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Behind the scenes with MBTA data.

Every month, we send out a survey to MBTA riders (you can sign up here!) and use the results to produce the Customer Satisfaction metrics that we publish on our dashboard. The four metrics (overall satisfaction, satisfaction with a rider’s most recent trip, satisfaction with the reliability of the MBTA, and satisfaction with the MBTA’s communication) are normally reported for respondents who had taken a trip on the MBTA within the past week. We exclude respondents who had not taken a trip within a week of completing the survey. 

This methodology allows us to ensure that survey responses are current and relevant and that the panel is representative of usual frequent riders; we have used other methodologies like in-person Intercept Surveys to target infrequent riders and visitors. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, however, many of our usual frequent riders have stopped taking the MBTA. As a result, until service and ridership have begun to return to normal, we will be reporting customer satisfaction in the following ways:

  • Satisfaction with a rider’s most recent trip will be reported only for respondents who have taken a trip within the past week
  • Overall satisfaction, satisfaction with reliability, and satisfaction with communication will be reported for all respondents

For trip ratings, we wanted to make sure that the metric reflected trips that were recent enough for the respondent to remember their trip well. In addition, as social distancing measures continue, many respondents will not have taken the MBTA for over a month, and their most recent trip will continue to be one from early March. For example, their April and March trip scores will be reflecting service from the same actual experience, making it impossible to measure changes in this metric on a month-to-month basis for these respondents who are not currently riding the MBTA.

However, we will report the other metrics for all respondents to the survey so that results for these questions can be comparable over time. The riders who are continuing to use our service are not a representative subset of all of our usual riders, and they do not respond to surveys in the same way. When possible, we want to continue to report customer satisfaction results from a group of respondents whose makeup is relatively stable over time to better track trends in customer satisfaction. Additionally, we understand that residents of the area still have opinions about the MBTA, how it is communicating, and the service it is providing, whether or not they have recently taking a trip on public transit. We want to continue to hear from all of our riders, regardless of if and how they are currently traveling, and our customer satisfaction reporting mirrors this interest.