Bus

‘Town Hall to Twitter’ session tackles social media benefits, obstacles

Posted on October 5, 2011

Social media’s benefits and pitfalls as tools for transit operations to connect with the public were discussed in the “From Town Hall to Twitter: A New Era in Customer Communications” session held on Tuesday.

Linda Watson, president/CEO of Austin, Texas’ Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, moderated the session, sharing her agency’s experience with using Twitter to make CEO interviews available to the community online and received an overwhelming response. “As the new CEO, I understood immediately that I needed to engage in traditional and non-traditional ways in the community,” Watson said.

Panelists weighed in on ways they have successfully employed social media and the challenges they encountered. Richard Davey, Secretary/CEO MassDOT, discussed the agency’s “GM for a Day” program on Twitter, which invited tweeters to shadow MassDOT staff for one day, and turned some chronically complaining posters around with a new understanding of the complications of a transit system. 

Davey added that Twitter “saved the MBTA” last winter, when a severe snow storm crashed the agency website. The staff was able to tweet updates on service changes to riders.

Bill Velasco, board member Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), holding up his smart phone, underscored the point that, with social media, “All the stuff you can do is right here.” Jacqueline Lewis Halldow, chief of staff, NJ Transit, agreed, adding that the results of the agency’s most recent customer survey showed that out of the 19,000 customers surveyed, 87 percent use the mobile devices.

Reaching out and getting feedback from Twitter and other social media works best when used along with face-to-face interaction with the community, Lee Kemp, board member Denver Regional Transportation District, said.

A Twitter audience can be particularly helpful to a transit operation, Davey said, by providing another set of eyes and ears on the system. MassDOT, he explained, encourages riders to tweet photos on the trains and buses to help draw attention to maintenance issues.

Joe Calabrese, CEO/GM Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, said that the downside to connecting with the public through social media is the expectation that communication will be “24/7” which can be a challenge for staff. Additionally, panelists agreed that Twitter and Facebook have not reduced print communication or phone calls.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Man charged with murder after stabbing Winnipeg Transit bus driver

The incident occurred at 2 a.m., when the driver pulled up to the last stop of his shift and asked the man to leave the bus. After a physical altercation, which ended up outside the bus, ensued, the driver was stabbed multiple times.

N.Y.'s NICE to add 33 New Flyer buses

Twenty-eight 40-foot buses will replace existing buses in the NICE fleet that have reached the end of their useful life, while five 60-foot buses will be used on the customer's new bus rapid transit line, scheduled to start service in 2017.

Nova Bus, ABB partner for electric bus, charger delivery to N. America

The ABB DC fast charger, with the associated systems, is based on the common interface, which allows charging stations and electrified buses from different manufacturers to be used together.

Proterra names Horton to CCO post

Will lead the end-to-end customer lifecycle as Proterra triples production and initiates large-scale deployments across North America.

Stertil-Koni adds new capabilities to transmission jack

The battery-operated jack can be charged overnight and used without cables. The pneumatic jack has an attached air hose to keep it working. Previously, transmission jacks were manually hand-pumped, much like a car jack.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close