Friday, April 8, 2011

Dealing with Troublesome Riders

Video contains explicit language

Several comments yesterday suggested the best way to have handled the rider with the pit bull would have been to take the bus out of service, call Metro cops, tell the woman the cops were on their way, explain to riders what was going on, give them their options and then apologize for the delay.

One former bus operator we spoke with said when they used to drive in rough part of town, there were certain riders who expected a free ride and could present a major danger if denied what they thought was a right.

"People used to ask me how I never got stabbed," they said. "The reason is I just let them on the bus and never confronted them, and if they needed transfers, I gave those to them, too. It' s not worth getting stabbed or beat up."

We were curious about what kind of official training Metrobus drivers receive, so we asked Metro. Here's what they said:
The instructional materials and techniques we use to help Bus Operators deal with customers in general and also difficult customers include:

Basic customer service standards, understanding customer expectations, what transit customers want, how to avoid confrontations, listening skills, the importance of greeting customers, body language, and the importance of positive language.

We teach techniques on avoiding confrontations, how to recognize angry people, how to know the operators own personal triggers, how not to retaliate and how to de-stress after difficult encounters.

We use interactive video and role-play situations where students practice using these strategies and techniques for situations that might arise on the bus, along with more emotionally charged situations where they practice keeping hostility from escalating.

We also cover these same types of customer situations in the context of customers with special needs.
Other items:
Metro considers ways to close budget gap (Examiner)
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