What are widgets you ask? According to our friends at Wikipedia, they are “a small gadget or mechanical device, especially one whose name is unknown or unspecified.” In the transportation technology business we often hear our software (products) being referred to as "widgets." However, at TripSpark, we're more than just widgets! We're about the people who need those widgets and the people who service those widgets – and not the widgets themselves!
People are smart, you know – they get when they're being "sold a bill of goods" — as my grandfather, a former Mad Men-esque CEO of a big ad agency, used to say. "People don't really care about the thing – they care about what thing does and how it helps them". It's all about being in the people-pleasing business, right? Every problem has a solution, and as people in the transportation widgets business, it's our job to solve our transit customers' problems so that they can focus on what matters most to them – ensuring a great experience for each and everyone ONE of their riders.
And has this been a time of real problems!
Just when everything was going so well! In 2019, transit agencies saw ridership gains for the first time in nearly a decade. Then WHAM - the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, followed by government mandated shut-downs, caused transportation ridership across the globe to plummet by 50-90%. And looking back to just how vastly different the transit industry is now compared to 2019, transit agencies are looking for some real solutions to their very real problems.
Things are (finally) looking up
A major jump-start to the transit problem solution took hold recently, when on March 11th, the House of Representatives passed legislation that cleared the path for one of the most expensive and extensive economic rescue plans in US history. With a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan now signed into law, and a whopping $30.5 billion earmarked to help rescue public transit, transportation agencies suddenly have something to smile about again.
With all this new government money pouring into our industry, transit agencies are better able to focus on continuing to keep their riders safe and happy by investing in things that make their operations run more smoothly and make their lives less stressful. That's where TripSpark Technologies and our problem-solving people come in. We really are committed to forming true partnerships with our customers by getting to the root of their challenges and working together to come up with the best fixes – and fast! For example, working closely with Lethbridge Transit, we were able to set-up on-demand transit in just a matter of days.
The wonderful widgets of us
We're proud to say that people behind the widgets have helped literally hundreds of Fixed Route, Rideshare and Paratransit organizations tackle and solve their biggest people-pleasing transit challenges. Don't take it from me – check out how Abby Slovak of Lethbridge Transit was able to improve the relationship between her agency's dispatchers and riders. Or see how Ernesto Paredes of Easy Lift Transportation was able to save lives during recent fires and mudslides in Santa Barbara, California. These are just a few of the many "human" stories that motivate us every day to keep moving together.
Post-widget people persons
So with things finally looking up and agencies having a little time and some real cash to invest in solving their biggest transit challenges, pulling the proverbial “widgets trigger” is just the start of our customers' journey. And again, it's not all about the widgets – it's about how we can help YOU.
That help starts with our pretty awesome Customer Care (CC) team, led by Naomi Schellenberg. Not to boast, but our CC team gives TripSpark a big advantage over our competitors. We do not have the usual "front line" support reps. Our team members come with many years of experience, often in working directly with our products in the industry. Because of this product expertise, their longevity with TripSpark and their unswerving dedication to our customers, the CC team is able gain trust with each interaction and build true partnerships.
We want to know YOU!
So yes, we sell widgets and we always will. But most importantly, we build lasting relationships with the people who use those widgets. Now more than ever, is the time to be empathetic to those who are facing challenges by putting the people on both sides of our widgets first and putting some "human" back in the human transportation business.