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Knowledge fuels popularity in public transport

Knowledge fuels growth of popularity in public transport

The simple act of telling people about services is fuelling a significant growth in public transport use.

Rideline, the Auckland Regional Council’s passenger transport information service, has just released its annual report. It contains the results of a survey which shows that 29 per cent of respondents have increased their use of public transport as a result of using the Rideline service. Each is spending an average of $40 extra a month on fares.

“This shows that knowledge is power,” says Councillor Catherine Harland, ARC Passenger Transport Committee Chair, “and Rideline is powering up interest in public transport.

"Aucklanders will get out of their cars and use public transport if you provide quality services, make it simple for them to learn about and use them." The Rideline call centre received 71,600 more phone calls than last year – a jump of six per cent. Hits to its website have leapt from 272,000 to 431,500 – a 58 per cent increase. And over 115,000 text-message inquiries have been received since the service was introduced in March 2002.

Overall, Rideline dealt with 1.85 million inquiries, 20 per cent more than the previous year. Costs are well below industry standards.

"Rideline is a business unit where we focus on the customer and on the costs," says Cr Harland. "An independent peer review revealed that Rideline is an outstanding industry success providing an extremely competitive service. Rideline has achieved a cost per call average of $1.85 ($1.05 per minute). This is 25% below the industry benchmark of $2.47 per call ($1.40 per minute). Ratepayers can be assured that they are receiving best possible value for money."

"Through Rideline, the Auckland Regional Council is delivering commercial success in both financial and customer service, while supporting the ever increasing demand for public transport information. "

“Rideline is one part of the many pieces of the puzzle which go together to create a seamless, integrated public transport network,” says Cr Harland, “Although we have a long way to go before we can realise such a dream, the ARC's Rideline service is providing a strong, quality base on which to build.”

Other highlights for the region's information hub for bus, train and ferry travel include:

Peer Review When measured against best practice, scores achieved in each category indicate that Rideline is either meeting or exceeding best practice service levels. Rideline uses 'Best of Breed' technology to enhance the service to customers. Early adoption and innovative application of this technology exceeds 'Best in Class' measures in the New Zealand contact centre industry. Combining technology use with people development, in the form of comprehensive training, had reviewers consider Rideline as 'efficient and highly productive'.

Customer Survey 83% of all calls were answered within 20 seconds. 91% of surveyed customers were satisfied or very satisfied with the Rideline service. 68% of customers said their confidence in using public transport had increased as a result of contacting Rideline.

Call Volumes Call volumes have grown 21% over the past two years (15% in the 2001/02 financial year and 6% in the 2002/03 year). 2002 Ellerslie Flow Show calls increased by 8% (an additional 1,606 calls) during the five day event. 2002 Santa Parade calls increased by 11% (an additional 366 calls) on the day compared to the previous year. 2002 Christmas in the Park was Rideline's busiest Saturday ever, with 5,322 calls received. In January 2003 for the first time in Rideline's history there were three consecutive days where the call volume was over 5,000 calls per day. The intense call volume was due to school bus enquiries. Waitangi Day had the highest call volume for a public holiday, with 4,619 calls, a 10% increase compared to 2002 (an additional 450 calls).

TUANZ Award Nomination The Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand recognised Rideline for its excellence, nominating manager Wayne Funnell, as one of its three finalist for Contact Centre Manager of the Year for call centres under 50 seats.

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