At its April 19th meeting, the MNRCC heard presentations from Jeffrey Olwell, MNR Manager – Market Research, and Randall Fleischer, MNR Senior Director, Business Development, Facilities, and Marketing.
Jeff Olwell described the customer satisfaction surveys that he does to get find out how MNR riders feel about certain topics and about things in their commute that are bothering them. Most recently, riders’ scores for lavatories have been going down so he is conducting focus groups in May to discuss M-7, GCT and Hoboken bathroom facilities.
MNR passenger surveys are conducted in conjunction with the LIRR, usually in June. However, MNR can insert its own questions on its survey. The 2012 survey questions are still being determined. Most recently MNR has conducted special surveys on the preference for Quiet Cars: first to monitor the reaction to the pilot program; and now, to see if two Quiet Cars on a train are needed as current Quiet Cars are often crowded. When asked about the use of the internet for surveys, Olwell noted that the first online survey was just done in conjunction with MTA. The topic was use of technology, apps and smart phones, for transportation needs. There were 900 respondents for this 20-minute survey. The results are still being compiled. Also coming is a report based on a Train Time survey that was smart phone oriented. Olwell concluded by announcing that in anticipation of a joint M-9 purchase, the MNR and LIRR market research departments will be looking to have riders talk about what they like and dislike about the M-7s and M-8s.
In the second part of the meeting, Randy Fleischer made a presentation on the plans for the 2013 Grand Central Terminal Centennial celebration. During the year-long event there are designs for 25 events and exhibitions with city-wide and international engagement. The GCT entrance at 89 East 42nd Street (under the bridge) will be revitalized as a “Legacy Project”. A permanent restaurant/cafe is being incorporated into part of Vanderbilt Hall. The kick-off to the festivities will take place February 1, 2013 with a historical exhibition and rededication ceremony at the Transit Museum. The US Postal Service has approved the creation of a commemorative GCT stamp and one month will feature a parade of historic trains that will be on view. Soliciting private money from sponsors and non-profit fund raising have kicked into high gear and the Centennial Committee, chaired by current MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and past MTA Chairman Peter Stangl, will have its first meeting May 9th. The logo (above) for the Centennial was unveiled in late March. The MNRCC was asked by Mr. Fleischer to propose a role for itself in the celebration and members will be considering options in the coming months. For more information click here.