Survey drives change at NJ TRANSIT with a 13.7 percent increase in customer satisfaction

May 9, 2012

NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT today revealed the results of the agency’s latest customer satisfaction survey as part of “Scorecard,” an initiative designed to provide the public with a clear measurement of how the organization is performing, while driving strategic decisions to improve the overall customer experience.


At today’s regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting, NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein and NJ TRANSIT staff highlighted some of the steps the agency has taken to improve overall customer satisfaction, as survey ratings for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) increased compared to previous results.


By measuring ourselves in critical areas and seeking regular input from our customers, Scorecard is effectively transforming NJ TRANSIT into a more transparent, accountable and results-driven organization,” said Chairman Simpson.  “Through this ground-breaking initiative, NJ TRANSIT continues to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience that keeps faith with the taxpayers of the Garden State.”


The third quarter surveys were conducted online at njtransit.com and in the field between February 21 and March 12, a period in which customers experienced two major Northeast Corridor rail disruptions on March 5 and 6.  The survey asked bus, rail, light rail and Access Link customers to rate NJ TRANSIT on a scale of 0 to 10.  Customers also considered 41 attributes of the system related to facilities, service, vehicles, communications and the overall experience using NJ TRANSIT.  In addition, customers were asked to identify the most important aspects of NJ TRANSIT service among the items they rated. 


Regarding customer loyalty, nearly 75 percent of the customers surveyed said they would recommend NJ TRANSIT to a friend, relative or neighbor (up from 66 percent from the previous quarter).


“Three out of every four NJ TRANSIT customers recommending our service represents a strong show of confidence in New Jersey’s transit system,” said Executive Director Weinstein.  “At NJ TRANSIT, we consider this to be ‘The Ultimate Question,’ one that will best guide our efforts to serve customers well.”


Survey Results – Third Quarter FY12


For the third quarter of FY12, customers rated their overall satisfaction with NJ TRANSIT service as “acceptable” or “satisfactory,” with a score of 5.8, an increase of 13.7 percent over last quarter’s score of 5.1, making substantial progress toward the agency’s FY 2012 goal of 6.0. 


Current customer satisfaction ratings on NJ TRANSIT’s four service modes are as follows:


  • Bus customers rated their overall satisfaction with service at a 5.9, higher than the 5.4 rating from the previous quarter.  The most important areas for
    NJ TRANSIT to improve again included on-time performance, fares and the weekday PM peak schedule.  About 269,000 customers use NJ TRANSIT’s interstate and local bus system on a typical weekday, representing 61 percent of all NJ TRANSIT customers.


  • Rail customers gave NJ TRANSIT an overall score of 5.3, a significant increase from last quarter’s score of 4.1.  Customers ranked fares, mechanical reliability, the handling of service disruptions and information during service disruptions as the most important attributes that need improvement.  Approximately 136,000 customers ride NJ TRANSIT trains on a typical weekday, comprising about 31 percent of all NJ TRANSIT customers.


  • Light Rail customers gave NJ TRANSIT an overall satisfaction rating of 6.9, a slight improvement over the previous score of 6.7.  Customers indicated that fares, seating availability, safety and security, and weekend/holiday schedules are the most important aspects of service to improve.  About 36,000 customers use NJ TRANSIT’s three light rail lines on a typical weekday, making up about eight percent of total NJ TRANSIT customers.


  • Access Link, NJ TRANSIT’s paratransit service for customers with disabilities, was given an overall rating of 8.3, slightly higher than the previous score of 8.1.  Access Link serves approximately 3,000 customers on a typical weekday.


Detailed survey results are available at njtransit.com/surveyresults.


NJ TRANSIT continues to use the survey results to target specific improvements needed to boost customer satisfaction.  Surveys are being conducted quarterly so NJ TRANSIT can track results.


“The latest survey results show that NJ TRANSIT is making substantial progress in terms of moving the needle for customer satisfaction,” said Chairman Simpson.  “We will relentlessly continue to focus on innovative ways to improve the overall customer experience throughout our system.”


Moving the Needle


Through the quarterly customer surveys, as well as focus groups and “We’re Listening” forums NJ TRANSIT has regularly conducted, customers have clearly ranked their priorities for what they want from their public transportation system.  Two of the top priorities offered by customers continue to guide NJ TRANSIT’s efforts:  keeping fares stable, and ensuring that customers reach their destinations on time.  


To address these and other top customer issues, NJ TRANSIT has taken the following steps:  


  • Fares – NJ TRANSIT Executive Director has clearly, unequivocally and repeatedly announced that there will be no fare increase in Fiscal Year 2013.  This will mark the third consecutive year without an increase.


  • On-Time Performance (OTP) – NJ TRANSIT’s Rail Operations division has put measures in place to improve OTP, exceeding the FY12 goal of 94.7 percent in each of the last four months and averaging 95.3 percent for the last 12 months.  This recently culminated with Rail Operations achieving an OTP of 97.6 percent during the month of April, establishing a new April record.  Light Rail Operations is also operating above its FY12 goal of 97 percent, boasting a 97.7 percent OTP for the last 12 months.


  • Communications – NJ TRANSIT has enhanced its communications focus by embracing new media to speak with customers on their level, through their preferred medium.  Launched earlier this year, the agency’s new media platform includes a new Facebook page, a revamped YouTube presence, and an official, interactive Twitter profile to promote the rapid release of information in a manner that ultimately grows customer satisfaction. 


“What our Scorecard initiative has made very clear is that every area of NJ TRANSIT—from the rail, bus, light rail and Access Link operating divisions, to customer communications, to fare collection, to capital construction—has a direct tie-in to the customer experience,” said Executive Director Weinstein.  “In a service-oriented organization such as NJ TRANSIT, the type of feedback we are regularly seeking from the people who use our services is vital in providing a true measure of our performance.”




NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.