Focusing on Customers, Attracting Riders
DART is in a major transition. Rail construction and system expansion have been the agency's driving forces since its inception in 1983. The focus now shifts to sustaining ridership growth, improving service quality and creating resources that make taking transit easier.
Attracting new riders with special event serviceSpecial events are a growing part of DART's operation. Light rail expansion has made many locations transit-accessible that once were remote, increasing attendance at North Texas' numerous festivals, conventions, sporting events and more.
The State Fair of Texas® and the Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade on Greenville Avenue now rely heavily on DART and the Trinity Railway Express to transport attendees. In 2013, the region hosted MegaFest and the Red Bull Flugtag for the first time. Organizers chose their locations in part because of the robust public transportation available and involved the agency in their planning.
Catering to out-of-town visitors and occasion-based local riders, special event service presents a tremendous opportunity to increase ridership. Many customers are taking DART for the first time, and a positive experience often persuades them to continue riding and even begin commuting by transit.
Throughout the country, event organizers see the strength of Dallas-Fort Worth's transportation infrastructure. The region increasingly draws everything from national championships to national conventions. When the Orange Line connection to DFW Airport Station opens later in 2014, people can travel from the airport to hotels, events, restaurants and shopping without renting a car or finding a taxi.
Not surprisingly, special events generate much higher ridership than normal - often by thousands or tens of thousands. Such volume requires additional rail service, supplemental buses and many more staffers to assist customers.
Delivering 5 Star ServiceIn 2013, DART embarked upon a multi-year initiative, 5 Star Service, to improve the total experience of riders, partners, stakeholders, community members and colleagues.
Training began with the members of the operating departments who interact with customers most directly: bus and rail operators, transit center staff, customer service representatives, ticket vending machine staff, DART Police and Fare Enforcement Officers. The program has focused on improving daily job performance and identifying every opportunity to deliver exceptional service.
During the first year, a team of 5 Star advocates began championing the program. Five continuous improvement teams tackled major customer service challenges, from elevator/escalator reliability to ticket vending machine refunds.
DART employees from a cross-section of departments greeted riders at more than 20 events to receive feedback on service. A customized 5 Star van traveled to various events and neighborhoods to advertise and promote DART service.
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