Spark (formerly Telecom) wants to spread the word about their free 1GB of mobile data, available for their customers and Hop card users at hotspots around town and at Train Stations, our Ambassadors were perfect for the job.
Out on the field the Ambassadors go, letting customers know about this great offer. For some it means they can spend time catching up on their favourite TV show on their phone while waiting for their train, without chewing up all of their own data!
Firstly I caught up with our Michelle Guillard at the Henderson Train Station, she has been part of the Peoplemax team since the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and has enjoyed the variety and flexibility of the work since.
“I enjoy meeting different people, tourists – helping them out. I’m also a Public Transport user myself.”
Which means Michelle is ready to fire off any info or assistance to customers when needed- Initially when I approached her, she was assisting a customer on the ticketing machine.
It’s always handy to have knowledge of these things with this work and Michelle knows her stuff.
Over at New Lynn Station, I have the pleasure of meeting Dave Rivere, another Ambassador who has been on the team for three years. Dave is also promoting the Spark Wi-Fi offer and says customers are really enjoying the option to use it, rather than their own data.
This kind of work, works really well for Dave who is currently studying Health Science at the University of Auckland.
When he gets time off he enjoys Sports and lives up to his Rock star name by playing the guitar.
Dave seems comfortable and confident with his work and from what I saw he was a doing a very thorough job with his distribution of fliers.
The variety of the work and clients PeopleMax has will continue to grow and the Ambassadors are very capable and adaptable to new projects. We look forward to working with Spark more in the future.
Changes are being made to North Star bus timetables as of 12th October in order that the times represent a service that best suits the traffic flow and thus a more reliable service. PeopleMax Ambassadors were riding North Star buses in the early morning to introduce passengers to this impending change to their timetable. Ambassadors were also positioned at Smales Farm bus station and at North Shore Hospital, armed with timetables specific to their stops. These new times simply reflect what is occurring on the road at the peak times and journey planners will reflect these changes. Generally, the change is only a matter of five minutes one way or the other, but five minutes, after rushing your tea and toast in the morning may make all the difference.
Opus has once again recruited our services while they are reviewing a current Corridor Management Plan, which focuses on Town Centre’s that may need attention with traffic and pedestrian efficiency.
Our team is back on the field and this time, in Papatoetoe. The Ambassador’s have been allocated different surveying tasks- Pedestrian/Cycling counts, parking lot vehicles and side street/main street parking.
Today I went to catch up with some of the Ambassadors working on this project see to what they were up to. You couldn’t have asked for better weather today and it’s the kind of day you definitely want to be working outside!
First up, I caught our lovely, Marina Jackson, who thrives off this work and has an eye for detail. As I approach her she is in full motion and rapidly filling out her survey form, which she refreshes every 15 minutes. She’s doing a good chunk of Great South Road, so you have to be quick on this job!
Marina herself, immigrating to New Zealand from Belgorod, Russia, 8 years ago. She loves it here and absolutely enjoys the work and flexibility Peoplemax has to offer.
From what I have observed, Marina is a friendly, personal and trustworthy Ambassador who works very well in the public.
Around the corner is our bubbly, Karly Semu, who has worked for Peoplemax for quite some now. I’ve caught her in the middle of a conversation with a customer who is voicing a parking concern. She is dealing with it well and seems to have a very placid nature with customers.
I introduce myself to Karly and she explains that the situation could have gone bad with this particular customer – had she not dealt with her in the understanding way that she had. A vital skill to have in this job!
Like Marina and most of our Ambassadors, Karly enjoys customer interaction and talking to people. She is very honest and approachable.
Working on these projects she has gained the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to follow through the work with a smile.
Across the block, I’ve found Norma Dellossa. Originally from the Philippines, Norma is another member of our diverse and multi-cultural team.
“I’ve learned a lot from the work and enjoy the challenge” say’s Norma, who has worked for PeopleMax since last year. Like the others, she enjoys the flexibility the work offers and meeting different people.
Outside of work, Norma loves to cook and is an avid gardener.
Lastly on my journey today, I meet Vinesh Kadari – who is back at Karly’s spot with the Opus supervisor, Megan.
He is about to be briefed on the work, which he will take over from Karly. Vinesh is a recent player to the PeopleMax team, he joined us 4 months ago, and has slotted in nicely.
“I enjoy communicating with people and helping” says Vinesh and says that this kind of work had developed his confidence in this area.
Vinesh is originally from Hyderabad, South India. When he has time off, he enjoys music and keeping himself updated on the latest technology.
The team worked on this project over two days and provided vital information to Opus that will help them to improve the current traffic and parking situation in this area. From the information gathered, they will be able to make improvements, which will create better safety and efficiency for pedestrians, cyclist and private vehicles.
