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Ghost Riding Program



The purpose of the Ghost Rider Program is to improve transit safety and customer service by establishing a program to exchange independent and knowledgeable feedback to operators and transit systems.  The Ghost Rider Program is sponsored by Ohio Transit Risk Pool (OTRP).


What does the Ghost Rider Program provide?


The Ghost Rider Program provides a framework and guidelines for transit agencies to exchange experienced, knowledgeable staff that can observe and provide feedback on individual operators and the entire transit system’s performance.  Individual transit agencies commit to OTRP to provide knowledgeable experienced staff to serve as Ghost Riders.  Each transit agency involved in the Ghost Rider Program will participate in Ghost Rides two times a year. 


What is a Ghost Rider? 


Ghost Riders are seasoned, high-performing transit staff members who, by invitation only, visit participating host transit agencies to anonymously observe the driving safety, passenger relations, and host transit system performance and practices.  Each transit agency provides two Ghost Riders.  The Ghost Riders are specially trained to participate in the program, including how to:   


  • Complete Ghost Rider Feedback Forms (sample attached);

  • Complete the Ghost Rider Transit System Feedback Form (sample attached);

  • How to best conduct Ghost Rides to provide valuable information to the host transit agency;

  • Fulfill host and donor transit agencies roles and responsibilities (sample attached).


How are host transit agency operators and routes selected for observation? 


The Ghost Riders work with the host transit agency to identify which routes provide the maximum opportunity to observe as much of the host transit system as possible in a two-day period.   


How is Feedback Provided?


Each Ghost Rider completes a Ghost Rider Feedback Form for each transit operator observed.  The form includes two categories for observation (driving skills and passenger relations), which include 35 areas of observation.  Examples include turning practices, lane use, defensive driving, ADA compliance, time/schedule, fares and passenger relations.   In addition to individual route and transit operator feedback, the Ghost Riders provide general feedback of his/her experience using the transit system on a Transit System Feedback Form.  The form includes six areas of observation, bus stops, schedules, customer service, basic routing, bus conditions and transfer centers.  The Ghost Riders forward their completed forms to their home transit agency’s Ghost Rider Program Coordinator, who then forwards them to the host transit agency.


How does the host transit agency use the feedback they receive from the Ghost Riders? 


How the feedback provided by the Ghost Riders is used is at the sole discretion of the host transit agency, with one exception:  it is not to be used as a formal evaluation of any observed transit operator.  The Ghost Ride feedback can be used to provide positive feedback to the observed transit operators, identify individual areas for transit operator development, and/or identify gaps in the host transit agency’s training program that need to be addressed.  The Ghost Riders’ feedback provides the host transit agency an objective look at the host transit’s service from a regular rider’s point of view. If a Ghost Rider observes any safety issues that require immediate attention by the host transit agency, the Ghost Rider must inform the Host Transit Agency’s Program Coordinator at their first opportunity.      


How are costs covered in the Ghost Rider Program? 


Participating agencies pay the salaries of their selected Ghost Riders to provide service in the assigned transit agency.  Even though this is an initial resource use, each transit will receive the same or similar benefit of another Ghost Rider’s observations.  OTRP will reimburse participating agencies for the cost of travel, lodging, and other miscellaneous expenses for their Ghost Riders. 

Are there any additional benefits to participating transits in the Ghost Ride Program?


Yes. Ghost Riders obtain valuable information and best practices that can be taken back to their home transit agency.

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