Last month, CTS Software published a blog post on their website attempting to provide an overview of competitive transit software offerings in the market. Ecolane believes in the importance of healthy, open competition and we wanted to correct a few misconceptions and errors in their post in order to set the record straight.
So let’s look at a few of the things included in the CTS post:
"Both CTS Software (Trip Master) and RouteMatch are headquartered in the southeastern United States, while Ecolane's corporate HQ is in Finland, just outside of Helsinki."
This is incorrect. While it’s true that Ecolane’s research and development team is based in Finland (which is where the company was originally founded over 15 years ago), our product management, customer support, sales, executive team and headquarters are all based in the United States. Operationally, this has been a strength for us, enabling round-the-clock development activity and attention on our customers.
"Of the three companies, Trip Master is the only one designed to work with public or privately owned NEMT and paratransit providers of all sizes. While RouteMatch and Ecolane both offer their software to smaller organizations, their primary area of focus is on larger organizations."
This is also incorrect. Ecolane software works seamlessly with both public and privately-owned NEMT and paratransit providers of all sizes and always has. Over the past few years, in particular, Ecolane’s appeal has grown to attract the attention of larger organizations, mostly due to the flexibility and adaptability of our product’s features as well as our growing reputation in the industry. Our strategy has always been to provide world-class transit management software to any organization, regardless of size. We have, over the course of our business history, encountered instances where we’ve felt that our platform might not be the best solution for one reason or another. In those situations, we typically point customers to products that may be a closer fit for their needs. We think that makes good business sense.
It’s a point of pride for Ecolane that we retain our oldest customers and we believe it’s a differentiator for us compared to our competition. It demonstrates that we’re doing something right by these organizations, especially when it comes to helping improve the operating efficiencies of transportation services in their communities.
"If your organization is on the smaller side, odds are Trip Master is a viable alternative to RouteMatch and Ecolane."
Ecolane doesn’t entirely disagree with this statement but it does depend upon a number of factors. For agencies that may not see value in real time, on-demand transportation or for those that don’t anticipate growth in their services, other products could be a better fit. Trip Master does appear optimized to work for very small organizations.
"Implementation and full training of Ecolane typically takes a minimum of 90 days. Onsite training is available, usually for the week prior to launching the system. Otherwise, training is done completely online via video tutorials and written documents."
This is inaccurate and also pretty far from the truth. Ecolane has completed full implementations of our software in well under 90 days and we have never had a “minimum” time defined. During a project’s initial discovery process, we work with our partners to develop a rollout plan specific to them and it is that plan which defines the length of implementation. Onsite training is not just an “available” option, either. We always spend time at a client’s site and consider it essential to ensure our partners are best able to utilize the power and flexibility the platform delivers. Our digital support services include video tutorials, interactive materials, and content libraries and it all represents supplemental information made available to our customers. However, it is our in-person training led by Ecolane’s professional services team which consistently gets the best ratings from customers.
In a nutshell, we don’t know how services like the ones Ecolane provides can be implemented without onsite training. That entire effort is part of our company’s DNA.
"RouteMatch and Ecolane both offer MDT's, but only on Android, and are far more challenging for drivers to master."
Ecolane’s platform differs from Trip Master and RouteMatch when it comes to our tablet approach. While it’s true that Ecolane doesn’t offer an iOS tablet for drivers, our mobile app for scheduling and management is offered on both iOS and Android operating systems. Additionally, our entire platform can be fully run within a web browser across iOS and Android devices as well as all common desktop platforms. We believe this is yet another differentiator.
Our experience has shown a significantly lower cost of ownership and simpler setup and training when using Android MDTs, critical measures for any transit agency needing to ensure the best and most appropriate use of their funds. We have also found that Android tablets and accessories are more durable in a rough and bumpy transit environment, not a small consideration when provisioning new hardware. Ecolane’s Android-powered MDTs are not loaded with an abundance of hardly-used features that distracts drivers, either. Our tablet features are designed to exactly the kind of functionality a driver needs to do their jobs.
"All of the amazing features and training in the world become irrelevant if the cost of the software is prohibitive. Luckily, Trip Master is not only a more affordable alternative to both RouteMatch and Ecolane, it also has the most flexible pricing structure."
Ecolane has never marketed our product as the cheapest solution available. We market the product based on, among other things, the productivity and cost savings our customers realize. If something costs $10 but enables $5 in savings, it’s more valuable than a product which costs $9 and produces no savings at all.
We disagree that the CTS product has the most flexible pricing structure. We believe our customer’s software investment should yield clear and immediate productivity and customer satisfaction gains and this has been our publicly stated position for over five years. Further, our belief that pricing should be honest, straightforward and complete has been our mantra for well longer than any competing transit software title on the market. Our pricing flexibility is unparalleled in this industry and we invite anyone to contact us for more specifics.
"The Trip Master platform is updated monthly in order to keep the product as valuable as possible for users…RouteMatch and Ecolane typically update their products once or twice a year, roughly 90% less frequently than Trip Master."
Ecolane is a web-based platform that is maintained and updated continuously. New features, platform optimizations and other improvements are released throughout the year, not just once or twice. We are committed to having all our customers on the latest version of our software and like our approach to pricing, this has been our publicly stated position for the past five years.
"Exceptional customer support and training, powerful features, regular updates, and a flexible pricing structure make it difficult to choose RouteMatch or Ecolane as alternative's over Trip Master."
Ecolane has hundreds of customers in the United States who would disagree with the above statement. Check out our library of case studies and client testimonial videos.
Ecolane appreciates the opportunity to address similarities and differences between competing products in our industry. We only ask that it be done accurately. For more information, please reach out with any questions or for a pressure-free demonstration.