Tag Archives: omnitrans customer service

The multi-faceted job of a Field Supervisor

Our Omnitrans Field Supervisors are accustomed to wearing many hats throughout their daily shift.

Their daily responsibilities comprise a number of administrative tasks, including Customer Service Report investigations and annual reviews.

After taking off their administrative hat, they easily slide on the hat of being responsible for service performance, assistance to customers with field issues, and the immediate needs and concerns of Coach Operators.

When wearing their “In-The-Field-Hat”, they can be called to investigate accidents and incidents and to set up detours. All Field Supervisors are involved in coordinating special bus service, dispatching, covering the radio, and monitoring morning pull-outs (ensuring timely departure).

One final thing to note: many of them drive routes daily to help decrease the loss of service and to insure the community transportation needs are being met.

Not only do our Field Supervisors contribute to the overall success of the agency, they maintain a positive attitude of teamwork, flexibility, determination, support and perseverance.

Roberta Robertson
Assistant Transit Manager, East Valley

Omnitrans Field Supervisors

Omnitrans customer survey & prize drawing

Tell us what you think about Omnitrans!

Take the Omnitrans customer survey for a chance to win a $25 Target gift card and a free 7-Day Bus Pass.Take the survey in English

Tome el questionario en espanol

Omnitrans, along with several other transit agencies, is participating in a customer survey run by the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG).

ABBG is a consortium of mid-sized bus agencies in North America that was established in 2011 to benchmark performance and share experiences and best practices. The information collected in the survey will help provide a comparative analysis of the bus rider experience nationwide.

Participants will be entered for a chance to win!

Get a chance to win a$25 Target gift card and a free 7-Day Bus Pass when you participate in the Omnitrans customer survey.We encourage all riders to take the Omnitrans customer survey by Sunday, May 10th. Survey participants will be entered into a prize drawing for 5  gift packs  which include:

  • a $25 Target gift card
  • a free 7-Day bus pass

Omnitrans driver earns National Safety Council Award

Omnitrans coach operator John Barnett and CEO P. Scott Graham

Coach Operator John Barnett and Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham

This month, Coach Operator John Barnett was presented with the Safe Driver Award of Honor for the Pacific Region by the National Safety Council.  During his 27 year tenure at Omnitrans, John has logged nearly 50,000 hours and 2 million miles of safe driving.

John Barnett began his career here at Omnitrans in 1988 when he was hired as a part time Coach Operator and within a few months he was promoted to full time.  From the very beginning of his career John displayed great pride, enthusiasm and dedication to his job. He took the time to encourage the new hire coach operators with solid words of wisdom and stressed to them the importance of being a safe driver at all times.

Additionally, John devoted himself to providing great customer service to his passengers, accumulating numerous customer service awards and accolades throughout his career.  His very impressive file contained numerous letters from passengers from all ages and walks of life, each praising his kindness, helpfulness and his commitment to going the extra mile to assist them.

“I treat everyone with respect and courtesy,” John says. “That’s important. And my passengers know that I will always do my best to get them to their destination safely and on time.  People appreciate that. I’ve driven the Route 22 for so long now I’ve gotten to know all the regular riders and have even seem some of them grow up from babies. One little girl who used to ride my bus is now my granddaughter’s kindergarten teacher! You really never know where you might run into someone again, but they will always remember how you treated them.”

In 2010 John became an over the road instructor for new hires entering the transit workforce.  To date he has trained over 80 student coach operators and continues to instill in them the required driving skills, work pride, integrity and compassion to serve the public. He is also a long- standing member of Omnitrans Accident Review Committee, providing sound guidance and instruction on safe driving practices and training procedures.

Omnitrans Coach Operator John Barnett Safe Driving Award

Omnitrans Transportation Manager John Steffon, John Barnett and Fleet Safety & Training Instructor Verretta Johnson

John has been recognized as having well over 10 good years of “Customer Complaint Free Quarters” by our Marketing Department.  He has received his One Million Mile Safe Driver Award and is line to receive his Two Million Safe Driving Award at the end of 2014.

John Barnett continues to demonstrate the highest standards set forth by Omnitrans. He is an excellent example of a coach operator and is valued not only by the agency, but by the customers who board his coach each and every day.  He is a man of honor and integrity.  We are proud of his achievement as a recipient of the National Safety Council Award of Honor for the Pacific Region.

