Passenger behavior is evolving. As people increasingly crave better, safer experiences, transit providers are looking for ways to accommodate their needs. Creating a smarter, more comfortable wait begins with introducing key elements that create a more inviting atmosphere.
Aesthetic improvements like murals, art installations, and music go a long way toward making travelers feel safe and welcome. Adding layered sustainable lighting schemes, free Wi-Fi and charging stations for devices, and more comfortable seating also improve the wait experience.
If building operations managers of train stations, bus terminals, and intermodal stations want to really make a great impression, one of the best solutions to improve the passenger waiting experience is to use a virtual queue management system in conjunction with physical queuing.
Virtual and Physical Queuing Create Friendly Service Environments
Organized passenger queues contribute to sound lobby management. Once passengers check into the digital queue software, they’re given the time they should arrive via SMS message or email. They can wait wherever they want and receive updates about their expected wait time, trip delays, weather updates, and more.
When travelers arrive and they see an orderly line, the perception is that station or terminal supervisors understand the need for safety and structure. Riders feel comfortable knowing everyone has gone through the same process.
Virtual Queuing Improves Efficiency
The world is a busy place, and people need to arrive at their destinations at specific times. Virtual queuing utilizes bidirectional communication; passengers receive real-time schedule updates, and they can send messages to the carrier for greater visibility into their wait time, connections to their final destination, and more.
For the train line or bus company, the remote check-in process alerts conductors or drivers about the number of bags that need space and notes well ahead of time if someone has a disability that requires special consideration. Having that extra time to prepare empowers employees to deliver a great experience, which also makes passengers feel confident about their travel decision.
Additionally, having a roster of how many riders a driver can expect to collect and/or drop off at each point along a bus route could save drive time. If a stop isn’t required because travelers aren’t expected to board or don’t need to disembark, for example, a trip could go that much faster.
Likewise, because updates happen in real time, last-minute additions can be more easily accommodated as well.
Physical Queuing Streamlines the Passenger Journey
Wayfinding — directional signage — is the foundation of successful queue management. Using digital signage with clear public address systems accomplishes two goals: It improves accessibility for passengers with special needs, and it helps riders locate a staff person if they have questions, restrooms before they depart, or the place they’ll board their train or bus.
No matter if they need to buy a ticket or board their train, the last thing travelers want to see is one long line that snakes its way through the terminal. Stanchions create a sense of order; people are less likely to try and cut in line, and waiting doesn’t feel so endless.
Benefits of a Virtual Queuing Solution
With any virtual queuing platform, you can enhance the service delivery by integrating with software and programs already in place. For instance, if photo identification is required for booking and/or boarding, a digital queuing system can integrate with ticketing to administer the collection of necessary documents and notify the appropriate agency.
Behind the scenes, operations run more smoothly in general with virtual queuing. With in-depth reports — both real-time and historical — department leads can track peak traffic periods and schedule staff accordingly. They can also effectively track average wait and service times and employee performance based on metrics the transportation company deems appropriate.
When a customer disembarks at the end of their ride, communication with them doesn’t need to cease. Once customers are in a digital queue system, railroads and bus companies can use data obtained from the way passengers interact with the software to send them targeted offers and promotions for locations they might want to visit or attractions that may interest them.
This is also a great way to gather feedback about their experience to identify opportunities for improvement at touchpoints along their journey. Surveys can include questions about how easy it was to buy tickets, the condition of the station or location where they began and ended their journey, the friendliness of workers, and any number of other considerations.
Anyone waiting for service expects to wait, but how they wait is what makes the difference between a positive customer experience and a negative one. Interactions between customers and employees trend toward the positive when there is an intentional method behind the madness of moving large numbers of people from one place to another. The combination of virtual and physical queuing takes passengers more quickly through the check-in and boarding process, creating happier customers and employees.