?

Take it a step further, answering some of these sample questions:

– I was in a bus accident. Why was I asked to submit my driver’s licence if I wasn’t driving?

– What is no-fault insurance?

– If I’m injured on a bus, do I have to go to the hospital?

– If you leave the scene, does this mean you can’t later file a claim?

– Who is supposed to take a statement from me?

– How am I supposed to get home?

– What if I don’t have a car or insurance but am injured?

If customer service really is a top priority, make it easy for those customers who in some cases need Transpo’s help the most.

What you should do if you’re in a Transpo crash

Kevin Cantor, a personal injury lawyer at Low Murchison Radnoff, has provided some tips for passengers if there’s a crash:

– ask the driver to have a supervisor come to the scene

– get the name of the driver, bus route, and bus number

– make sure the driver knows you’re injured

– keep receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses

As Pete Karageorgos from the Insurance Bureau of Canada said, “if you don’t know what you’ve got to do, it just adds to the stress.”

And stressed out riders translate into irate customers.

P.S. if Transpo can’t answer questions, there’s an IBC consumer information centre: (800) 387-2880.

It’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

stellar managerial skills

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