John plans to retire in early 2015. “Omnitrans has been a great experience for me,” he smiles. “And I’m going to miss a lot of people when I go.  But I am looking forward to having the time to relax and  do some traveling with my wife.”

We wish him all the best.

–        Veretta Johnson, Omnitrans Fleet Safety and Training Instructor

Omnitrans customer survey and prize drawing

Omnitrans Customer Survey and Prize Drawing

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Take the survey in English

Tome el questionario en espanol

Omnitrans, along with several other transit agencies, is participating in a customer survey run by the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG).

ABBG is a consortium of mid-sized bus agencies in North America that was established in 2011 to benchmark performance and share experiences and best practices. The information collected in the survey will help provide a comparative analysis of the bus rider experience nationwide.

We encourage all our riders to take the Omnitrans customer survey between Monday, April 28th and Sunday, May 25th.  Survey participants will be entered into a drawing for 5  gift packs which include a $25 Target gift card and a free 7-Day bus pass.

 

Employee of the Year: Benito Zavalza

Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham (left) and Board Chair Alan Wapner (right) present the Employee of the Year Award to Benito Zavalza and his proud daughter Dahlia.

Some people go to work to make a paycheck. Others, like Omnitrans coach operator Benito Zavalza,  see it as an opportunity to make a difference. Although he has only been with the agency for 15 months, the quiet young man has earned a reputation for exceeding performance standards and providing unparalleled customer service to his passengers.  This month he was honored with the Employee of the Year Award.

“When I first came here I knew nothing about transit,” says Benito. “I was just happy to have a job and a way to support my family.  Now I find myself thinking about ways to make things better.  How can we get more people to ride the bus? How can we improve what we do?”

Omitrans bus driver Benito Zavalza

While driving his routes, Benito does what he can to make transit a better experience for both passengers and coach operators. He reports potholes and other potential hazards and suggests bus bench locations for waiting passengers. When he works Sundays, he reminds his riders of the reduced Sunday schedule to ensure they make their connections. Currently he is working on an invention to reduce the window glare coach operators sometimes have to deal with.

“I see passengers and coach operators as a team,” Benito explains. “If we work together, it benefits everybody.  For instance if passengers know how to have their money ready, understand how to read the bus book and so on, it makes everything much easier. When they’re not ready it slows us down and impacts service. My goal is to help educate my passengers so when they board the bus, they’re ready to go. I ask people all the time if they have any questions about where they’re going or how to get there. Here’s an example. One night I was driving the Route 3 and was running 4 minutes ahead of schedule because it wasn’t busy. One of my passengers asked when the bus arrives on Saturday. I gave him the information he needed and showed him how to read the bus book. I made a deal with him that if he would study pages 9 and 10, the next time I saw him I’d ask him a question about that route and see if he could answer. And you know what? He did!”

Benito has received numerous customer commendations over the past year. His passengers describe him as friendly, professional, courteous, kind and knowledgeable, greeting everyone with a smile and a thank you. And, more than once, the coach operator’s calm, respectful demeanor and quick action has helped defuse potentially volatile situations. People matter to him and it shows.

Benito would love to one day be involved in special projects focused on customer service and community outreach where he could share some of his experiences and try out new ideas. Like possibly spending time at transit centers, answering questions and showing people how to read the bus book. Benito’s passion for what he does is contagious. We are glad to have him on our Operations team.

Read how Benito got his start and why it’s important for him to pay it forward by helping others.

Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Passenger recovers laptop thanks to bus driver

Passenger enjoys Omnitrans friendly bus service and convenient schedule - photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Passenger Yasuko Fujisawa with her recovered laptop on board the Omnitrans Route 65

When Yasuko Fujisawa boarded the Route 65 the night before Thanksgiving, she was so exhausted that even her bus driver, Roderick Morton,  commented to her that she looked tired that day. She smiled and explained that there was a lot going on with work and the holiday. When she finally disembarked, she accidently left her computer bag aboard the bus. It wasn’t until the next day that she realized her mistake, and by then she was sure it was too late.

“In Japan, if you lose a wallet, you will get it back because someone will turn it into the police,” explained Yasuko. “In the U.S. it is different. People say this doesn’t happen. When I told my friends and family, they just shook their heads and told me good luck.”

