Future-Proofing Your Transit System — TripSpark’s Exclusive Partnership With SWTA
TripSpark recently partnered with SWTA (South West Transit Association), bringing together transit industry leaders from across the country. Transit evangelist and best-selling author, Paul Comfort talked about 10 Ways to Future Proof Your Transit System. We also had the opportunity to hear from several CEOs and Directors and learned more about their experience managing transit systems during this unprecedented worldwide pandemic. During this recorded session, agency executives shared their own journeys and strategies throughout the past few months, how they contended with challenges brought forth by COVID-19 and shared some silver linings that emerged from these tumultuous times. While the demographics and requirements of each of their regions vary, they all had common goals.
In this post, we'll summarize the landscape of transit in 2020, share some key insights from industry leaders and give you a preview of the event.
2020, Transit and COVID-19
Over the last few years, agencies started to take steps to improve their operations such as revamping their bus networks, increasing bus frequency, and reducing friction on their routes. Transit was picking up steam and was in a strong position.
With the onset of COVID-19, ridership decreased dramatically. This abrupt change put agencies in an unfortunate position, and they had to take measures quickly to adapt to constant changes:
- Going fare-free and rear-door boarding
- Implementing virtual call centers to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- More frequent cleaning
- Enforcing strict security protocols
“We started detailing the buses not just twice a month, but weekly . . . We provided branded masks to all of our employees . . . We put hand sanitizers on all of our buses as well as masks that we distribute free of charge to our riders. We do COVID-19 testing on a bi-weekly basis voluntarily for our employees. We put up thermometer checks. So, we basically changed our operations to be sustainable in this new environment that we're in.”
– John C. Andoh, Executive Director / CEO – Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority – Columbia, SC
“In terms of cleaning and other things that we are doing with the busses, we became aware of a system called the Halo misting system, which allows us to fog our busses. It's of much higher efficacy to make sure they are clean – and we can do it at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time. We can get one bus clean in less than ten minutes, a 36-40 passenger bus, for less than $2.00.”
– Perri D’Armond, Director, Fort Bend County Public Transportation – Richmond, TX
Takeaways From Transit Industry Leaders:
Our panel of CEOs and Directors shared valuable learnings while navigating the various challenges that surfaced because of COVID-19 as well as what they would do differently, if given another chance to tackle 2020. Although the situation seems grim, they did manage to find a few silver linings.
Transit and the Future, in a COVID-19 Environment
Robbie Makinen, CEO of Kansas City Transit Area Transportation (KCATA) gave a captivating closing keynote that left us with much to consider for the future of transit. By giving us his perspective on what transit means to our communities, it is clear that the status quo simply will not cut it.
We would love to hear how you have innovated to navigate the pandemic and what kind of transportation technology you need to face upcoming challenges. Our industry leaders shared some terrific insights which will guide us in the development of software solutions to help your agency's transit system.