We’ve all been there — stuck behind the bus rider “oversharing” his or her phone conversation
or next to the person who thinks a subway smorgasbord is a great idea. How does one handle unacceptable behaviors that seem to have become the norm?
In September 2014, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) introduced “Dude It’s Rude,” a direct message campaign that addresses passenger etiquette and quality of ride issues on all SEPTA vehicles. “It’s passenger etiquette with a kick,” said Nilda Rivera-Frazier, SEPTA’s assistant director of customer service. “The campaign was developed to be impactful — there are no cartoon characters or SEPTA logos. This way we are emphasizing the behavior.”
With messages such as “You Have Earbuds for a Reason,” “Two Seats-Really?” and “Keep Your Business Yours,” ads for the campaign are featured on car cards, decals and digital displays on SEPTA’s trains, buses and trolleys and on schedule timetables. All messages are prefaced with the “Dude It’s Rude…” tagline.
“Many of the behaviors in the ads, such as blocking aisles, carrying on loud phone conversations and taking an extra seat, are those that our customers and employees have complained about,” said Rivera-Frazier. “We look for places on the vehicles where customers will definitely see the messages.” For example, on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford subway-elevated line, “Dude It’s Rude” decals are placed on car windows.
SEPTA had launched a passenger etiquette campaign in 2011, one that took a lighter approach with cartoon-like characters demonstrating bad behaviors. “The messages were too soft and we didn’t see a change in customer behavior,” said Rivera-Frazier. “We needed something edgy, more ‘in-your-face.’”
The initial customer response to ‘Dude It’s Rude” was generally positive. “We knew the campaign would seem a little too aggressive for some riders, but comments we received through social media and other customer service channels showed that most of our passengers appreciated that we were addressing issues that can make their commutes unpleasant,” said Rivera-Frazier. ”We continue to receive suggestions from customers on future campaign messages.”
The second phase of “Dude It’s Rude” was rolled out in June 2015 and included messages such as “Trolleys Aren’t Diners” to remind passengers that a trolley car probably isn’t the best place to enjoy a meal. The program will continue with a third phase in the near future.
Transit agencies across the country have launched transit etiquette programs similar to “Dude It’s Rude” including Chicago Transit Authority (‘Your Maid Doesn’t Work Here”, “You’re Not the CTA’s DJ); Metropolitan Transportation Authority (‘Dude…Stop the Spread, Please”, “Poles Are For Safety, Not Your Latest Routine”) and Golden Gate Transit (“Local Pride — Respect Your Ride”).
“We have been approached by other organizations about ‘Dude It’s Rude,’ which is flattering” said Rivera-Frazier. “I think all of these campaigns, as well as the interest in SEPTA’s program, demonstrates that etiquette issues are important for all transit authorities and that we are all working hard to make the commute enjoyable for everyone on board.”
...as a transportation planner who has worked on bus rapid transit-style systems in the greater Washington region, I’ve noticed a disconnect in the public’s expectations versus the reality of the systems they’re getting. It got me wondering: do people have an accurate picture of what BRT means or the benefits the systems provide? During public-planning sessions, I’ve heard a lot of feedback on BRT. The gist is, “That’s really nice that the bus is a different color and the station platform is fancy, but I just want it to be on time.”
After acts of terrorism — domestic or international — law enforcement agencies are almost always asked: “How are you ‘ramping up’ your security efforts?”
Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent buying buses and railcars every year. Although the national unemployment rate has declined since the Great Recession, for low-income families and communities of color, the unemployment rate remains in the double-digits and good, family-supporting jobs can’t come fast enough. We need strategies that revive U.S. manufacturing and other industries that can create the kind of jobs we want.
The recently adjourned 2016 Democratic National Convention put Philadelphia in the national — and international — spotlight once again. For the third time in four years, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority transported thousands of visitors to the City of Brotherly Love and its surrounding counties. As with the U.S. Open in 2013 and the World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit in 2015, public transit was a key component for all event activities.
Everywhere, evidence reveals how we’re moving into a less-consumptive, sharing-based society. Whether it’s people’s homes, torrent files or a car ride downtown, sharing is in. As environmentally conscious and economically prudent reducers and re-users, millennials are choosing non-traditional forms of transportation. This behavior has already had a huge impact on the way the transit industry is planning for its future.