KCATA transportation managers reach out to riders

Date:February 14, 2017
KCATA transportation managers reach out to riders

Bobby Edwards is passionate about customer service.

He’s not waiting on calls to hear what you think about bus service. He’s finding out personally.

As the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s new chief of transportation, Edwards is out hustling, meeting riders as he gets a first-hand account of what they think of the transit system.

Edwards and his transportation management team have been riding some of the KCATA’s most popular routes as they study ways to improve services for operators and riders alike.

 “We’re out there gathering information. We’re talking to customers. We’re talking to operators,” Edwards said. “We want them to feel comfortable.”

KCATA Transportation Chief Bobby Edwards discusses bus service with a rider recently as part of his outreach efforts.

Edwards places a premium on riding the bus and introducing himself to riders and operators. It’s the best way he can find out what works and what doesn’t.

“You get a real-life understanding of what the customers are experiencing and what the bus operators are experiencing out there,” Edwards said “That helps us make decisions for the future.”

Edwards came to the KCATA from Hampton Roads Transit in Virginia where he worked as the senior manager of bus transportation. What he’s doing here is similar to how he approached his job at Hampton Roads where he reached out to riders on popular bus routes.

“Having a management presence out there on those buses to just talk to riders and find out what’s going on will be a big win for the KCATA,” Edwards said. “We want to win by giving the customers the best service that we possibly can.”

He’s been out on the bus several times in the last month and expects to be out there more in the coming weeks as he gets to know riders on a more personal level.

Last week, Edwards led a team of KCATA ambassadors out on three routes in sub-freezing temperatures. Their outing took them on Troost Avenue and ultimately out to Blue Ridge Crossing shopping center.

They handed out free bus passes and chatted up passengers as they tried to get a feel for what riders were thinking. Topics ranged from fares to transit connections to drivers to the temperature on the bus.

“I’m trying to get the pulse, to get a feel for what’s going on,” he said.

Overall, riders have hardly been shy.

“Customers are very satisfied having us out there,” Edwards said. “They don’t hold back making recommendations about things they would like to see.”

So on any day, on any route, you may meet Edwards or anyone from our transportation staff. Tell them hello. And tell them what you think of the services we’re offering.

We want to know. It’s how we can make your trips better.

Edwards meets with passengers on a bus en route to Blue Ridge Crossing shopping center last week.