Mississauga promises to ‘reach new heights’ in MiWay service to get people back on buses
Published December 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Public transit officials in Mississauga say they’ll “raise the bar and reach new heights” in serving MiWay passengers, who’ve been returning to the buses in smaller numbers than the city had hoped.
Faced with a significant decline in ridership—and the dollars passengers contribute—since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago, MiWay and other municipal transit systems in Ontario have seen customer numbers bounce back somewhat in recent months.
But MiWay ridership figures are still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels, and passengers aren’t returning to the service as quickly as the City of Mississauga had banked on.
City Manager Paul Mitcham said recently during budget discussions that 2022 “promises to be another challenging year with COVID (and) we will see additional losses…on transit ridership. Transit ridership is coming back, but not as quickly as we would like.”
In September, MiWay carried some 61 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership numbers from the same month in 2019.
The City has frozen regular MiWay fares for this year and next, and the transit provider is “reviewing current fare products to create a fare strategy that will encourage customers to get back on the system,” a budget report stated.
“Whether it’s MiWay, the TTC or GO Transit, we’re all looking at the numbers,” said Mitcham earlier, adding ridership figures in Mississauga and across southern Ontario are expected to return over the course of years, not months.
In the meantime, Mississauga and other municipalities have been receiving stopgap funding from provincial and federal governments to help offset losses.
In addition to frozen fares, MiWay is also looking at other ways to encourage riders to get back on the buses.
To that end, the City’s transit provider today released its new Customer Charter, described as a public commitment to its riders and what they can expect from MiWay.
The City says the charter was developed in consultation with customers and stakeholders through focus groups, research, one-on-one interviews and market research.
“The time has come for us to raise the bar and reach new heights when it comes to serving our customers,” said Mississauga’s transit director Geoff Marinoff. “We remain open and transparent about our decision to set a goal, measure how we are doing and that we hold ourselves accountable. Transit customer charters have become an industry standard and ours supports MiWay’s commitment to continuous improvement. Part of our mission is to help make life in our city better. We are doing this by listening to our customers and stakeholders as we continuously work to meet the changing needs of the community.”
MiWay’s new Customer Charter consists of four commitments:
- Safety first: focuses on the safety of customers, employees and others
- Reliable and on time: focuses on providing a dependable transit service in which delays are minimized
- Excellent customer service: focuses on treating everyone with courtesy and respect
- Keeping customers informed: focuses on providing accurate, updated service information both online and via customer service representatives
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