Delivering the idea of change and improvement to Public Transport for Pukekohe and Waiuku residents has been met with huge enthusiasm from frequent users. Our Ambassadors are privileged to be at this point of contact.
Pukekohe and Waiuku will see a whole new bus network unravel by mid 2016 and Auckland Transport are currently hosting consultation days for these proposed plans: to hear from the public themselves what they would like to see changed and improved. The area is growing rapidly and a public-transport system revamp is much-needed.
Our enthusiastic PeopleMax Ambassadors were sent down this week to consult with customers face to face to hear what they would like to see improved and inviting them to fill out feedback forms to get their voices out there. On top of that, the ambassadors advertised the consultation days, which begin October 27th, encouraging those with passionate ideas to attend these events and have their say.
I met up with some of the Ambassadors to find out a little about them and what they were enjoying about the project and the work with PeopleMax in general.
The bright, young ‘Energizer Bunny’ that is Summer Liu was one such Ambassador. Summer moved to New Zealand two years ago from Guangzhou, China and is currently studying Sales & Marketing at M.I.T.
Summer loves that this work allows her to be the point of contact for information to the public.“I enjoy talking to people and being the bridge from people to Auckland Transport, a key communicator”
This is something Summer is passionate about and she is paving her way to a successful career in working with people.
On this project, Summer has received a slew of feedback about what the public would like to see change and turned in a whole box of feedback forms- 180 in total.
Later, I was able to follow the calm and introspective Johnny Bembo on his bus ride around Pukekohe where his task was to engage with travellers on board and have discussion with them about the proposed plans.
Johnny has an array of skills under his belt. He studied Arts Management at AUT, as well as Sports and Leisure and Primary Teaching. As if this wasn’t enough, Johnny is a qualified Gymnastic Coach.
He’s been with PeopleMax since 2011 and he says that these jobs work for him really well. Johnny says “ I enjoy making a difference, meeting different people from different background with different needs”. He has become very familiar with Auckland Transport and how the whole system works. He also says that this work has developed him to be a quick learner, a must for this position.
After my trip with Johnny, I caught the glowing and ‘onto it’ Elaine Thompson who is PeopleMax’s resident Field Manager.
Elaine is just the type of person that this team needs to manage the show. Her enthusiasm and vibrant energy makes being around her inspiring. “ I love the variety of intensity in the projects and using my communication skills,” says Elaine. She says the position has allowed her to challenge herself in testing situations and she has built huge strength in that area.
Her passion is presenting, whether it’s on TV, on the web or in public: she does it all day and she’s a natural. In the past she has been the face for Lumino Dentists and now currently lends herself on the Good Morning show with Suzanne Paul, demonstrating Thin Lizzy Makeup products. She maintains balance in her life through Yoga and healing. She is a Reiki Master, Atua Practitioner and Deeksha Blessing Giver.
But don’t let this fool you. Elaine is a no nonsense woman and expects the best from her team and really encourages thorough work and full engagement with the public.
From working on the project Elaine can see the huge demand for change in these areas and is very pleased to be a part of the well-needed change.
The last stop on my trip was a meeting with David Austin, a long time Ambassador with both PeopleMax and its sister company, Action Actors. David has been in the creative industry for quite some time now, with an infamous intersection commercial and a Spartacus role to his name.
He also works at Spookers Haunted Attraction Park in Kingseat. David told me that once he was approached by a customer at Spookers, who had recognized him from his character in Spartacus and was asked for an autograph. The perks of being a superstar I guess!
David is a respectful and genuine person who listens to his customers and has a vast breadth of knowledge about the transport system and is quick to answer any and all questions that come his way.
“The job has allowed me to learn a lot of new skills” says David, who enjoys the variety of work he is offered, which is often challenging but never the same week-to-week. PeopleMax allows him to be flexible so he can work on his creative endeavours at the same time.
In total our Ambassadors distributed 1500 feedback forms for the new network to the public over the two days of this project. They had a huge response and a lot of feedback for Auckland Transport.
Recently PeopleMax Ambassadors were out undertaking a two-week Opus customer satisfaction survey on behalf of Auckland Transport, both on trains and buses. Trains were covered in the first week and in the second week a cross section of bus routes were canvased. There were a broad range of questions to answer such as—are there generally enough seats, cleanliness inside the bus, staff friendliness and even opinions on the level of pollution, which is a heartening question to see in a survey.
Passenger were reasonably willing to fill in the survey, if they had the time between getting on and their destination; and of course the carrot of the possibility of winning an iPod Touch or 1 of 5 $50 Westfield Gift Cards helped. The Ambassador’s polite charm certainly helped too. Passengers were more willing to give their feedback, when on one occasion the Bus was late and they wanted to express their views.
