10/27/2015

 
 
   
 How Transit Was Key to Moving the Masses During Papal Visit
 

In case you missed it, Pope Francis visited America  -  and was followed by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims during his stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. It’s fitting, given Pope Francis’ penchant for public transportation, that transit played a key role in taking the masses to papal visit activities.

In Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) started planning for Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit as soon as the Vatican announced the trip in November 2014. Operations staff met on a weekly basis from the beginning, working out logistics of the service the authority would be able to provide to transport as many people as possibly wanted to attend Papal Visit events. Accommodating SEPTA’s regular weekend ridership also had to be factored in the plan.

 

Eventually, every department at SEPTA was involved in the Papal Visit prep, from police and revenue to procurement and engineering.


“This was an unprecedented event for us and we were doing things that we had not previously had to handle,” said Assistant GM, Operations Ron Hopkins. “For example, we had to create staging areas at our train stations, where customers would wait before pre-boarding the trains. Our Buildings and Bridges Department needed to determine how much fencing they needed for the waiting areas, as well as how many port-a-potties would be brought in for riders waiting at stations.”  READ MORE >

 
 Digital Engagement: The New Journey for Transit Agencies
 
The debut of Pope Benedict (top) and one of same event for Pope Francis (bottom) The increase in Smartphone use is obvious.

by Patrick Mungovan for METRO

Next time you’re out in public and something interesting happens, look at the crowds. What will you see? People on their phones  -  taking pictures, commenting, informing others. You may have already seen the pictures  -  one from debut of Pope Benedict (top) and one of same event for Pope Francis (bottom).

We are in the midst of a revolutionary change in how people communicate and share:

82% of U.S adults own a cell phone*
91% of U.S. adults now keep their smart phones within arm’s reach.*
More than one-half of mobile searches lead to sales*

Intuitively, you know this happens while passengers are in transit. The question is how you can use this change to make your riders more loyal and more satisfied.

Initiation, or the process of capturing customer data, is the first step in the digital engagement journey that continues through selection, conversion, and advocacy.

A transit authority’s website, contact center tools and social media are all critical touch points for customers as they engage with transit agencies. At this stage in the relationship, the focus should be on informing and educating prospective customers so they have the incentive to provide their demographic information (e.g. email address, cell phone number, social media contact, etc.).

An advantage transit agencies have in this process is a very captive audience. Expense, time and comfort are priorities for individuals making regular or long commutes. Using this time, to shake hands digitally  -  collecting email addresses, cell phone numbers, frequent destination and departure information, and lifestyle and interest attributes  -  can go a long way. This information can help transit agencies increase the frequency and loyalty of current riders as well as attracting new riders. In addition, this information can help you market concessions and take advantage of cross-marketing opportunities with business partners.    READ MORE >

 

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