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Riders Give MAX Transit High Scores in Annual Survey | News

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Riders Give MAX Transit High Scores in Annual Survey
News, Transportation
Riders Give MAX Transit High Scores in Annual Survey

One hundred percent of Reserve-A-MAX passengers and 97 percent of fixed route riders say they would recommend using the Macatawa Area Express (MAX), and more than half think service has improved in the past year, according to results from the system’s annual passenger survey.
MAX conducted its annual survey of passengers using the fixed route and reserved ride service Sept. 17-22.  The survey findings were presented to the MAX Transportation Authority Board at its regular monthly meeting on Monday (Oct. 22) by Larry Strange of MP2 Planning of Muncie, Ind., the market research firm hired to administer the survey and tabulate and analyze results.  This year’s survey also was available on MAX’s website to reach those who didn’t ride the bus during the survey period.  
Overall customer satisfaction ranked “excellent/good” by 95 percent of fixed route riders and 97 percent of Reserve-A-MAX passengers.   The overall phone reservation experience also was rated as “excellent/good” by 96 percent of customers.
Three notable demographic trends emerged from the survey, including increases in new passengers riding MAX, higher income passengers, and youthful riders up to age 29.  More than one-third (35.2%) said they have been riding the MAX for a year or less.  Twelve percent reported annual household incomes over $31,000, a 4.1 percent increase over last year, which may indicate more “choice” riders are using transit.   Third, youth and young adults age 5-29 comprised 31.8 percent of all fixed route passengers, an increase of eight percent over last year.
This year’s survey also polled passengers about their use of technology and bikes on the transit system.  The majority of fixed route riders (80.6%) have cell phones, with nearly half (48.9%) having text messaging service.  About 20 percent of passengers reported using their bike to reach the bus stop or their destination and, of those, 86 percent take it with them on the bus with the remainder leaving and locking it.  As a result of the sharp increase in passengers who bike and ride, MAX installed three slot bike racks on some of its buses to replace the two-slot styles.
Separate surveys, available in English and Spanish, were conducted for the fixed routes and reserve ride service.  Each contained about 20 questions concerning passengers’ riding habits, reasons for using transit, use/access to technology, bus ride experience, satisfaction levels, perceived improvements in service, use of bikes on the bus, and passenger demographics as required by the Federal Transit Administration.   
The public can access the 2012 Passenger Survey Report by visiting MAX’s website www.catchamax.org.     

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