Maybe Olympic fever has jumped across the pond and reached the shores of Jersey, as I just got an email today informing me that “The Results Are In” for the New Jersey Transit Customer Satisfaction Survey. Now don’t tell my boss, but I’m really not a financial guy. And so I didn’t realize we already finished the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2012, but with the NFL not even in pre-season mode, and the Mets playing at quarter-speed, I guess I’m just impressed with any type of scores lighting up my computer screen.
I remember now that I’ve been regularly answering NJT’s surveys, and clicking my way through random questions about my “experience” on the Morris & Essex, like Station Conditions, Scheduling, etc. I must make a confession about internet surveys–I only ever answer 1-2 or 9-10, meaning i’m VERY SATISFIED, or NOT SATISFIED. Why stuff the ballot box with a gooey “4″ when you can really get your point across, and let your number shout “10″ – I LIKE THIS! or “1″ – THAT IS LAME!”?
As expected, most mean scores were in the 5′s and 6′s. I was happy to discover, though, that categories needing the most improvement indeed correspond with my low-score categories: Announcements during Service Disruptions (4.4); Handling of Service Disruptions (4.4); Fares (4.2); and Mechanical Reliability (4.8). Nobody worries about Ease of Access from the Parking Lot if you are stuck in an overcrowded train car somewhere in the Meadowlands.
One worthwhile takeaway from the survey is that in the entire NJT System (Bus, Rail, Light Rail, Access Link), train riders comprise approximately 30% of the ridership, and out of that 30%, my fellow Morris & Essex riders represent 6.1%. This might seem like a drop in the bucket, but only the Northeast Corridor has more riders (12.5%). Our northern neighbors on the Main/Bergen County/Port Jervis ridership are half our headcount, at 3.0%, and the Montclair-Boonton line has a wee 1.8% ridership.