November 30, 2009

Calif.'s OCTA launches text messaging program

California’s Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) launched its text messaging program Monday, giving passengers the ability to request bus schedule information via their mobile phone.

Powered by marketing solutions provider ExactTarget, the public transportation agency’s addition of text messaging allows passengers to send a bus stop number and route number to “OCTAGO” to receive arrival times of the next three buses for that stop.

The text messaging campaign is expected to reduce the nearly 2,000 bus status and route inquiries received daily, reducing total call center volume by as much as 25 percent.

“The text messaging program gives our customers added flexibility to confirm bus schedules on-the-go while reducing our overhead expenses,” said Stella Lin, marketing manager, OCTA. “The immediacy of text messaging cuts costs and increases our efficiency by communicating schedule changes as they occur, faster than our team can access the 6,500 bus stops around the county with revised printed materials.”

The agency’s “Text 4 Next” text messaging program relies on ExactTarget’s triggered messaging to automate text responses to customer inquiries and builds on the agency’s success with email marketing powered by ExactTarget. The “Text 4 Next” launch follows a customer survey which revealed more than 75 percent of OCTA passengers have cell phones and 64 percent of passengers use text messaging features.

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