Not So Super Shuttle

I traveled to Tampa this week for a meeting. Not being in a rush, I opted for the Super Shuttle to bring me from the airport to my hotel. I have used them several times in the past, with mixed results, mostly positive. It is a viable alternative to taxis, if you have the time…and patience.

On the surface, they seem to have a decent system in place for allocating riders and managing routes. Everything goes through a central dispatch, with boarding codes sent directly to the driver’s cell phone, so he knows whom to pick up where. In reality, it appears to be a slightly different story.

Our driver was kind, dedicated to making sure he had the right people going to the right places and honest about what was happening. There was confusion about one of his passengers, because someone had keyed the information incorrectly. We had picked her up, dropped her off at the original spot for another van and then picked her back up again.

On top of that, he didn’t understand why the dispatcher gave him the route he had, since it didn’t seem to have logic to it. And finally, one of the riders mentioned that he had waited 45 minutes, when he was told it should only be 20 (the employee at the stop that he asked about the time said 20 minutes was just an average).

Our driver, in all his honesty said to us, “And they wonder why they are losing customers.”

Chalk the discontent up to human error and a lack of communication. And how many other organizations face the same problems day-in and day-out? I would venture to say most, if not all. Successful organizations find ways to overcome their weaknesses, not simply try to improve upon them. If it’s a weakness, it’s a weakness. Compensate for it with a strength. Overcome it by innovating your way past it.

But no matter what you do, find a simple, straightforward way to improve communication. That will solve much of your problems.

I like the fact that the driver was so honest with us. It’s unfortunate that it was about his company’s failings. Or at least as he perceived them. I wonder if anyone at Super Shuttle is listening.

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