4 Proven Ways to Improve Passenger Happiness in Public Transit

TransLoc MarketingBlog

As a transit agency, one of the hardest things to do is keep everyone happy all the time. In fact, it’s practically impossible. But let me tell you a secret: You can make people happier with open communication. Opening up lines of communication with passengers and the community at large not only increases happiness, it has a direct and positive impact on customer satisfaction. So, how can you do that without overwhelming your systems? It’s easier than you might think with these simple steps:

  1. Deploy a Passenger Information System (PIS) that includes real-time vehicle locations and accurate stop arrival predictions. Passengers with real-time information report shorter wait-times and greater overall satisfaction with their agency. At this point, most transit mobile apps provide the basics needed to keep passengers informed. When shopping for a solution, make sure your system has a 1-second location refresh rate and the ability for passengers to save favorite routes and stops.
  2. Create dependable communication channels between your agency and your passengers—communicate important and timely updates to passengers such as schedule changes, stop closings, holiday service changes and other information riders need to get where they need to go. This will reduce calls to your customer support center while also giving passengers an easy way to communicate problems, issues, and concerns to your agency. Since you’re already sending real-time vehicle information to their phones, why not send announcements and alerts to their phones too? A smaller number of transit mobile apps do this effectively, and even fewer provide a way for passengers to send agency feedback—make sure to understand the communication capabilities of your mobile app.
  3. Increase your survey frequency and get better formal feedback from passengers.  Onboard surveys are a bellwether of the transit industry and a good tool to measure rider happiness. Unfortunately, most agencies only do onboard surveys every few years, so this is not a good solution for addressing ideas and suggestions in a timely manner. Now you can survey passengers directly on their smartphone and get instant feedback. Check out TransLoc Traveler’s survey feature, deployed straight through the TransLoc Rider app. We’ve partnered with CJI Research to bring mobile survey capabilities to our customers and they’re already seeing the positive impact of more frequent touch-points and the ability to benchmark their agency against others. Learn how to get insight into your passengers’ experience and improve your system through passenger feedback.
  4. Get serious about social media. A recent study by University of Southern California professor Lisa Schweitzer showed that transit agencies are better served by responding to online commentary, even when it’s negative or even downright mean. You can read a summary of this study on The Urban Edge blog, but the most important takeaway, according to Schweitzer, is that “engaging with users improved the tone of conversation, independent of the quality of the agency.” Agencies can interact with passengers on social media, inform them about their mobile app, and passengers can then find themselves “in-the-know” when it comes to their public transit experience.

Having a mobile app for your passengers can increase customer satisfaction by simply providing an open line of communication right on their mobile device. Not convinced? Check out our infographic on why mobile is no longer an option for transit agencies. You can also peruse our other resources to learn more about mobile apps and how marketing yours can drastically improve your customer satisfaction rates.