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In the last few weeks, we have been inviting our members and wider network to share examples of great and inspiring customer service against the odds. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has submitted a collection of inspiring stories showcasing these examples of really going above and beyond or of service being delivered differently.

Should you wish to submit your inspiring story, please fill in this form here.

Local Link Re-Proposition

“TfGM were contacted by the Manchester Foundation Trust in relation to moving key workers between hospitals, and longer term some supplies. Immediately TfGM wanted to help its key workers considering the Covid19 situation and a solution was found whereby TfGM would permit trips to be booked through TfGM’s contact centre and make use of Local Link vehicles under a special NHS code.

Two accounts were set up for the NHS staff to use. The staff were permitted to travel anywhere within GM free of charge. The Contact Centre were more than happy to take the calls and book the staff onto the Local Link vehicles.

The provision of this service has enabled key medical staff to get quickly between GM hospitals to provide the vital support required to cover in the current Covid19 pandemic. Also, the Contact Centre felt satisfaction and motivated that they had helped a good cause during the pandemic situation.”

– Angela Dobbin, Transport for Greater Manchester


Refund Offer for Metrolink Customers

“TfGM has been doing everything to help their customers during the coronavirus outbreak and from 19th March 2020 setup a process for refunding Metrolink tickets that customers have been unable to use since the lockdown restrictions were placed. This offer was extended to Metrolink annual tickets and Metrolink or System One/ get me there 28-day travelcards. A dedicated process was setup within days and communicated out to customers. This required working collectively with various teams within the organisation to ensure that the process was setup properly and worked effectively.

Officers from two different teams were trained together on the new process to handle the refunds. Within the first day TfGM received 900 refund requests which were processed in record time. There were some refunds that couldn’t be given straightaway due it requiring a cheque. A new payment portal was setup within this timeframe to allow customers to still receive their refunds into their bank accounts. To date TfGM has processed over 4000 refund requests and now have a handful left to progress. This is a great achievement from all parties involved – in particular the dedication from staff to process the refunds as quickly as possible.

In normal circumstances, refunds on 28 day products were not available and this offer was positively received by customers who supported the move.

“Thank you team for all the hard work you’ve put into the refunds. Customer service has been fantastic and I was impressed by how regularly you were informing me particularly in this difficult time.” “

– Kamrun Nehar, Transport for Greater Manchester


Delivering Covid-19 Public Transport Information

“Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) Central Data Maintenance (CDM) team’s main responsibility is the production of timetable and route data to be used both physically and digitally.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent reduction in passenger numbers, the majority of bus and light rail operators within Greater Manchester started to make large scale amendments to their services. However, it was essential that these adjustments still maintained transport links for key workers.

To ensure that the customer was aware of operator timetable changes, the team shifted their normal work practice to focus on the premise of a digital first approach. This ensured that TfGM could deliver the public transport information to customers that were still reliant on public transport.

The sheer scale of timetable changes that were made by the 35 operators in Greater Manchester presented significant challenges. The CDM team’s workload increased thirteen-fold and as a result, all the team committed to working additional hours to ensure the changes were made available online as quickly as possible. As the weeks progressed, additional help was brought into assist with the significant increase in the amount of work. Production of datasets increased from once a week to six times a week.

Close working relationships were quickly established with:

– Multiple journey planner providers
– National data providers
– Internal TfGM departments like Bus Services
– Bus operators

The team ensured that all stakeholders were kept up to date with which changes were included in each of the datasets produced. As such the customer had the relevant travel information provided digitally within the shortest possible turn around so they could make an informed choice about their travel options.”

– John McCabe , Transport for Greater Manchester


Autorenewals for Concessionary Passes

“When our head office went into lockdown and the contact centre had to work from home, it quickly became apparent that we had the challenge of how we could renew customers concessionary passes that were expiring in the coming months. These passes are for people with various disabilities, and we quickly recognised that it was essential in the current climate that we made sure people who fell into this category, were able to get out and make any essential journeys. The usual process for this is to send renewal documents out, which is essentially a request for them to reapply for their pass to be extended. The applicants will then complete these are send them back into our Head Office to be assessed. Due to the government lockdown we realised that this wasn’t possible; and most of this group see this pass as vital element to their day to day living and independence. We decided that until further notice we would auto renew existing pass holders for a further 12 months, and this was done without asking for any application to be made. The overriding result of this decision is that it allows people in these vulnerable disability groups to continue to be able to make essential journeys for things like shopping, medication and to attend any important appointments without negatively impacting them financially and placing any additional burden on other authorities.”

– Angela Dobbin, Transport for Greater Manchester


Should you wish to submit your inspiring story, please fill in this form here.

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