LTC survey finds many riders deal with unwanted contact

The LTC says passengers must enter through the rear door between March 20 and April 5.
The LTC says passengers must enter through the rear door between March 20 and April 5. Marty Thompson / 980 CFPL

A new survey from the London Transit Commission has found about half of those who ride the bus reported unwanted conversation or contact.

The results were included in the LTC’s annual Voice of the Customer survey.

While the majority of those who responded to the survey say they feel safe while waiting for the bus, 38 per cent have experienced unwanted conversation or contact while 43 per cent have witnessed it. While riding the bus, 40 per cent of riders say they have experienced unwanted conversation or contact while another 51 per cent have witnessed it.

Overall, 88 per cent of respondents in London said they felt safe while riding the bus.

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The discrepancy between those who feel safe waiting for and riding the bus and those who have witnessed others experiencing unwanted conversation or contact is “interesting” to LTC General Manager Kelly Paleczny.

“What we’re thinking about is probably some focus groups to have those discussions and get more in-depth feedback from our customers,” said Paleczny.

Safety on the bus is a big issue for the LTC.

An informal online survey conducted by Anova, a London-based women’s agency, found 300 people reported experiences of sexual assault or harassment on the bus.

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The majority of LTC customers are between the ages of 18 and 24 while the gender split is 57 per cent female and 43 per cent male.

Paleczny says they’re also working on raising awareness of their Travel Safe Program.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t know about the program,” she said. “Pieces of the program like courtesy stops and the fact that rides, if they’re feeling unsafe, can approach the operator and request a stop that’s closer to their home.”

88 per cent of respondents indicated they felt LTC drivers operate the vehicles safely while a majority of riders said they would passively or actively recommend the LTC to others.

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London is one of a number of transit systems in the country that have agreed to participate in the Voice of the Customer pilot program.

The pilot is an effort to provide the group with benchmarking opportunities.

Transit systems in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Edmonton, Moncton, Saskatoon, Strathcona and Laval are also participating.

The results will be shared at the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) conference in Nov. 2018.