December 8, 2016, 12:00PM (ET)

Dealing with Difficult Customer Situations in Public Transit

Public transportation agencies have always had challenges when dealing with difficult customer situations. The vast and overwhelming majority of passengers utilize the transit system for normal reasons of satisfying mobility needs to get to and from destinations that are important to them.  Most people simply want a safe, clean, reliable, and uneventful ride. In every population, however, there seems to be a small subset of people who have less respect for social norms and expectations, or might have other personal challenges of a temporary or more permanent nature that cause them to be either uncivil or dangerous to other customers and transit personnel when using public transportation. Their actions range from being argumentative, uncooperative, disruptive, or threatening, or assaulting a transit agency staff member or other passengers.  Beyond the basic goal of providing safe mobility for their customers, transit agencies acknowledge that difficult customer situations can discourage people, especially those with ample mobility choices, from using public transportation. This webinar is based on findings from a soon-to-be-published Transit Cooperative Research synthesis report that identifies the many ways that transit agencies prevent, prepare for, and deal with incidents involving difficult customer situations. The primary source of information contained in this report was obtained through a survey completed by 41 transit agencies of various sizes from 20 states in addition to a literature search that gathered pertinent information on difficult customer situations from scholarly papers and articles written in various news media and industry journals. The webinar will describe the various ways that transit agencies prevent, prepare for, and deal with incidents involving difficult passenger situations. Read the report | Download Handout

Presenter: Joel Volinski, Director of the National Center for Transit Research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research

Joel Volinski is the Director of the National Center for Transit Research at the University of South Florida, a Tier I UTC since 1991.  He has authored numerous reports that focus on improving the performance of transit systems and making them greater community assets.  He has made over 100 presentations at state and national conferences.  From 1983 to 1993 Mr. Volinski was the Director of Broward County Transit which led the nation in increases in ridership and productivity for six years.  He is the longest serving member in the history of the Board of Directors of the Florida Public Transportation Association.  He earned his BA from the State University of New York at Albany and his Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Urban Planning.  Joel is a member of numerous TRB and APTA committees, an Ambassador Emeritus for the Transit Cooperative Research Program, Editor of the Journal of Public Transportation, and immediate Past-President of the Council of University Transportation Centers.


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  1. Great Webcast!

  2. hey i really want to join the webcast but it is during my finals time,will the video be available afterward?

    • Hi Nick,
      Thank you for your interest in this CUTR Webcast. The webinar recording will be available early next week for viewing.

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