Montclair bus station  - photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Passenger Yasuko Fujisawa waits for the evening bus at Montclair transit center

It was a monumental loss for Yasuko. She and her husband are living with his parents, trying to save up money for a place of their own. Finding a job had been difficult for her, partly because of the language barrier. Although she came here from Japan as a student 5 years ago, she was still more comfortable expressing herself in English on the computer rather than in person.

She decided to put her portfolio online and offer her services as a graphics designer. Yasuko enjoyed helping small businesses grow by helping them to develop logos and business cards that helped them develop a unique identity. She was finally able to get work 2 days a week managing an Etsy site for a company called multeecustoms. To improve her writing skills, she was also taking a free English as a second language class at Mt. Sac. Her entire livelihood was tied to her computer, and now it was gone.

Thanksgiving day, her husband sent out an S.O.S. on Twitter, and Yasuko posted a private message to the Omnitrans Facebook page, explaining the situation and asking for help. They knew the offices were closed, and were surprised when they received a response from the social media manager. She told Yasuko how sorry she was that had happened and assured her they would do what they could to help. She gave her the phone number of the lost and found department and explained that it would reopen at 8:00 on Monday.

“It was so mentally helpful just to be able to talk to someone,” said Yasuko. “We like that there are so many ways—like Twitter and Facebook—that you can use to reach Omnitrans. It felt more reliable than just leaving a phone message. I was able to get a personal response and even find out what time the office opened so I could be there first thing.”

When she arrived at the Omnitrans offices Monday morning, she learned that the bus driver had found her computer and had turned it in for her. Her relief was immense.

We caught up with Yasuko and Roderick last night on Route 65 to find out more about what happened.

Bus Driver Roderick Morton and passenger Yasuko Fujisawa share a laugh outside the Route 65 Omnitrans bus.

“I found her computer bag not long after she got off the bus,” Roderick said. “I was hoping she would realize she left it and loop back around for it. She’s one of my regulars, and I knew it was important to her.”

“If I had known your exact street I would have driven up and down honking my horn to get your attention,” he teased Yasuko. She laughed.

Roderick is well liked by his passengers for his sense of humor and customer service. “I’m known as the singing bus driver around here,” he said with a grin. “I do a little rock, a little Motown, once in a while to pass the time and make the passengers smile. For some coach operators, this job is all about driving the vehicle. For me, it’s about the customer. I want them to have a good experience when they get on my bus, and I do what I can to make that happen. If I see someone running to catch the bus, I wait for them. When they board I smile and say hello. I want my passengers to feel like someone really cares about them.”

Friendly Omnitrans bus driver helps a passenger find schedule information

Omnitran bus driver Roderick Morton is known for his sense of humor and for always going the extra mile for his passengers

“I was nervous when I began riding the bus two months ago,” Yasuko admitted. “Especially in the evening on my way home.  But Roderick was always so friendly and made me feel so safe that I grew more comfortable. And each night it was the same regular five or six riders that climbed aboard at the transit center. We look out for each other like a little family.”

Yasuko searched for the right words to explain her thoughts. “Back in Japan, there was a little neighborhood that was plagued by crime. The people who lived there wanted desperately to find some way to stop what was happening.  They banded together, but weren’t sure what to do, what action they could take to protect themselves from these outsiders. They decided to grow flowers and trees and bushes—many, many of them. Every home, every business was surrounded by these beautiful and fragrant plants. And the crime rate dropped. Outsiders could see that these were people who cared deeply about their community, and they left them alone. “

“Omnitrans gives me that same feeling. Roderick is always so kind to his passengers and cares about what’s going on with us. He has created a little community. I feel very comfortable having my friends or family ride his bus because I know they will be safe and cared for.”

Nice bus driver laughing with favorite passengers on route 65  - photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Omnitrans bus driver Roderick Morton with passengers Yasuko and Paula aboard the Route 65.

As we talked, Paula, a passenger in a wheelchair at the front of the bus, overheard the story and asked to have her photo taken with the pair. She quickly put on her lipstick and handed me her cell phone. The three posed with big smiles. Watching them together, it was easy to see there was something special here. “This world needs a lot of love,” said Roderick. “I like being able to make a difference.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Thank you tweet from Yasuko’s husband

 

Route 65 omnitrans bus leaves the montclair transit center on schedule

The last Omnitrans bus pulls out of the Montclair station on schedule