Despite the shift toward internet- and mobile-app-based reporting, riders should still have the option of reporting issues by telephone. Telephone-based reports should be part of the same issue-tracking system as electronically received reports.
Transit agencies should communicate with customers re: service disruptions by push notifications. NYT has a frequency that connotes just the right amount of urgency. Minor disruptions need not be pushed. Riders could subscribe their home or work stations and the agency could push significant service change info. Examples might include stations that are out of service for scheduled maintenance or temporary, unplanned disruption. ...more »
Blogging is not just a tool for advocates, it can also be a tool for agencies. WMATA's Planning Department runs a blog (PlanItMetro) which it uses to communicate about planning studies and to get feedback on ideas and plans.
Would a Frequently Asked Questions webpage be useful, sorted by general topic area? Topic Areas could be: Why Transit Current Transit Studies Information Needed to Comment on a Ride Transit Performance Dashboard - what does it mean? Some answers could include links to protected Word documents (pdfs aren't accessible to most screen-readers used by the blind). Perhaps a link to a translation service would be appropriate ...more »
The ability to offer feedback is very important. Some agencies do better than others. Prince George's County (MD) Transit does not post any information about how to provide feedback on their website. However, they do have a person responsible for receiving that feedback. Putting his name and email/phone on the web would be a great start.
Currently I must use OneBusAway to figure out when buses are arriving and Google Maps to find the appropriate bus routes/connections for my trip. These software systems need to be integrated to make trip planning easier. This also reduces the mixed-messages user receive when the two apps are running different data (unscheduled changes, etc).
Lots of people have questions about transit, and transit agency representatives are well-suited to answer those questions. The issue is how to allow them to interact. In Washington the CEO/GM occasionally has an online live chat with reporters (like at the Washington Post).
Riders should have a mechanism for reporting issues (e.g. suspicious/innapropriate activity) anonymously if desired.
The idea of crowd-sourcing public transit ideas is excellent for all the reasons crowd-sourcing is good (detailed local knowledge, fresh thinking, community connection, etc.) but, public transport is a complicated problem with many tradeoffs. A route change might make sense for a few people, but might be very expensive and/or negatively impact (e.g., delay) many more people. This was the idea behind my www.greencitystreets.com ...more »
To encourage participation in service planning, transit agencies should use geomapping tools that allow riders to suggest new or modified routes. Individuals can drop virtual pins onto electronic maps to identify activity centers or key origins and destinations. This technique has been used to crowdsource bikeshare locations but has not been widely used for transit planning.
Transit agencies sometimes have webforms to allow riders to submit complaints, but in many cases the rider is responsible for filling out several fields (which they may not know anything about) to route the complaint. The agency should worry about that, and have simplified apps to allow riders to easily submit issues.
Riders should be able to provide photographic and/or video-based documentation of issues. This can be easily accommodated using existing smartphone technology. For location-enabled devices, users should be able to tag their report with the location of the issue.