Survey Says… The Top 10 Reasons to Survey Transit Riders in the Time of COVID

Survey Says… The Top 10 Reasons to Survey Transit Riders in the Time of COVID

The old expression “All you have to do is ask” couldn't ring truer than it does for transit organizations during a global pandemic. According to their riders, organizations have learned that more than ever before, real-time transit updates and other information aren’t just nice-to- have, they're essential. Before COVID-19, a packed bus, jammed subway or carpool ride were cost-efficient, convenient, and environmentally friendly solutions for transit organizations. Today, getting riders where they need to go, with the highest degree of safety, with the most efficiency, and with the lowest amount of anxiety, is vital to all our health and wellness.

Understand what customers want

By understanding exactly what their riders want, transit organizations can continuously improve their services and trim their bottom line. Simply enough, this can be accomplished with a basic survey or series of surveys. In fact, many transit organizations rely on insights they gain from surveys to drive most, if not all their transit decisions. And while the content in passenger surveys can be simple, the technology behind surveys can be extremely sophisticated.

Take TripSpark Technologies' MyRide online and app-based passenger information system. One of the many features of MyRide is its embedded surveying capabilities. The benefit of this for our customers is that they can distribute their survey multiple ways (MyRide, Emails, Facebook, Twitter, website) and use whatever survey solution they employ to consolidate and evaluate results. 

Surveys are easy to create, customize and deploy quickly. And reporting survey results is just as easy and accurate. The benefits of surveys are abundant. Here are the top 10 insights that transit organizations can gather from conducting rider surveys:

  1. Demographic Information (gender, age, ethnicity, employment status, etc.) 
  2. Ridership Frequency, Times-of-Day
  3. Routes Taken, Routes to Add
  4. Safety Measures (good, bad, concerns, suggestions)
  5. Service/Customer Service (on and outside of riding)
  6. Driver Evaluation (good, bad, concerns, suggestions)
  7. Fare Structure (good, bad, concerns, suggestions)
  8. Primary Purpose of Trip (to and from: school, work, etc.)
  9. Satisfaction Rating (1 to 5 stars)
  10. Additional (ad hoc) Feedback

Key learnings from passenger surveys can help transit organizations build short- and long-term plans that help make transit service more convenient, reliable, efficient, and safe. While surveys are among the many tools agencies and organizations can use to collect valuable feedback, they remain an important method to hear from a wide range of riders who otherwise may never volunteer feedback.

Change for the better

During this stressful time, one way that can transit organizations can offer their customers some control is to include them in their decision-making process. Whether it's making changes to services or fare structure, transit decisions should be endorsed by their customers, and not just driven by elected officials or other groups with interests beyond those of riders. Giving their riders a voice through surveys, is just one way to accomplish that.