May 30, 2013

Albuquerque adds real-time phone updates

Commuters in Albuquerque are now able to get the latest information on bus schedules delivered instantly to their mobile phone via AT&T Global Smart Messaging Suite (GSMS).

ABQ Ride, the city of Albuquerque’s transit department, launched the service as a way to communicate more effectively with riders. Commuters are able to send a text to a short code and receive the latest information on when the next bus will depart or possible delays incurred along certain routes.

“It was clear that something had to be done to offer our riders a more efficient way of obtaining transit information. When a rider is in a hurry the last thing they want to do is call and wait for a representative to look up that information,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “AT&T Global Smart Messaging Suite gives riders the bus information they need right at the tip of their fingers, while also helping the city alleviate demand on our contact center.”

The City of Albuquerque realized a more responsive and flexible communication approach would not only help its riders, but also its bottom line. More than 50% of the calls to their 311 contact center were related to transit — the number one question being, “when is the next bus coming?”

Each call cost the city about $2 to answer. A solution was needed to reduce the volume of calls and offer riders a convenient way to obtain information without solely relying on paper schedules or PDF files accessible on the Web.

The cloud-based AT&T GSMS application easily integrated with ABQ Ride’s existing Google Transit-route data-format without any significant modifications making installation quick and easy. The department is currently working on posting signs at all 2,700 locations with the assigned bus stop number and bus route to use for the application.

In the future, ABQ Ride plans to expand the capabilities to include location-based services, proactive notification of route changes, key word inquiries and rider surveys.

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