We’ve all been there: You reach for your cell phone but it’s nowhere to be found. Jeans pockets? Nope. Coat pockets? Not there. At the bottom of your bag? Still no luck. A quick look around the room comes up empty, and a sinking feeling starts to settle in the pit of your stomach. “Ugh,” you think, “I’ve lost my phone.”
To help customers avoid that sinking feeling, RTS has kicked off a “Look Before You Leave” campaign, encouraging riders to check for their belongings before leaving a bus, bus stop or the RTS Transit Center.
“Each month, we log around 1,000 found items,” says Kirk Bethel, Manager of Customer Service. “Cell phones top the list.”
While we aren’t responsible for lost items, we have a detailed process in place to reunite customers with things they’ve lost. Lost items are usually found in the wee hours of the morning, when RTS Bus Washers clean each bus. Valuables – like cell phones, wallets, prescriptions, and jewelry – are placed in a safe; other items are bagged and dated.
The following day, a Customer Service Representative logs the items into the RTS lost and found database.
When a customer reports an item as lost, a RTS Customer Service Representative can quickly search the system to find a match. The earliest a match will be made is the day after an item is lost.
When reporting a lost item, it’s important to provide as much information about as possible. “A black iPhone” isn’t as helpful a description as “a black iPhone 7 with waterfall wallpaper and a crack in the upper left corner of the screen.” If an item hasn’t yet been found, Customer Service will call customers when the item has been recovered. To pick up a found item, customers come to the RTS Administration Building at 1372 E. Main St. in Rochester, Monday through Friday between 10 am and 4 pm.
When wallets, keys, or prescription medication are found, we do everything we can to reunite owners with those items as quickly as possible. “We had a customer mistakenly leave behind several prescriptions, which were turned into Dispatch by a Bus Operator,” says Mary Ann DeVeto, manager, Radio Control and Dispatch. “After finishing his shift that day, one of our dispatchers drove to the customer’s house to return the prescription. The customer was extremely grateful and relieved to have his medicine back.” Again, while this isn’t the norm, we do our best to quickly return critical items to customers.
Sometimes unexpected items are behind. “I’ve seen violins, French horns, even a flat-screen TV!” says Percocious Silva, customer service representative.
After 10 days, items including eyeglasses, cellphones, and bikes are donated to local charities. Items of value are turned over to the Rochester Police Department. We’re happy to make customers smile by finding their lost items, but we know customers are even happier when they don’t lose their possessions in the first place. To best enjoy the ride with RTS, please look before you leave!