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

Drunk driver strikes NJ TRANSIT bus

The vehicle drove into the bus around 2 a.m., with the badly injured driver of the car trying to flee on foot before being arrested at a nearby gas station. The driver’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, according to the report.

BC Transit piloting video cameras on buses

Up to six cameras will be installed on each bus. There is no live monitoring of the video which will only be removed and viewed by authorized security staff following a reported incident. Only video required for security purposes will be retained, all other video will be erased.

Calif. agencies approve merger

Pending adoption by its member entities, the merger between Victor Valley Transit Authority and Barstow Area Transit is slated to take effect July 1, 2015.

MCI Stands Up for Transportation in Pembina, Chicago and Louisville

Officials at MCI’s Pembina plant included Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; North Dakota Commerce Department Commissioner Alan Anderson; Gail Hand, northeastern director for Sen Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Tom Brusegaard, regional director for Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D;  Pembina County Commissioner Hetty Walker; and Cavalier, N.D. Mayor Ken Briese.

Uber adds rickshaws to service in India

Drivers are told to say ‘namaste,’ a common Indian greeting, and are encouraged to use their meters. Uber pays its drivers an additional 40 rupees, or just over 60 cents, per ride on top of the fare.

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 resource for managers of class 1-7 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