Andrew, one of the PeopleMax Ambassadors conducting the survey, reported that he had no problem receiving a willingness to undertake the survey on route 154 Go West. In the middle of a sunny weekday the going was steady and easy. Closer to rush hour it was a different story, but with one clear, general explanation to the crowded bus, Andrew was able to engage the passengers interest and hand out several surveys in one go.
The Ambassadors will be repeating the surveys on a quarterly basis to ensure that the public can continue to give their feedback to Aucklands’ rapidly growing and changing transport network.
Now its time to board the new electric trains as they take to the Manukau line. Certainly, smarter, better and quieter. Two Ambassadors, Marina and Jimmy, helping with the launch, were already receiving comments on how much more comfortable the travel experience was, to the extent that some passengers are even opting to wait for an electric train in preference to the older trains. Effort has certainly been put into the design to make the journey as smooth and efficient as possible. Even the positions of those in charge of the train have been been renamed, what was once the Train Driver has now been elevated to Locomotive Engineer and what was once the Guard is now the Train Manager to reflect more accurately today’s job description.
Ambassadors were on hand to assist the unfamiliar to open and close the doors, as they are not fully automatic. It requires passengers to press the green button, when it is lit, in order for the doors to open. The PeopleMax Ambassadors are riding the trains and are coaching passengers in the subtleties of operation.
The Electric trains are gradually rolling out across the entire network and you can guarantee PeopleMax Ambassadors will be there too, providing a helping hand to the travelling public.
Perhaps the survey conducted some months back, in which PeopleMax Ambassadors were involved, has contributed to the latest changes for West Auckland buses; changes, which come into affect from Sunday 3rd August. Auckland Transport’s stated principle objective is to improve the reliability and the service. This includes major timetable changes, added frequency on some routes, some route and bus stop changes and some route number changes. For example the so-called ‘Flyer’ is no more, these buses will now be referred to as an ‘express’. Perhaps that adds an extra tone of efficiency and clarity. Auckland Transport continue to streamline Auckland’s transport system, it gets better and better as a result of their continued investment.
And PeopleMax Ambassadors, working on behalf of Auckland Transport in their usual fashion, bright and engaging, were distributing the brochures that provided all the details relevant to the particular areas. Ambassadors were stationed along the westward route, including New Lynn, Henderson and Titirangi, and closer to the centre ambassadors were found in Pt. Chev, Albert St and Mayoral Drive.
As PeopleMax Ambassadors they have a single objective allotted them, but individually of course each harbours their own personal aim. Daniel for example harbours the interest to study urban design. Auckland Council is making an effort to spruce up Auckland, as is Auckland Transport to their transport system, and it’s making a difference—we can never go short on good ‘design’. Rachael can be described as, simply charming. Being from a region of China generally a good deal hotter than Auckland, apparently our summers are a little too cool, but she loves the country just the same. She’s studying accounting at Auckland University. Ash is studying to be a teacher of those in their formative years. He has the warmth and personality for that for sure. (He’s not really a poser, that’s my fault.) And Jim H, a budding actor, we wish him well in that deeply challenging and venerable profession. For sure as this inventory of coolness testifies, as always, PeopleMax brings together a worthy bunch of people to be their Ambassadors.
PeopleMax Ambassadors were out aiding Auckland Transport again in their endeavour to provide a well-oiled transport system for Auckland. One crucial aspect of that effort depends of providing the best possible information to the public, in this case of the imminent changes to the train, bus and ferry fares. This change is scheduled to take place on the 6th July.
On that date most cash fares will be increasing. Such news is naturally a touchy subject for any traveller. So Auckland Transport, as much as possible, prefers to avoid your concern by engineering it such that, by using AT HOP, fares will either be staying the same or decreasing. In our heartfelt consumer society for prices to actually go down always comes as a rare and welcomed surprise. What is evident in the fare change and isn’t so surprising, is Auckland Transport’s desire to encourage greater dedication to their AT HOP card. What we can hope for is that the benefits of a slick card system, designed to bring greater efficiency and savings, will indeed trickle down. Whether the price of the AT HOP card with remain low in the near future, or even decrease further, given the savings of automation, we shall have to see.
PeopleMax Ambassadors were located in teams of three on several train stations, where it’s established there hasn’t been the strength of pick-up of AT HOP cards as in other areas. Armed with information on the fare changes and an EFTPOS machine, they were able to notify travellers of the proposed changes, provide brochures showing the new prices and at the same time encourage travellers to make on-the-spot purchases of a new AT HOP card—given the boasted benefits of savings. Saving 20% on travel from the 6th July sounds like an attractive proposition. The card costs $5, but you’ll make it back on a few trips. PeopleMax Ambassadors Karen, Kree-Ann and David were lending some brightness to some miserable weather at Henderson train station for example. Not just focused on travellers by train, other teams and individuals were doing similar work at key locations for bus travellers. John B, Alysha and Hilly were working at the main bus stops in Henderson.
