The team and I decided we’d look at a few other, comparable major cities and their transit systems. This post will be a brief snapshot of how the Metropolitan Transit Authority (in New York City) uses social media.
MTA has a very similar website to GO Transit’s. Both post updates, governance information, a trip planner and customer-friendly information, for instance.
The advantage to the MTA website is a Service Status update. This section updates users with the different transit lines’ service assessments. As you can see in the image below, the application is divided into different sections such as subway, rail, bus, and bridges and tunnels. And then each transit line (depending on which category it falls under) gets its own little service rating. This application can be downloaded as a widget and shared via social media.
The team thinks that this application is something that could easily be adopted by GO Transit. It would be a simpler application for GO because it would only be divided into rail and bus, and each route under those headings would have its own service status posted.
Twitter and Facebook
MTA has a Twitter account (@MTAInsider). Here are a few of the Twitter account stats as of March 12, 2012:
- ~21,000 Followers
- Following ~100
- ~2,000 tweets to date
The @MTAInsider tweets are similar to @GetontheGO tweets but the account user responds more to direct messages. So, instead of posting a generic “please contact a customer service representative,” the account users engage and then respond with more specific instructions.
The @MTAInsider profile clearly states that the Twitter account is not monitored 24-7.
MTA also has a Facebook page, which is very similar to GO Transit’s page. MTA posts updates, people respond and use the page to comment (both negatively and positively) about service.
The team is focusing on GO Transit’s “Keeping you in the know” goal. With that in mind, I think we can take a few tips from how MTA does employs the use of social media. The company’s use of social media isn’t perfect, but maybe GO Transit can become a leader in its use and application of social media in Canada.
So far the team’s still in the research phase, using Google Docs and a few of the other tools at our disposal. Suggestions, and some more research to come!