The obvious: The transportation landscape is rapidly changing.
The dilemma: What to do to keep up.
We’ve left the good old days of paper maps, schedules, and even bus tickets behind, and everything is digital. Transit agencies need to keep pace with shifting rider expectations, taking steps toward building more efficient and effective transit operations.
One way to start is by leveraging a powerful transit scheduling technology to increase productivity and streamline efficiency. Follow along as we look at five ways your agency can use transportation scheduling software to serve riders better.
1. Leverage real-time optimization
It’s an on-demand world, and riders want to act on their own terms. Stay in step with their needs by supporting real-time functionalities and updates.
Supporting Rider Needs
You need to be able to offer accurate information, ensuring both a streamlined schedule and a positive experience. Bus running behind? Give riders the flexibility to make other arrangements or even wait at home by providing real-time arrival information.
What if passengers have urgent transit needs? You need to accommodate same-day trip bookings. Ecolane does more by allowing them to book or modify trips anytime—even outside of business hours—and providing a consistent flow of real-time information to better plan their trips.
2. Streamline rescheduling & rerouting
Like most things in life, transit doesn’t always go according to plan. Regardless, your agency needs to be able to roll with the punches and rewrite the script as you go along.
Communicating to Minimize Disruption
Transportation scheduling software allows your agency to pivot as necessary. With it, you can manage fleets and build processes to communicate with passengers on vital issues such as:
- Traffic congestion
Effective software tracks buses and sends alerts when incidents occur, allowing dispatch to reroute and/or reschedule to minimize disruption. And when you keep your customers in the loop with updated arrival times, you make them happy and win their repeat business.
Ecolane stands apart because it uses a demand-responsive transportation solution with automatic vehicle location technology. With it, schedulers and dispatchers can track and monitor vehicles in real time, making it easier to reroute or reschedule on a dime.
3. Deploy automated scheduling
Imagine taking hours to determine transit schedules for your agency—you might even currently do this. Transportation scheduling software ditches inefficient manual processes.
Discovering New Efficiencies
When an agency doesn’t have an automation solution or has one that isn’t the right fit, it might have to accommodate for those shortcomings by going old-school. However, the right scheduling software eliminates manual scheduling. As a result, your agency can see measurable time and money savings, especially when your fleet is over a certain size—five or six vehicles.
4. Offer self-service mobile apps
I got one hand in my pocket, and the other one’s holding a smartphone ...
With their mobile devices tagging along and playing the part of a handheld computer, riders expect to be able to put them to work during their journey. That includes managing their reservations from their smartphones.
Leveraging Mobile for Both Sides
Self-service mobile apps improve communication. They should be reliable tools for riders and the back office alike:
- For customers, notification systems can provide vital trip details, such as day-before reminders and day-of trip status updates.
- For agencies, accurate updates decrease no-shows while staying in touch with the back office helps to quickly fix outdated or incorrect information.
5. Improve accessibility
“Accessibility” means so much more than it used to, and it doesn’t begin and end with chair lifts, ramps, and dedicated seating in your vehicles. Transportation scheduling software needs to account for people with disabilities too.
Equalizing the Transit Experience
Riders need software that is compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This requires federal programs to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Transit software solutions must allow all people to move within their communities with a similar level of planning, effort, time, and expense.
Not only does Ecolane’s self-service web portal and mobile app adhere to Section 508, but it goes beyond it to adhere to WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards for digital accessibility. When transportation scheduling software is accessible, it accommodates for several elements, such as:
- Screen readers
- Color contrast
- Keyboard-only navigation
Everyone uses technology to navigate their world today. So when your agency puts transportation scheduling technology in place, remember to provide accessibility and equity for all!
Drive transit success with software solutions
There’s a world of opportunities for agencies just like yours to satisfy today’s riders, and transportation scheduling technology unlocks the door. From real-time optimization and simplified scheduling to mobile apps and accessibility, the right tool has the potential to streamline the transit experience.
But how do you determine the “right fit” software for your agency? Download our guide, Choosing Your Transit Software Provider, and get in touch with Ecolane to discuss your application!
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.