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June 26, 2019
Golden Empire Transit Service Earns High Marks from the Community
Bakersfield, CA — Golden Empire Transit District (GET) recently completed its biennial Customer and Community Satisfaction Surveys. The results highlighted that 88 percent of current riders are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with the current service; a seven-percent increase since 2017. Additionally, 48 percent of respondents believe the GET service has improved over the past year; also, a seven-percent increase over 2017.
GET conducts surveys every two to three years to assess the satisfaction of current GET riders, identify areas for improvements, and determine the demographics of current riders to comply with Federal Title VI requirements.
The results were presented to the GET Board at its June 18 meeting. Cindy Parra, GET’s Chair of the Board, expressed her pleasure with the 2019 results, stating, “There are more positives than negatives in the report. This can be attributed to our [GET] staff’s efforts.”
Beyond its existing riders, GET also asked the community at-large a series of perception questions. More than 80 percent have a positive image of GET; more than 67 percent would support a dedicated sales tax supporting improving public transit in the Bakersfield Metropolitan area; and more than 93 percent believe public transit plays an important role in their community’s quality of life.
Among the characteristics of GET’s services that contributed to the satisfaction of its riders were the current fare structure or value for the money; the ease for riders to transfer between routes; reliability of the service; and the overall driver behavior and attitude towards customers.
“Our frontline employees tend to form strong connections with their passengers, particularly with those who ride our GET-A-Lift paratransit service,” King said. “Our customer service agents and bus operators are described by disabled and senior riders of GET-A-Lift as both compassionate and resourceful, and riders consider the service to be a life line.”
The Customer and Community Satisfaction Surveys were completed by Stantec Consulting Services Inc., which offered several recommendations to improve GET services for existing riders. Some of those include looking at expanding service hours, especially on weekends; continuing to improve service reliability and on-time performance; examining customer perception of long travel times and inconvenient transfers; and assessing cleanliness and safety at bus stops and transit centers.
As for the community at-large (also referred to as non-riders), Stantec’s recommendations had a common theme: GET needs to find ways to improve its public image. Overall, there was a lack of awareness about GET as an agency. It is believed that if the community understood GET’s mission to make life better by connecting people to places one ride at a time it might lead to some new riders.
GET was formed in July 1973 and is the primary public transportation provider for the Bakersfield Urbanized Area. It is the largest public transit system within a 110-mile radius. The District’s legal boundary includes Bakersfield city limits as well as adjacent unincorporated areas. GET has a fleet of 90 compressed natural gas buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. GET serves 16 routes, operating 7 days a week and transporting more than 6 million passengers each year with its fixed-route buses. In addition, GET operates 21 compressed natural gas GET-A-Lift buses. For more information, visit www.getbus.org or call 869.2GET (2438).