In order to keep up with rising demands and deliver the rider experience that today’s consumers have come to expect, transit providers must look to the next generation in technology. The competitive landscape has made a dramatic shift in recent years, and as such, businesses have been forced to accept digital transformation as their new reality. For transit providers specifically, this has created added pressure to evolve from utilizing outdated, legacy systems that create cumbersome processes and internal barriers, to leveraging the technology and software that will facilitate a more efficient and effective operation. Due to a chronic lack of funding within the public transportation industry, many agencies have turned to outsourced software providers as the solution. With the ability to streamline operations and minimize costs, outsourcing enables transit organizations to accommodate the demands of modern riders while staying within tight budgetary constraints.
However, employing a transit software provider is a major decision, and is one that has a significant impact on a transit agency’s operational capabilities. With that said, it’s critically important to choose a software provider that addresses a transit agency’s individual needs and cohesively aligns with its overall business strategy. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when making a decision of this magnitude which include functionality, affordability, and customer service.
Arguably the most important factor, functionality addresses the basic notion of how well a transportation scheduling software solution aligns with a transit organization’s functional requirements. No two transit agencies are the same; therefore no two solutions should be the same either. While some providers design their software solely as an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits all solution, others work to provide solutions that are more flexible and customizable. When evaluating various transit software providers, it’s important for agency’s to have a clear understanding of what functional components are necessary to their operation so that they can identify the provider and solution that best solves for their needs.
Second in importance to functionality is affordability. As previously mentioned, transit agencies are often challenged with tight budgets, so ensuring that the value gained through the software meets the investment value is essential. In addition, it’s important for transit agencies to view an investment of this size in a broad sense. It’s easy to get sticker shock when making a purchase of this size, but focusing solely on the upfront costs rather the total cost of ownership can skew an organization’s ability to make the right long-term right decision.
Customer service is undoubtedly something that every agency expects to have when working with a transit software provider, but is too often overlooked during the evaluation process. While software functionality is critical to the successful day-to-day operation of a transit organization, customer service is critical to the ongoing and long-term success of the software. For agency’s assessing various transit software providers, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the customer service functions that will be offered post-purchase. Transforming an agency’s entire operating system has a direct impact on their ability to serve their customers, so ensuring that the resources, like software trainings, are available to the employees using the system is critical to internal adoption and support.
If you’d like to learn more about what factors should be considered when evaluating potential transit software providers, download our eBook “Choosing Your Transit Software Provider”.