As a part of the larger Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) customer researcher satisfaction program, Pivotal Research Inc. conducted a survey with DATS clients and their parents, caregivers and guardians towards the end of 2020.

In total, 214 respondents participated; 163 were DATS clients, and 51 were parents, caregivers and/or guardians. Messaging about survey participation was provided months in advance via the DATS newsletter, the City of Edmonton website and on-hold messaging. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey.

The survey focused on client satisfaction throughout the DATS journey, as well as the changes to the service due to COVID-19. Findings from this survey will be used to explore potential customer service improvements. Highlights from the survey are listed below.

Satisfaction with the overall DATS experience stands at 81%.

Satisfaction scores ranged from a low of 59% for the wait time to make a booking to 90% with the courteousness of the booking agent. One of the top service improvements requested by participants was improvements to the booking process. Specifically, respondents requested decreased wait times on the phone, bringing back online booking (which has been unavailable due to the requirement of COVID-19 screening questions that could not be accommodated digitally), and improvements to the availability of booking time slots.

Satisfaction with the pick-up and drop off experience ranged from 61% to 69% (timeliness with on-time pick-ups, pick-ups within the 30 minute window, and on-time arrival). Satisfaction with the total travel time was 73%. When asked to share potential service improvements, the number one request was for improvements to the overall travel time (including on time-arrival and pick-ups) and decreased waiting time for clients.

Regarding COVID-19 protocols on board, adherence to mask and face coverings (85%) received the highest level of satisfaction whereas the seating arrangement (73%), sanitization protocols (70%), and physical distancing onboard (69%) received lower satisfaction. It is important to note that only those who had taken DATS during the pandemic were asked to provide satisfaction among these items. Although, for the most part, participants did not identify hesitations specific to COVID-19 when riding DATS, COVID-19 protocols regarding seating, sanitization, and physical distancing onboard clearly impact on-board satisfaction.

When considering non-COVID 19 related aspects of the on-board experience, safety received the highest score at 82%, closely followed by cleanliness of DATS vehicles at 78% and on-board comfort at 71%.

ETS and DATS plan to launch another survey later in 2021 to track progress in these areas of improvement, and to gather additional information from our customers.