Public Transit And The Customer Experience

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With the onset of the pandemic, public transportation faced an uncertain future. Many wondered how communities would navigate the landscape of social distancing and continue reaping the financial, economic, and environmental benefits public transit offers. As we emerge from these tumultuous two years, new and improved safety measures have transformed the transportation sector, leading to welcomed changes that promise to positively impact commuters and communities in the years to come.

New Passenger Experiences

One way that transportation agencies are working to increase commuter trust and gain ridership is through the New Passenger Experience Initiative. This initiative is in direct response to a paper published in 2020 by Jeffrey E. Harris naming the New York City Transit subway system as a “major disseminator” of the coronavirus infection. Many trusted publications, including the New York Times, Vice, and The Atlantic, have refuted these claims, but the misinformation had a significant and lasting impact.

Many communities across the country found it challenging to regain the trust of their commuters, prompting many high-profile names to speak out against these false claims. Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke implored citizens to see the truth of public transit, stating, “We’re trying to get as many people aware of how safe we actually are…”

The results started slowly but have steadily increased over time, thanks to significant strides in public perception and experience. Transportation agencies increased their sanitization and cleaning efforts, integrating safety procedures to protect vehicle operators and riders alike. They utilized marketing to explain their thorough and effective air filtration systems and streamlined the commute process by adopting trip-planning apps and virtual payment collections.

Thanks to a newly reimagined Health & Safety Commitments Program set in place by the American Public Transportation Association, agencies had a new standard to strive toward and improved branding and communication tools at their disposal. The impacts of these changes are evident in commuter satisfaction and post-pandemic commuter numbers. Currently, public transit ridership is at 60-65% of pre-pandemic numbers nationally and rising, which is good news for local communities reliant on commuter involvement for economic expansion.

Public perception and customer experiences are improving daily as agencies embrace their rebranding and continue to finance advertising and commuter involvement initiatives. The impact of inflation has helped increase ridership, with increasing gas prices causing more people to turn to public transit as an affordable option to private vehicle ownership. This combination of supply and demand, coupled with the prioritization of a mindful customer experience, is a recipe for success for the transportation sector, which will positively impact communities at large.

The Montgomery Transit has proudly embraced the New Passenger Experience Initiative’s philosophy, dedicating ourselves to every rider’s safety and happiness. Every vehicle in our fleet meets strict health safety protocols and is designed to promote a feeling of relaxation and peacefulness for our commuters. Through technological advancements like “Where’s My Bus?” and the TransLoc Rider app, we’ve made it easier than ever for those living in Montgomery, Alabama, to enjoy all the benefits public transit offers. With The Montgomery Transit, our riders can travel confidently!

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