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NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors approved today a contract with MGD of Edison to create a customer-service training program for some 1,650 frontline rail employees for a two-year period.

The new training program will help train crews and ticket agents develop their skills in interacting with customers, and ensure they thoroughly understand and can effectively communicate policies, fares, schedules, and connecting services.

“This is about transforming the culture to one that is centered around the customers,” said DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere. “Governor McGreevey was very clear with his directive to improve the state’s transportation experience which includes traveling on our roads and on our public transit systems, he said.

Over the years, there has been more of a focus on getting to the core of our service, and part of that is paying closer attention to our customers’ overall experience, “ said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora Castillo, who is also chair of the Customer Service Committee. “Taking the frontline employees training to the next level as it relates to customer service is good policy,” she added.

“A better-trained workforce means a better customer experience,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “This training program is a continuation of the Corporation’s initiative to improve communication, simplify policies, and respond to customer needs in a timely fashion, which we began last summer,” he said.

Train crew labor leaders have been involved in the development of the scope of the training, selection of the training service company, and are participating in the curriculum design. Ultimately, train crewmembers will lead the course through a “train the trainer” program. The new training program will also become the core of Customer Service training for the Corporation’s bus, light rail, and headquarters personnel. The training program for frontline management will cost $285,930.

Just one year ago this month, NJ TRANSIT unveiled its Customer Service initiatives designed to reduce customer frustration and put the customer needs at the forefront of the Corporation’s day-to-day decision-making.

The initiatives were a result of recommendations made by the agency’s Customer Service Task Force, which were based on research with more than 15,000 transit customers and more than 100 frontline employees.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 49 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.