In the central city at Britomart, you could find Ted and Nirmala. Ambassadors, invariably at ease in their role and encouraged to be polite and respectful at all times, usually have little trouble realizing their brief. Engaging with the public means they are also frequently hearing comments on customer experience, and it’s also part of that brief to report back to their field manager comments customers might make to them—they’re a finger on the pulse of Auckland Transport’s customers. This is an information-gathering role that is undoubtedly as valuable to Auckland Transport as the information the ambassadors are disseminating on their behalf. The comments may be problems people are having, or provide feedback on whether promotional material is reaching them. And importantly, are they happy with their experience on Auckland Transport? Nirlama, handing out the brochures at Britomart with the fare changes listed, appears to have found a couple of travellers that seem happy enough.
Auckland Transport wants to get a better understanding of On-Street parking in the Wynyard Quarter. So Peoplemax Ambassadors, Tamara and Johnny, have been sent out to do the rounds of the streets most used for parking, most of which are meter parking. They have been asked to conduct a survey, asking those parking their cars if they could spare a few minutes to answer some simple questions, questions to elicit a good understanding of who, why and how often and for what length of time, people were parked in the area. Questions to simply work out habits.
Even though there is a substantial amount of construction in the area and in these winter months those seeking the area for recreation is lower, there is still a high demand for parking serving those working in the various cafes, bars and offices. Added to which taxis servicing the area and construction workers are adding to those clambering for space. Certainly the Wynard Quarter is an up-and-coming area, both commercial and recreational, so getting the parking sorted out now has to be an advantage. In terms of conducting the survey that required a fair amount of legwork.
According to the ambassadors, most of those spoken to were willing to take a few moments out to answer the questions and were prepared to offer a few suggestions and considerations at the end of the discussion; duly noted down. As the ambassadors discovered, there were some old hands at the parking game, who had a good understanding of how best to negotiate their parking needs. And there were those who had a particularly difficult challenge to keep the costs of parking within reasonable bounds. The hospitality workers for example, had a tough call; they certainly had to know the ropes, often having to find parking for a 15-hour stretch. Taxis drivers also were finding it tough competing for a park, as even at this time of year demand was high. But then there were those who had sussed out ‘secret’ spots, as one does when one can. (Johnny has managed to cotton onto a secret spot or two and is keeping those tucked up his sleeve for the future.) And then the trams aren’t running at present, which also offers a window of opportunity not to be overlooked. …Incidentally, it seems that as yet not many people understand the colour system applied to parking meters. Meters can be allocated a yellow, green or blue colour, which indicates their rating of fee/hr.
Until 22nd August Auckland Transport have rolled out prototype designs for new bus shelters, which they are inviting the public to provide feedback on. They want to use the impressions people provide to help assess how the various designs perform. It’s not just about how much people like them however, they have to gauge that against other criteria, such as cost, durability, ease of construction, and of course, they can’t just reply on good looks, they have to be entirely functional—serve the purpose.
On Symonds St., in the city, alongside the more original design of shelters that have been in service for a while, three new designs have been located. PeopleMax Ambassadors, Summer, Jimmy and Michelle, were there collecting the feedback on a suitably blustery, rainy day. A perfect day for a shelter trial, and a variety of productive comments were forthcoming from travelers.
Starting with the original design in use, one or two were of the opinion, “Why waste more money, why not just improve on what we have already?” Fair comment perhaps; so Summer on this occasion was able to provide a ‘thumbs up’ for the existing shelters. However, others agreed there was room for more radical change and the ambassadors were finding the shelter accumulating the best feedback overall was the one with more wood, shelter A in the brochure they were handing out. The wood seemed to be more appropriate for New Zealand was one opinion. But generally speaking it seemed to pan out that the more colourful style appealed to the younger travelers, and the shelter with a bench seat running the length of it, appealing to your average middle aged member of the public.
And why do we need a new bus shelter for Auckland? Auckland Transport believes that they need to be made safer, easier to use, and more attractive than they already are. Apparently there are 20 different styles of shelter across Auckland and they want to create a more clearly defined ‘look’, which is also adaptable to different needs in the varied locations. So in the end the objective is in fact to save money, but also to have the shelters define a more recognisable public transport network though their consistency. But as one comment had it, “Yes, but we don’t need a living room, but a shelter suitable for all weather, and it doesn’t have to be all that good looking.”