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Voice system helps handle 2.5 million calls.

Voice System Helps Handle 2.5 Million Calls A voice response system at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City is taking the load off telephone agents, sparing them from repeating routine information countless times each day.

The computerized system is able to sort through the schedules for the world's busiest bus terminal, organize information about departure times, gates, and ticket prices, then explain it in a human voice to callers.

The Port Authority's Patron Information System, developed by Datacorp Business Systems of Cleveland, solves some tough information problems, says Charles Martin, patron service coordinator.

For starters, the system should halve the time required for telephone agents to answer some 2.5 million information calls each year, and provide more accurate answers.

Live agents now take the calls, typing at their terminals what the caller needs to know. Then they send the request to the database, and from there the voice response system takes over, reading the retrieved information to the caller.

That fees the agent to take the next call. Previously, agents had to find the information in big binders and read it to callers.

With those paper schedules, says Martin, "updating was always a problem. We provide schedules for 35 bus companies serving our terminal and those schedules are constantly changing."

The computerized database is continually updated.

"With our old system, the average duration of a call was about 120 seconds," says Martin. "But with the new system, we believe we can reduce average call duration by more than half, to 50 seconds or less."

A fault-tolerant IBM System 88 operates the Patron Information System, driving a voice response unit from Perception Technologies.
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Title Annotation:Port Authority Bus Terminal
Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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