Positives drawn from latest Metlink Satisfaction Survey despite cancellations
The results of Metlink’s annual independent customer satisfaction survey, which surveyed 2745 customers about their experiences on public transport in the region, will be presented at this Thursday’s meeting of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee.
The survey was conducted in June this year. A record high 96 percent of surveyed Metlink rail customers were satisfied with their journey, while 94 percent of surveyed customers across the whole Metlink bus, train and ferry network were satisfied with their trip, one percent more than last year.
Metlink General Manager Samantha Gain said the satisfaction levels were pleasing overall, but acknowledged that since the survey was taken in June, bus service cancellations have increased from an average of 4.5% for the month due to bus driver shortages and absenteeism, to up to 10% on some days, making it difficult for customers on affected routes.
“While we are experiencing some difficulties in the consistent delivery of bus services in Wellington city at present, at an underlying level these results reflect Metlink’s commitment to developing an accessible, affordable and modern network.
“It is great to see rail customers are increasingly satisfied with their journeys. And while we know we are facing increased bus cancellations at present and share the public’s frustration about driver recruitment, we’re pleased the shortage is not affecting satisfaction levels onboard Metlink services.”
Satisfaction with ‘services being on time’ and the frequency of services fell from 2021 levels, (down 4% and 2%).
Ms Gain said Metlink is taking steps to lessen the impact of the driver shortage, which is a key contributor to these lower results.
“By working with operators and unions to provide more consistency of service within the timetable, we are doing what we can to restore certainty for customers,” Ms Gain said.
“But recruiting 120 drivers to attain our full complement of around 650 bus drivers requires a tectonic shift within the sector.”
The survey also gathers feedback on payments for public transport on the Metlink network.
Two categories recorded an increase in this section. Convenience in making payments was up eleven percent while perceived value for money was up seven percent on last year.
These perceptions have been enhanced by Government fare subsidies and the introduction of electronic ticketing to rail, Ms Gain said.
“The survey shows us that half price fares have played a role in boosting patronage, and we’re confident the council’s half price off-peak fare initiative will do the same when introduced later in 2023.”
Top rated attributes from the 2021 survey again scored favourably across the network with ‘Personal security during the trip’ scoring 95 percent, and ‘Ease of getting on/off the vehicle’ and ‘Condition of the vehicle’ returning 94 percent.
“Our positive metrics tell us what we already know, we’re providing our customers with a smart, safe network but ultimately, they want one that is reliable,” Ms Gain said.
“While we continue to work on reliability of bus services in particular to improve customer certainty, we appreciate the continued understanding of passengers during this time.”