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Thoughts on Transit

5 Transit Software Myths Debunked

by Kevin Dow / August 20, 2018

There are a number of misconceptions and myths in the marketplace about purchasing and installing transit software. However, many of these negative perceptions are not only wrong, they are also completely unfounded. Let’s take a look at some of these together.


Myth #1 - Automating transit services means losing control over my business.

This transit software myth is completely wrong. When you choose the right software, it allows you to gain more control over your business, not less. While you can choose to automate nearly every portion of your reservations, scheduling, and dispatch services, a good software system will let you take back control when necessary to handle exceptions in your service.  The right product will also provide you with clear insights on how your current operations are functioning and allow you to make the changes necessary to improve them.


Myth #2 – You have to host your own transit software on in-house servers.

This misconception has the potential to cost transit agency even more in payroll and other expenses. Your employees all have their own areas of expertise, and pulling them away from those areas impedes your business from functioning at its best. Adding specialized resources to build and maintain your own servers often requires significant expenditures. Hosting mission-critical applications externally frees up those employees, provides greater flexibility and increased accessibility. The reality is that in-house hosting offers some benefits, though, few.


Myth #3 - My staff will find it difficult to learn the new technology and products.

It is true that employees will require a learning period to gain an understanding of any new software or process. Every transit staff is accustomed to doing things the way they’ve always done them, and for some this is a second or third career.  Working with a software partner who understands adult learning, plans properly for training over time, and provides opportunities for reinforcement will ensure that your employees are learning for success. Experienced software partners make this go smoothly.


Myth #4 - Transit software is just too expensive, and it won't fit in my budget.

While this may have been true in the past, it is not the case now. There are affordable software options that will provide agencies with all the tools they need to see increased efficiency, maximum productivity, and enhanced customer service. Many software providers offer solutions to fit most types of budgets.  Additionally, federal, state, and local grant and joint procurement opportunities are available in many locations to help defray the cost of the investment.


Myth #5 - Transit software implementation is easy, and I can handle everything myself.

Installation of comprehensive transit software has to take into consideration all of the interactions between clients, funding, location data, vehicle capacities, driver availabilities, and dozens of parameters that configure the software to support the agency’s operating environment and policies.  Even for people who know the software package well, this should take some time and care to get the system dialed in before a Go Live, assuming the system is designed well enough to handle everything you want to throw at it.  Good software comes with good installation.  You’re making a significant investment in the future of your service.  Lean on the expertise of your installation and support team to get the most out of that investment. 

About the Author:

Kevin Dow 2018Kevin Dow is our Project Support Office Administrator.  He has a proven record of project management in the public transportation industry and was recruited in 2013 by Ecolane to extend the level of services provided to the company’s client base. His background in education, non-profit agencies, technology procurement, standards, and policies make Kevin a valuable resource to further the objectives of the organization. His responsibilities focus on the evaluation and management of the implementation process for Ecolane, regional and local staff training, identifying added value initiatives, and increasing Ecolane's commitment to providing leading, industry client satisfaction.

We’ve covered 5 myths about transit software.  What other incorrect assumptions might keep an agency from moving ahead on a software purchase?  We’d love to hear from you.  Drop us a note with your ideas.  Also, if you’d like to learn more on this topic, click below to download our ebook on implementing transit software.

 

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Tags: Demand Response Software

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