Veolia Transportation

Seeing through the Eyes of our Passengers

We connect people to the things they care about—work, school, friends, shopping, entertainment, medical appointments and more, and we are always striving to make public transportation more attractive and convenient for passengers.

At Transdev North America, we work hard to evaluate the service we provide from the perspective of our customers, and stay focused on how the decisions we make will affect their experience. We follow consumer trends and expectations; changing lifestyles and work patterns, gas prices, new mobility habits, technology use, environmental awareness and an aging population are shaping a new relationship with public transit. In addition, the presence of a time-constrained public in all socio-economic groups means riders need transport that respects their busy schedules. It is ever more critical to provide friendly, reliable service, good signage, and efficient inter-connectivity between modes of transport.

Transdev has been a pioneer in many aspects of improving the passenger experience. Our innovations in passenger care include:

  • Implementing Next Bus digital technology, which alerts passengers to when the next bus will arrive via text messages or signage.
  • Re-designing signage to include system maps and neighborhood maps.
  • Deploying mobile phone ticketing (currently being widely used in Europe).
  • Enhancing Customer Comment tracking systems and Complaint Management systems, enabling our clients to partner with us to mine the data and make systemic improvements.

Customer Service Training

One of the strongest proprietary programs we have developed is Going for Green™, a breakthrough customer service training program that was created to address a global need in Veolia Transport’s operations: understanding and responding to passenger needs. Working with a leading and innovative designer of training experiences, this program was custom-designed and created by Veolia Transport.

As its main objective, Going For Green builds drivers’ expertise in seeing situations from the customer’s point of view and in responding effectively. This program takes recognized and relatively complex behavioral theories and simplifies them into an actionable toolkit designed especially for drivers. The title of the program is based on a traffic-light metaphor. Employees learn how to spot the cues and model their behavior accordingly in order to move customers from Red (Distress) to Yellow (Uncertainty) to Green (Confidence & Ease).

The program is based on the 12 “real-world” situations most frequently encountered by drivers. Structured around extensive role-playing exercises, the skills are deeply embedded into operators’ behavior patterns. The 12 situations include the following and more:

  • Greeting Passengers
  • Taking Initiative to Provide Information
  • Guiding Confused Passengers
  • Dealing with Service Disruptions and Delays
  • Managing Unexpected Flows of Passengers
  • Responding to Different Needs
  • Helping a Passenger in Distress
  • Dealing with Disruptive Passengers.

Role-plays, real-time practice and coaching help operators internalize the techniques we use to bring passengers “Into the Green” in each situation.

The delivery of Going For Green is done with high quality, attractive, lively education materials, developed by professionals with superb credentials in workplace-based learning. Delivery of the training is limited to individuals who have been trained and certified after several weeks of work and “real-time” coaching by our Master Trainer.

Going For Green - Outstanding Results

Most employees readily testify to the value of Going For Green training, saying it makes them feel confident and better able to provide the first rate experience their customers expect. In fact, 86% of operators rate the programs as “Excellent” or “Very Good” and 84% of respondents said that the training offered them new ways to respond to passengers. Many report, too, that the new way of thinking provided by Going For Green has proven invaluable in their personal lives.

But the real proof of the program’s value is in our passengers’ response to drivers both before and after training. In five markets where we have done extensive consumer testing after the Going For Green training, we have seen statistically significant, positive changes in passenger perception of driver helpfulness, friendliness and skill at providing information in a situation where there has been a delay or service interruption.

Mystery Rider Programs

In many of our contracts, Transdev engages a third-party organization that conducts mystery rider programs for us. These programs routinely audit our bus routes and measure drivers’ compliance with expected behaviors, such as greeting and helping passengers, proper dress code, and appropriate behavior on a variety of safety and passenger care standards.

Mystery ride reports are done on a periodic basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) at different schedule times and on different routes to ensure that we are getting the most accurate representation of how well drivers are executing against our standards. This program has had the most success when the auditors are anonymous and remain a “mystery” to our operators.

Mystery riders are specially trained to evaluate the essential criteria. Although the third-party vendor randomly selects the rides to check, we also reserve the right to use a certain number of “checks” to proactively verify driver behavior on particular routes. For example, if we suspect there may be an issue with a particular driver while out on the road, we can proactively have them “mystery shopped.” This gives us concrete feedback with which to coach and/or discipline the driver.

The data we receive from these questionnaires is shared with our clients and used to coach and further train drivers. We also use the results to recognize and encourage drivers who scored well and to bring attention to the ideal behavior set.

Some of the items that our mystery riders monitor include the following:

  • Accurate information to customers
  • Public timetable availability
  • Operator customer service acumen
  • Cleanliness of bus
  • Timeliness of trip
  • Comfort of the HVAC and the ride
  • Operational safety

For More Information
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Transdev North America is the largest private sector operator of multiple modes of transit in North America, providing bus, rail, paratransit, shuttle, sedan and taxi services. We manage over 200 transportation contracts for cities, transit authorities and airports, providing safe and sustainable mobility solutions. Our mission is to improve public transportation, to enhance quality of life and combat global warming.

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