February 2, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

"Secret agents" got back to work

Hundreds of “secret visits” to ΟΑΣΘ buses were made over the course of several days to assess the quality of the services offered.

The method of “secret” visits was used by the Thessaloniki Transport Design Organization (ΟΑΣΘ) to assess the conditions prevailing in city buses. In a survey conducted by ΟΑΣΘ in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and a major research company in October 2022, it was found that the image of public transport in Thessaloniki has improved recently.

There were “secret” passengers on city buses, i.e. “agents” (not controllers) who simply sit in vehicles and trains, observing what is happening inside them and noting anything that needs to be changed in relation to the services provided so that the transport system can be improved further. This measure is especially widespread abroad and applied also to public transport in Athens.

In particular, over the course of several days, 330 secret visits were made to 33 selected bus routes of both ΟΑΣΘ and private transport lessors (a partnership of four ΚΤΕΛ), of which 9 routes “go” to the east, 5 to the center and 19 to the west. The study is aimed at assessing the qualitative characteristics of public transport by examining 10 indicators of the state of the system Δ.Σ. A total of 10 evaluations were made for each line, and percentage scores were given for each quality indicator.

The “work” of the “undercover” passengers was to determine whether and how good the overall picture of personnel performance, driving conditions and safety was.

Index health protection was rated relatively low for drivers and higher for passengers.in. The condition of vehicles traveling westbound is much better than those traveling eastbound. In the center, the salons are overcrowded, sanitary conditions are not observed. Passenger information posted inside the vehicle seemed to present some problems, as the digital display did not work in many cases and the announcement of stops was limited to an audio message.

“The results of the survey were initially encouraging, and the overall (aggregate) score of the system was calculated to just below 90%, which satisfies us, but gives us a ‘push’ to continue,” said Yannis Toskas, CEO of ΟΑΣΘ, noting that “any shortcomings identified in health indicators and issues, overcrowding and vehicle information should be corrected in cooperation with service providers.

“Tracking the quality of transport services provided to the population will be carried out regularly, and the identified shortcomings will be eliminated in time. Since the information provided by the “secret agents” is a very valuable material both for the organization and management of routes, and for the continuous improvement of services for passengers, residents and guests of Thessaloniki.

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