Management & Operations

Public Transit GM Q&A: What has been the impact of new technology?

Posted on May 8, 2017

What was the last technology you’ve implemented and what was its impact on your agency?

Debbie Ruggles, Interim GM
Tulsa Transit
Tulsa, Okla.
Tulsa Transit recently implemented a Quality Assurance software that helps track bus operator customer service performance. Using a set of performance standards, the Quality Assurance Supervisor views video recordings of bus operators interacting with customers in revenue service. The software scores the bus operators and produces quarterly scorecards detailing strengths and areas of needed improvement.


Sandy Draggoo, CEO
Capital Area Transportation Authority
Lansing, Mich.
CATA implemented Trapeze’s Service Infractions software in February 2017 in an effort to better uphold our paratransit no-show policy. Service Infractions automates the collection of details regarding service abuses as well as investigations into no-show violations. Prior to implementation, these were time-intensive, manual processes that took up to five days to complete. Service Infractions allows us to complete these tasks within an hour, resulting in greater efficiencies and a marked reduction in paratransit no-shows.


Paul Jablonski, CEO
San Diego MTS
San Diego
MTS just launched mobile ticketing. Branded as Compass Cloud, the popularity has surpassed expectations with almost 11,000 accounts and over $100,000 of fares purchased in the first month. With more than 85% of MTS passengers carrying a mobile phone, Compass Cloud is responsive to customer demand. It also caters to the summer tourist and special events boom in San Diego. Mobile ticketing takes pressure off manual ticket sales and lines at ticket-vending machines.


Kim Turner, Transit Director
Torrance Transit System
Torrance, Calif.
In April of this year, we implemented our Automatic Vehicle Locator system that provides real-time bus arrival information on mobile devices via mobile applications and text messaging. The technology improves the customer experience by providing ADA-compliant displays and announcements. The system also aids us with data collection for scheduling/service planning, increases passenger-operator safety, promotes efficiency and decreases operational costs.


Ben Capelle, Deputy GM
Painesville, Ohio
Laketran implemented real-time tools that allow dispatch, customer service and customers to track buses and plan trips in real time. Laketran’s real-time information is accessible online and via text message using a short code displayed at all 715 bus stop locations. LED real-time arrival displays were also installed at major transfer locations. Paratransit customers can receive automated phone calls when the bus is on the way to pick them up through the GPS and AVL systems that provide real-time information data feeds.


Doug Roelfs, GM
Greater Peoria Mass Transit District/CityLink
Peoria, Ill.
We recently completed the Google Maps project so that our customers can now use Google maps to plan their CityLink trips. It has only been in effect a few months and to date we are getting favorable comments from our passengers on how easy it works and are glad that it is available. We plan on implementing AVL next year to take another step towards helping customers use the CityLink service.


Jeffrey Knueppel, GM
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
SEPTA’s video program includes 22,000 cameras on its fleet of over 2,800 buses, trains and trolleys — plus another 2,100 cameras at train stations. The video program plans, collects, reviews, preserves, stores and produces data from mobile and fixed systems. It enhances safety and security on the system as a crime deterrent and invaluable investigative tool for police. It’s also a proven money saver by deterring fraudulent lawsuits — claims payouts have decreased by $17 million over the last five years. SEPTA expects to see more benefits moving forward, as all new revenue vehicles will be camera-equipped.


Jarod Varner, Executive Director/CEO
Rock Region Metro
North Little Rock, Ark.
Rock Region METRO recently implemented the METROTrack system providing customers with real-time, predictive arrival information through a smartphone application and other devices. The investment in such a sophisticated resource reinforced the value and appreciation we feel for customers while impressing upon non-riders that we are serious about improving the customer experience and earning their support. Our METROTrack system, free onboard Wi-Fi, and enhanced website have modernized our agency and increased civic pride central Arkansans feel for their transit system.

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