Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 8, 2007 OCTA Board of Directors Meeting

Shirley Cero and I attended today’s OCTA Board of Directors Meeting. It was wrought with some bad vibes. Some of the Directors seemed to present a rather defeatist attitude with respect to Access’s ongoing customer satisfaction and poor performance statistics. It seemed to me that there was an underlying negative attitude toward the ACCESS customer base. Some of the Directors and OCTA staff seemed willing to accept the poor performance and excessive complaints as the norm when dealing with the ACCESS customer base. There were some vague references to, “Throwing money at the problem”, “Those people” and persons with developmental disabilities.

Looking around the room I noted an abundance of officials from a number of cities in the county, media and Orange County officials. Looked like a good opportunity to advocate so….Surprise, surprise… I couldn’t keep my damned mouth shut.

I rose to put a face on the customer, to tell them how important ACCESS is to its customers, that the customer wants them to succeed, to express my belief that the service level could attain a 94% on-time standard. That if “Brown” could make a nation-wide effort to eliminate left turns then OCTA could find a way to better their operational model. That some real-time, root cause analysis and monitoring of the current situation IN THE FIELD would help. And, I offered our help if the OCTA needed it. At least I was able to make a sincere and compassionate statement of our peer’s needs and I don’t think I came across as a person with developmental disability. I also praised Violia and OCTA staff, though not by name, for meeting with us to further our understanding of the current situation.

Hey, at least the LA Times reporter in the room listened and took good notes!

Violia management, including Eric Zandhaus and the General Manager, as well as the OCTA’s Erin Rogers approached me after the meeting to express their gratitude for the willingness to express my opinion during the meeting.

But I am somewhat bothered by the Board’s feeling that it can’t win this one. While I might not agree with all they do-- at least they do. Somehow that seems better than having them stick their collective heads in the sand.

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