CTA President Forrest Claypool wants his top managers and their departments to work together to create more operating efficiencies. He’s also demanding new ideas “so we’re not doing things based on old ways.”
These were two common themes from Claypool in an exclusive interview with CTA Tattler earlier this month. This is the first in a series of posts recapping Claypool’s thoughts on the future for the CTA.
He was very adamant on using best practices to improve the customer experience as well as CTA efficiencies, looking to break down agency silos in the process.
“We need to take best practice where we can find them, whether in the private sector or public sector,” Claypool said. “I want my top notch managers to apply those best practices throughout the system –we need to be the best we can be and apply that across the agency. There are a lot of individual people working in silos here – they all need to be brought together to create an overall strategy.”
As an example, he noted there are CTA workers who do station cleanings, repairs, or camera installation – “but they might do those jobs three months apart. We need to integrate efforts across silos. We need to marshal our forces together to have big impact on system. Integrating all these efforts is part of my cohesive, comprehensive strategy on efforts.”
Improving “customer experience is key”
I asked Claypool about the five key attributes listed on my Chicago Card Plus – safety, cleanliness, on-time performance, courtesy, and efficiency.
“I’m very focused on the customer experience. Some thing are harder to control, like coming up with $5 billion for the Red Line. But some things I can control, such as security. Security is first and foremost. We’re beefing up train security. Cameras are a critical part of that. We must have enough at each station.
“On cleanliness, we will combine forces and strategies across disciplines and have SWAT teams hit stations and do things all at once.
“Customer experience is key. We need to put our resources, efforts and managerial focus to employ technology to make customer experience more convenient. For instance, riders want to know when the train and bus will arrive without guessing.
Claypool said he wants managers “to look at operating efficiencies with a blank sheet of paper — completely re-examine how we do things. That will be a real focus for next two years as we execute changes.
“We must have best practices applied to most efficient part of management, so we’re not doing things based on old ways. We’re at the point where we need to focus on new ways of doing things.”
Part two: Rail slow zones, passenger communication