Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Raises for CATS workers

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BATON ROUGE - The controversial CATS bus system plans to dole out raises if workers give better customer service.

"I think we don't have a problem with customer service. I think we have to focus on customer service," CEO Bob Mirabito said. "We have to be better at what we do."

To do better, CATS is challenging its employees to meet customer service goals.  If goas are met, each employee would take home a $350 bonus each quarter.

"It's basically a team award. If the agency does well, our customer's benefit. Our employees will benefit," Mirabito said.

If the 240 employees reach their mark, that equals $84,000 a quarter.  CATS could spend $336,000 on bonuses a year.

"It introduces peer pressure," Mirabito said. "There's a formula set up, and if they don't hit that bottom line number, no one gets an incentive."

Tuesday, the CATS Board released a study of 511 riders that identified the biggest complaints.  Riders mostly complained about bus timeliness, cleanliness, maintenance, the need for more buses and routes and not having a reliable call center.

People who ride the bus were satisfied with the bus fares and operator's knowledge and technical ability.

The study showed the majority of riders are overall satisfied with the system, according to TransPro CEO Mark Aesch.

Leaders want better customer service to get the bus system on the right track.

CATS has been revamping itself since voters approved a tax in 2012.  But, the system's seen hiccups.

Former board member Montrell McCaleb was arrested, accused of stealing from the bus system to pay his bills. 

Last year, $100,000 vanished from bus fare-boxes. The missing money is still under investigation with the Baton Rouge Police Department.


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