Thursday , July 29 2021

Calgary Transit fields hundreds of complaints aimed at the conduct of staff

A Calgary Transit bus travels north in downtown ST near 8 Ave N, with the downtown skyline in the background. JIM WELLS / POSTMEDIA

While their numbers seem to be dropping, the Calgarians issued thousands of complaints against the city's transit officials in 2018.

Last year, 311 calls and other public contacts produced 7,238 comments or complaints of employee conduct.

Although he did not have precise figures on how many were negatively targeted against the team, Stephen Tauro of Calgary Transit said that "10 per day were related to driving concerns, a quarter were concerns about employee conduct and 30% were positive or compliments ".

But he said another positive point is that the total number of calls dropped from 9,200 in 2016.

In a count of 311 calls to the city over a series of services that year, the conduct of Calgary Transit employees ranked 15 out of the top 20 contacts made, but in 2017 and 2018 did not make that list.

"It's a good thing we're in a downtrend," Taurus said.

He said that the number of complaints is not great when it is considered that more than 500,000 people use CTrains and buses daily and are serviced by 3,000 employees and service providers.

"We are one of the most public services in the city," said Tauro. "Some of these complaints may be small, some big … we would investigate everything, everything is tracked by the system."

Not all of these claims are necessarily true, said Clarke Bellamy, manager of citizen services.

"It is what one may have observed, it is not necessarily validated that there has been some misbehavior," Bellamy said.

In its own survey last year, Calgary Transit said 82 percent to 84 percent of respondents considered their team useful.

The city's public satisfaction survey states that respondents said 81 percent said they were very or very satisfied.

About two years ago, Calgary Transit improved online access to provide public information, Taurus said.

"It's important to have an open channel for customers, it's important to build relationships and improve service," he said.

Coun. Shane Keating said that the drop in calls reflects an intensified focus on improving customer service.

"There has been a real emphasis on trying to improve," said Shane Keating, who chairs the city's transportation committee.

"This is what we want to be, not just a service but a customer service."

Given the size of the system and its number of passengers, 10 daily complaints about driving "are going very well".

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On twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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