Between the rising costs of vehicle ownership, environmental concerns, and convenience, people are increasingly drawn to transit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hailing cabs or boarding traditional public buses. Instead, microtransit opens new opportunities for riders and agencies alike, decreasing how many vehicles are on the road and replacing underutilized fixed-route services.
Is your agency getting on board? A quality microtransit software solution can help, but how do you choose? We’re highlighting five key features to look for in a best-in-class solution.
1. Advanced Reporting
What kinds of data can your microtransit software provide for the operation? No day is the same, but you still need to know how your agency is performing. That’s why the software you choose must capture a wide variety of data for all vehicles, such as:
- Rides per hour
- Run utilization
- On-time performance
- And more
Save with reporting.
With access to diverse metrics, you’ll be able to use the software to generate real-time reports with actionable insights. For our part, Ecolane can save 10+ days per month on reporting, improving both functionality and timeliness.
2. Automated Real-Time Scheduling and Dispatching
Relying on manual data entry and paper to determine schedules and get vehicles moving just isn’t efficient in today’s world. But luckily, microtransit software automates the process of scheduling and dispatching trips. As a bonus for drivers, the right software can also share trip details with onboard mobile data tablets, so they always have up-to-the-minute information and can adapt to same-day schedule changes from no-shows, cancellations, or traffic.
Prioritize service quality and problem-solving.
By choosing a microtransit software with fully automated scheduling, your agency won’t need to rely on manual methods and can deliver more value. That’s because the right solution keeps trips moving based on driver performance to maintain high on-time performance (OTP).
Case in point: Ecolane automated scheduling for Orange County Public Transportation, increasing OTP to 94 percent and reducing customer complaints by 88 percent!
3. On-Demand Availability
Microtransit needs to be available conveniently to all riders—from traditional riders to paratransit passengers. A major part of this is integrating a mobile app to make scheduling easier. With the right microtransit software, your agency reaps the benefits of on-demand availability.
Mobile apps should allow riders to book their trips anytime without assistance. Agencies benefit because this reduces call volume and burden on staff members. Mobility by Ecolane, for instance, provides real-time scheduling and continuous optimization without any action by dispatchers.
Reduce trip loss.
By sending push notifications to riders, agencies stay in communication with them. By doing so, they reduce no-shows and cancellations because riders get automatic reminders of upcoming trips.
4. Comprehensive Planning, Training, and Support
Choosing a microtransit software and going it alone without a professional team to lean on is a lot like being up a creek without a paddle—the basics are there, but the tools to make progress aren't. That’s why the solution you choose needs to be backed by the right resources.
Find areas for improvement.
Your platform implementation team needs to be able to develop a plan for your agency based on your operation. That means taking steps guided by your performance metrics to customize your microtransit software solution.
Even the most seasoned pros need to learn the ropes of a new system. Make sure the software provider you choose gives your team a head start before launch. It’ll open opportunities to work out any kinks and ensure everyone understands the platform.
Ecolane sticks with you, providing up to eight weeks of driver training and 360 hours of in-person driver training for your agency.
Bonus points: A next-level solution ensures that resources are available during training and after implementation to answer questions.
Once you get up and running, your agency can’t stick with the status quo because transit and ridership are always changing. Keep improving by choosing microtransit software that provides such opportunities. Ecolane is the only provider that conducts annual reviews and performance audits to optimize your implementation over time, giving your agency an edge.
5. Intelligent Fleet Management System
The back of the house needs trusted tools to manage the everyday and the unknowns for your vehicles. When your microtransit software doubles as a fleet management system, you can get insights into how to optimize your activities.
The system you choose should account for:
- Automatic vehicle location (AVL) and GPS fleet tracking: Need visibility into what’s happening on the road? Choose a microtransit system that helps you keep pace with your fleet. AVL and GPS fleet tracking supports your operation in two key ways:
- Real-time vehicle monitoring, providing vehicle location, destination, and pickup and drop-off times
- Dynamic navigation, enabling two-way messaging between dispatch and drivers and facilitating route changes due to no-shows, cancellations, or same-day trips
- Pre- and post-trip inspections: You can’t skimp on passenger safety or vehicle maintenance, and the microtransit software you select must account for it. Solutions that integrate pre- and post-trip inspections—measuring internal and external vehicle conditions before departure and at the end of the day—streamline the process and help you stay in compliance with regulations. Need to hit certain benchmarks? Ecolane may be a fit. Our platform is customizable to require specific items to pass inspection before departure or shutdown.
Level Up Your Operation with Microtransit Software
Microtransit software has the power to keep your operation moving—and help your customers get where they need to go. But with a sea of options available, you need to pick a stud out of all the duds. Look for features to support reporting, scheduling, implementation, and fleet management to ensure you get the most out of your microtransit software solution.
See how Ecolane can help. Request a demo of our microtransit software and strengthen your operation.
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.