Preparing Transit for the second wave 📊🚊

Email sent: Oct 22, 2020 2:27pm

Well, the second wave is here. I’m sure you’re as thrilled as we are. Despite the hardships and tedium of the past year, we’ve never been so proud to be working in public transportation. The professionalism of our agency friends, the persistence of our partners, and the perseverance of riders gives us hope.

As the pandemic heats up, we’ve been working to make riders feel more confident — and you know what that entails! Crowding info. Because this isn’t March, when only essential workers were riding near-empty buses. Knowing that there’s enough room before boarding gives a giant boost to riders.

As it stands, some transit agencies can track crowding levels in real time 🎉 but many cannot, or at least not for all vehicles in their fleet. So we built a solution.

1. For agencies that *are* measuring crowds, but can’t distribute those stats in real time: we can now generate crowding predictions using historical data. Our launch partner, LA Metro, found our predictions were ~88% accurate. (All the details, here.)

2. What about agencies with no way to gauge crowds? Not every agency has APCs installed on their whole fleet. So we’ve tapped into Transit’s rider network to generate crowding data where it doesn’t yet exist. It’s an expansion of GO, our crowdsourcing feature — which has improved data on more than 60 million trips since 2016.

So far, 50% of people who see our little crowding question are sharing crowding stats (aka tens of thousands of reports each week, across our 35 launch partner cities, with more coming soon.) More on that, here.

Want to bring crowding info to your city? Just reply to this email and Emily, Sophie, Kaj or Christine will get back to you ✌️

Ticketing: new partnerships, new upgrades.

Cash is dead. Keypads are icky. Long live mobile ticketing!

New to Transit’s familia of ticketing cities: none other than our hometown of Montréal. We now sell bus fares in our app from the ARTM, for all the transit agencies in the city, with mobile tickets from Masabi.

Down yonder, riders can now purchase fares for AC Transit in Oakland (or as we like to call it, Billy Beaneland) thanks to our ticketing partners at Token Transit. We’ve also launched fares for CAT in Harrisburg, PA; Rabbit Transit in nearby York, PA; NFTA-Metro in Buffalo, NY; and TheRide in Ann Arbor, MI, too. ✌️

What else is new? We’ve added support for stored value accounts. Previously, riders could buy individual tickets with their Transit account. Now, they can actually store money in their account — and redeem it on fares later. Being able to have “credit” on file opens up all sorts of interesting opportunities like discounts, bundles, fare capping, etc. Moreover, unbanked users can take advantage: you can add cash to your account at a kiosk, and use the balance in Transit.

Our first agency with stored value accounts is RTS in Rochester, NY, in partnership with Masabi. (To get this added for your agency, you know who to call 📩.)

And in non-pandemic news...

We’re still scratching those transit nerd itches. Making Transit ever-more perfect, able to withstand the scrutiny of regular riders and galactic-transit-network-memorizing NUMTOTs alike. And so hello, support for “sneaky routes.”

You know the ones: vehicles whose headsigns change halfway through their journey. Like the MAX Orange in Portland (which is really just the Yellow, part 2), or the 1 bus in Seattle (which becomes the 14) or looped lines like 7bis in Paris (which says it ends at Pré Saint-Gervais, but actually continues to Danube.)

Now, instead of telling riders to transfer to a bus or train they were already on — because the vehicle changed its headsign — we’ll tell you what the regulars know already. Just sit pretty!

Multimodal mojo

Some big news: the FTA has given grants to two Transit-partnered agencies (PSTA in Florida and RTD in Denver). This will make it easier for riders to plan and pay for multimodal trips, like PSTA’s bus-to-Uber program, and RTD’s integrations with scooters, microtransit, and statewide Bustang coaches. It’s a brave new world out there!

It’s all hugely validating for the work we’re doing to rethink “mobility as a service” (a buzzword we simultaneously hate and love). In that vein, Transit’s work got some spotlight in a recent paper from the Shared Use Mobility Center. They showcase how cities have heard the call for an anti-monopoly, transit-first approach to ~MaaS~ and are enshrining it in city rules and policies.

More and more people are buying into this vision for mobility, and doing the unglamorous grinding to make it happen. Which includes new agency partners (shout out Central Maryland RTA!) and new operator partners (Roll Scooters in Ottawa and Calgary, we see you too!)

We’re happy to be out here, building alongside all of you.
Stay safe nos amis! 💜

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