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Remarks from TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond at the 2019 Annual General Meeting

June 19, 2019

“I want to thank Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the City of Richmond for welcoming us today. It’s nice to see such a great turnout.

I want to give a special shout out to ELMTOTs. For those of you who don’t know, the ELMTOTS are the Expo Line Memes for TransLink Oriented Teens. A group Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink Bowinn Ma is quite familiar with as one of their active members. It’s so important to have a group of dedicated enthusiasts who champion our transit system and recognize the critical role we play in our region.

I’d also like to recognize some of our frontline employees here with us today: (Kevin Desmond introduces employees).

You may have noticed that our employees all over the system have been wearing the “T” symbol. I’m wearing a “T” pin today. We see the “T” at our stations and bus stops all over the region, but the “T” stands for more than just a place to catch the bus or train.

Every day, up to half a million customers depend on us, all ages, from all parts of the region and all walks of life, to get to where they need to be – to get to work, to school, to their appointments… And back home again. It’s an awesome responsibility. One that fills us with pride and inspires us to put our customers first.

When it all comes together, the “T” becomes a symbol of our commitment. In fact, it is the central unifying principle of our organization and the customer. Reminding us all every single day of who we serve, together.

“Together all the way” is our shared customer story, inspiring our new customer promise: To always put you first. Your safety, your time, and your connection to the people and places that matter most.

Not only is this our promise but also our call to action.

Last year, we worked to build a comprehensive multi-year action plan on how to improve the customer journey. Today, we are publicly introducing our first ever Customer Experience Action Plan that outlines commitments to enhance the customer journey.

We recognize that every single moment that our customers interact with us is an opportunity to improve their experience. Everything that happens from the moment you plan a trip, to boarding a vehicle, to arriving at your destination, to the updates you receive through the course of the day about what is going on in the system. Every one of those moments is an opportunity to improve the customer experience.

We expect to achieve that through three key pillars:

  1. Delivering safe, reliable and convenient services;
  2. Providing customers and employees with information that is accurate, timely and accessible;
  3. And promoting a customer-centric culture that puts the customer at the heart of every decision we make.

Behind me, you will see a roadmap of projects and initiatives that we are committed to undertake. There are 62 action items. We believe each and every one of them will improve the customer experience. Sixteen of them have already been implemented and we’ve got lots more ahead:

  • We’re upgrading SkyTrain stations, SeaBus terminals and bus loops with improved amenities including shelters, better lighting and more seating.
  • We’re using artificial intelligence to be able to bring you more accurate bus predictions which means less time waiting outside in the elements or wondering when your bus is coming.
  • We’re delivering information that is real-time all-the-time everywhere including a new customer-friendly mobile website that will be launched later this year.
  • We’re expanding our bus services by 18% by 2021, putting more buses on the road- which means more buses, more often.
  • We’re adding trains to our Expo, Millennium & Canada Lines this year and next to relieve overcrowding.

And we will not forget about our people. Our frontline employees are the backbone of our organization. Without their hard work and dedication, we would not be able to deliver our services. A group of people 7,800 strong who work tirelessly 24/7 to get 500,000 people around the region every single day.

We don’t just want to take you from point A to point B. We want to provide you with an exceptional experience and to do this, we need to better listen to our customers.

That’s why today, I’m announcing the creation of a Customer Advisory Panel. Customers will provide us direct feedback on key projects and initiatives. They will tell us how we are doing at every step of that customer touchpoint. Are they getting the right information at the right time? Are we doing enough to improve the in-person experience? Are we moving fast enough to respond to their needs?

Together, our customer experience advisory panel and action plan comes at a time of enormous growth and expansion. We are committed to creating an environment that we will attract and retain more riders, more customers. And yes, that will put more pressure on the system. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to make transit the preferred choice for our customers.

Our forward planning does not stop here.

We want to make sure that we are prepared for how we will travel around the region over the next several decades. That’s why we just kicked off the largest engagement in TransLink history: Transport 2050. Through Transport 2050, we want to hear from everyone in the region. Whether you take transit, use a car, ride your bike, or walk –we want to hear what matters to you about how you want to move and live.

We are looking for your biggest and boldest ideas.

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