Starting in July 2017, customer service inquiries to the MBTA are being answered not by MBTA employees, but by employees of a for-profit Salisbury, North Carolina corporation that was fined $100,000 by the MBTA in May 2017 for “a series of contract violations.”
In making the decision, former MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve (who has since stepped down) cited the company’s well-organized transition plan, low bid amount, use of technology, and well-qualified management as the primary reasons behind the decision to contract with Global Contact Services (GCS) for handling calls and emails to the MBTA’s Customer Communication Center.
Some inquiries require special handling, such as those made using languages other than English or coming from people with cognitive, visual, or other impairments. These inquiries will all need to be handled effectively by the new contractor. The three-year initial contract identifies a number of performance targets to be measured over time, as well as plans to expand current call center hours on weekdays and to make agents available on weekends.
However, Marilyn MacNab, a regular user of both the standard MBTA and their paratransit service The RIDE, is concerned about this controversial decision. “This is the company that has created the nightmare for The RIDE–the business which has been fined $100,000,” she remarked. “The reliable service [TRIPPS has often] referred to may no longer be reliable. We will all see.”
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