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Community & Business Groups

Embracing the angry tweets – Harnessing social media in public transport

There are heaps of first world problems delivering a stable set of nuisances to us every day. Without doubt, waiting for a delayed bus in early November at a discouraging 8am is one of them.

In today’s mega-connected era it has never been so easy to give in to the temptation to let the world know about our disappointing experience. As we take out our phone in the sprinkling rain we give a short glance around the crowded bus stop and see the fellow passenger (to be-s) are doing the same.

A two-way street with a few bumps

Consumers are eager to raise their voice; they don’t shy away from sharing, demanding, or seeking attention. Transport providers and traffic management centres use the new media primarily to promote, as a mean of customer service or at best as a travel alert system. There is a very visible gap here.

We have to understand that this is a two-way street. Passengers along with TMCs have the opportunity to share real-time traffic information via social media. The issue arises when the passengers themselves are the source of information and the TMC has to decide on whether it is reliable enough to share with the community. Right now, many of these data cannot be regarded as a reliable source and have to be verified with other data sources, like surveys, sensors, pictures and so forth. It’s simply too much of a hassle and in the end many TMCs do not use these data at all.

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