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LIRR Customer Satisfaction Jumps 8 Percentage Points in 2012 Survey

Eighty-six percent of Long Island Rail Road customers say they're satisfied or very satisfied with the commuter line's overall performance in 2012, an 8 percentage point improvement over last year when major storms and service reductions impacted customer satisfaction.

The results of the LIRR's annual Customer Satisfaction Survey show that customers believe the Railroad is doing a better job today than in 2011 on 10 of its 11 branches. Customers cited improvements in on-time performance and the level of courtesy and responsiveness from employees.

The survey findings come as LIRR President Helena Williams announced that ridership had increased in July and August for the 11 and 12th consecutive months, clearly reversing the downward trend that began after the Great Recession hit at the end of 2008. So far this year, LIRR ridership is up 4.5 percent over the same period in 2011.

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"We've worked hard to improve on-time performance, customer service and make strategic service investments and we are pleased that ridership is rebounding," said LIRR President Helena Williams. "Customers are demanding more service and we are responding with service investments on our busiest branches."

According to the survey, riders on the Long Beach Branch saw the biggest improvement with overall customer satisfaction rising 31 percentage points. On the Port Washington Branch, customers reacted to the restoration of half-hourly weekday, off peak service and weighed in with a 12 point increase in customer satisfaction.

The Railroad, which carries more than 200,000 passengers every weekday, also scored gains across its service schedule with Peak, Reverse Peak, and both weekday and weekend Off-Peak customers saying their ride today is better today than it was in 2011.

Significantly, train conductors again achieved some of the highest marks with a 93 percent customer satisfaction rating.

"We appreciate the recognition our customers give to our frontline employees," Williams said.

The independent survey was conducted for the Long Island Rail Road by Abt SRBI of New York City. The firm said 7,182 customers, or 57% of those asked to participate in the study, completed and returned the postage-paid survey forms, statistically a very high response rate, which demonstrates the interest of the LIRR customer in good service.

According to the study, the Railroad is doing a better job of communicating with customers. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with overall customer communications, up from 79% in 2011 and a sign that efforts to improve in this area through initiatives like the creation of the 24/7 Public Information Office, which provides real time service alerts via email and text message, is paying off.

In total, 62 percent of the customers surveyed said that they felt they were getting the value for the money they paid to use the Railroad, up from 56 percent last year.

"Every year the results of this survey give the Long Island Rail Road a clear picture of how it's doing and how it can do better," said Williams. "We use these results to drill down with each department to review performance and make adjustments."

The 2012 Long Island Rail Road Customer Satisfaction Survey is available for review on the MTA website.