Service delivery by bus

It is always a treat to be proved wrong and to have your preconceptions challenged. I had a common problem earlier this week and the company resolved it in a very commendable manner. All it takes is one employee going a little out of their way, sometimes breaching policy, to make a customer forget the inconvenience that required attention in the first place.

I am afraid that as a user experience consultant I often have to discover fault with sites or services, and from that, recommend improvements. That discovery phase occurred yesterday morning when my bus ticket got stuck in the machine that validates fares on the bus. No amount of repeated thumps on my part or presses on the eject button by the driver managed to dislodge the reluctant ticket.

the green ticket machine in a Sydney Bus

Apparently, the only way to reboot the machine is to reboot the bus itself, something he tried several times while waiting at a traffic light, with no luck. When I asked why he did not have a key to the machine, in order to dislodge stuck tickets, he good naturedly replied, “Good question, Mate!”

He asked for my mobile number to contact me later as he might have a chance to dislodge the ticket at Central Station. I handed him my business card, since that was easier than writing my number on the back of a receipt on a moving bus. I tweeted about it, received a few comments from followers, and thought no more about it as I settled into my latest report.

I assumed I would never see that ticket again, or, at best, would receive it in the post several months later.

Imagine my surprise when a fluoro-vested dude showed up at the office asking for me by name. Handing me my travel card not two hours after the machine ate it, he politely, and very diplomatically, offered advice on how to avoid it getting stuck again in future.


I would therefore like to thank both the bus driver and the representative who hand-delivered the ticket for supplying a great service to me. It really was jaw-droppingly wonderful to have that level of service, even if I do work close to the Central Station depot, they didn’t need to hand deliver it.

Many thanks Sydney Busses for hiring such great people! I’m not sure if this was policy (doubt it) as much as it was sheer enthusiasm (most likely) by the driver and supervisor (?) who went out of their way to deliver a great service.

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