Metro Considers Moving TAP Service Center to In-House

Metro is in the midst of addressing one of the last Transit Access Pass bugaboos beyond the fixes I described previously: the rather poor quality of service provided by Xerox, the vendor staffing the Regional TAP Service Center.

At the Metro Board Executive Management Committee meeting on Thursday they will consider an extension of the contract with Xerox to facilitate a transition to having the Center be in-house staffed by Metro employees represented by the Transportation Communications Union (TCU).

This is good news. Not that everything will be peachy keen even with this change. Alex Vickers’ comment to my previous post I think brings up a very important point in re gating:

Closing the turnstiles is still going to be a complete nightmare… was held up for 5 minutes the other day trying to get through the turnstiles and almost missed my train. It’s difficult to deal with the huge rush of an entire train of people unloading and the stations weren’t designed to deal with two way traffic. Union Station is going to be a complete C.F

Another commenter, who wishes to remain anonymous because of business with Metro, explains why this could be a good move for customers.

This helps fix one of the biggest complaints about the TAP program, which is the poor customer service. By bringing this in house hopefully you will have staff at MTA Customer Service Centers actually helping passengers with the card instead of directing them to the phone booth where they sit on hold for over half an hour.

Oh, yeah…

By the way, Xerox is even in hot water for non-compliance with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation commitment it made when awarded the contract. This is how dis-pleased Metro is regarding this failing: “Xerox has failed to demonstrate on-going good faith efforts and may be subject to administrative sanctions”.

Ouch!

  • Joe B

    Does this mean we’ll get fare capping and automatic transfers?

    Improved customer service is, well, good. But it’s sort of missing the point that a well-designed system shouldn’t require routine human interaction in the first place.

  • TAP customer service is bad… but the website is even worse. In all my interactions with Metro Customer service, be it via twitter, email, or whatever, I’m usually very quickly directed to someone in the upper ranks who can help. I haven’t bothered with the phone because their email service is actually very good, so this seems to be good news to me.

    More importantly, this gives me hope that we’ll see a legitimate TAP website update, or even hopefully a mobile app, for managing TAP cards in a user-friendly way. Metro has typically been pretty good with web-design and related stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Xerox!?

    With my year-long TAP card balance transfer nightmare leaving me the last step of small claims court, it took Streetsblog’s Sahra coming to my rescue by putting me in contact with a contact at Metro to FINALLY get me the lousy $13 held hostage to my original TAP card that had been euthanized early and without notice in 2012.

    On a 1-10 scale with 10 being best I give their customer service a big fat XERO. If helps is needed physically shoving them and out the door, I’m available.

  • sahra

    does that mean you finally got the $$? I hope so!

  • Anonymous

    Sahra! My bad for failing to let you know (and THANK YOU profusely for your help). Indeed, the replacement to the replacement to the replacement card arrived and I validated the long-lost balance (somewhat fittingly) on CicLAvia Day at the Crenshaw Blvd Green Line station.

  • sahra

    glad to hear it!

  • Anonymous

    I have seen fights when people are exiting the turnstiles and people are trying to get in. It is a clusterf*ck and who the hell is responsible?!!

  • calwatch

    The website is atrocious and even Metro staff admit it. There appears to be no customer service standards, such as hold time, percent of calls answered, average customer rating, etc in the ACS contract (I prefer to leave the copier people out of this). The hours of operation are terrible for blue collar workers who can’t make calls from their job, nor are they staffed for the many different languages in Los Angeles, possibly causing Title VI issues. They can’t do this any sooner.

  • Dana,
    Thanks for researching and reporting on this. I read through the memo. Props to David Sutton and his team for bringing the operation back in house. I’m guessing a lot of work had to be done behind the scenes to make this happen.
    Sirinya

  • I think Dave Sutton and his folks get that. Customer service is more than just the face-to-face interaction we have with companies or entities; the delivery of high-quality service is also “customer service” and “customer experience”. And Metro is well aware of these issues; hence why they are seeking to bring everything back in house after trying to work with their contractor for many years. Making it possible to fix and improve the software that governs all of what we as customers experience – from buying cards and loading fares to going through turnstiles vis-a-vis agency transfers – is a customer service issue. Bringing it in-house will resolve the need Metro had to get approvals from the board for contract amendments before the vendor would do any work; hopefully things will get resolved in a fraction of the time, in turn saving taxpayers money and increasing what we get for our tax dollars.

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