Going Mobile with Public Transportation
October 2, 2015
October 2, 2015
If you live in or around a city, you probably have a love-hate relationship with public transportation. A reputable and convenient transportation system can be a factor in what motivates people to move to a new city—especially for young folks who are just starting their careers, because buying and maintaining a car is no cheap endeavor. Public transportation saves the day.
With 10.65 billion passenger trips taken on U.S. transit systems last year, it’s no surprise that transit agencies are now using social media to communicate with their customers. So the question is, have social media and smartphones changed the way we use public transportation?
According to the National Academic Press, public transit agencies consider social media to be effective for communicating with current riders, improving customer satisfaction and improving agency image. A recent survey from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that of 46 state Departments of Transportation, 98 percent use Twitter, making that channel the most popular for transit agencies.
In Boston, the MBTA Twitter handle alerts its 141,000 followers about delays and anything else that could affect their travel. The handle also fields its share of complaints. Boston.com called managing the T’s social media presence “the hardest job in Boston.” (There’s a lot social media managers in all industries can learn from the patient individuals behind @MBTA.)
Riders use smartphone apps to buy tickets, plan trips and even track trains. Many agencies, including the MBTA, offer their own mobile apps. Still, these agencies do have competition when it comes to which apps riders can choose to use for trip planning. Apps such as Citymapper, Moovit, or Transit allow users to select which city they are in, then put in where they are and where they want to go. The app will provide numerous ways to get from point A to point B using public transportation, including how to walk to and from each station on both ends of your trip.
Mobile devices have clearly changed how we use public transportation on a daily basis. But have they made our lives easier or just more complicated when it comes to public transport? Tweet at us and let us know!