Advancements in transportation technology have reduced emissions, improved on-time performance and enhanced safety. While these are important components of our transit systems, meeting the needs of the 21st Century requires a commensurate shift in our approach to the way we administer our transportation services — service must be convenient and easy to use for the passengers.
In Southern California, three commuter rail operators have successfully offered service to passengers for decades along a single rail corridor. However, with three operators come three independent schedules and pricing structures.
This can lead to confusion among customers who are unfamiliar with the systems. When a rider boards a train, they are not concerned with the name painted on the side, but if that train will take them to their destination.
A new bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of September will help eliminate confusion and integrate the services along the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor, known as LOSSAN.
The bill, SB 1224 (Padilla, D-Los Angeles), creates a joint powers authority, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency to govern all train services along the rail line, including administering the state-funded Amtrak service.
The LOSSAN corridor is the second busiest passenger rail line in the nation. It stretches 351 miles from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, connecting major metropolitan areas of Southern California and the Central Coast.
The legislation is modeled after the successful Capital Corridor Rail Joint Powers Authority in Northern California that has increased service frequency and ridership and reduced costs since it was established in the mid-1990s.
The LOSSAN corridor agencies pursued the legislation to bring services under local control to be more responsive to the area’s needs and consumer desires.
Local management of these services will result in:
• More efficient and effective use of resources related to service expansion, frequencies, extensions, connectivity and schedules.
• Improved passenger services, ticketing, marketing and information systems.
• More focused oversight and management of on-time performance, schedule integration and customer service.
• A unified voice when advocating for passenger rail issues at the state and federal level.
This legislation provides the parameters to enhance rail service for the seven million riders who travel along the rail line each year and entice future transit users to jump on board.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "'Transit going the extra mile to accommodate bikers" here.
There is an epidemic of safety accidents, absenteeism and high turnover among transit’s front line employees and it’s bleeding the transportation industry billions of dollars. But the inoculation may be closer than you think. Employee engagement is the best immunization for what’s ailing the industry.
Video surveillance technology is a vital component to transit and rail operations as agencies recognize the value such solutions offer. A comprehensive system does more than deliver high quality video and audio recordings. Supporting data and software tools increase the efficiency of agencies’ video management operations, substantiate liability claims and investigations, and promote safety for both passengers and operators alike.
In case you missed it, Pope Francis visited America — and was followed by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims during his stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. It’s fitting, given Pope Francis’ penchant for public transportation, that transit played a key role in taking the masses to papal visit activities.
A transit authority’s website, contact center tools and social media are all critical touch points for customers as they engage with transit agencies. At this stage in the relationship, the focus should be on informing and educating prospective customers so they have the incentive to provide their demographic information (e.g. email address, cell phone number, social media contact, etc.).
Typically, when riding the rails in the Philadelphia region, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority customers can purchase daily, weekly or monthly passes — even onboard tickets — for their journeys. But the weekend of Sept. 26 to 27 will be far from a typical weekend in Philadelphia — Pope Francis will be in town, along with an estimated 1.5 to two million people attending public events along the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.