Tag Archives: train

Transit News Roundup – Latest Industry Updates

Every day we find transit news that is relevant and useful to you. But if you missed these daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Linkedin, you can find them all here in one place each week!

Here’s what happened in the transit world last week:

BUSES & SCHOOL BUSES:

Retiree’s Last Bus Ride Home Leads to a Sweet Surprise

Angelo Fracassa has taken the bus to work for 60 years.  On his last day, his family and friends surprised him by joining him on the bus and taking him to a retirement party.

 

Franchised Bus Routes Could Reap $1Billion

The Tourism and Transport Forum Australia reports that franchising bus routes in certain cities could add $1billion to government revenue over 5 years.

 

Big Brother Buses?  Union, Bus Agency in Eavesdropping Fight

A legal battle is underway about whether surveillance of bus passengers can include audio recording.

 

Is Your Bus Company Ready for Mothering Sunday?

Mothering Sunday was on March 6th in the UK, and we provided some ideas for bus companies to make sure they’re ready for the increased traffic, have their schedules online, and are showing appreciation to the hard working mothers on their teams.

 

Making School Bus Time Fun and Safe

Ideas from the school bus safety program.

 

Kiss-Blowing Grandma Receives Birthday Surprise from Kids on School Bus

Doris Vehar greets the kids on the school bus every day when they come by her house.  This year, they surprised her on her birthday.

 

EPA Helps Schools Get Cleaner-Burning Buses

The US Environmental Protection Agency is granting funds to schools bus providers to help them replace or retrofit old diesel buses with greener models.

Transit News by AddTransit

READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY

Puttin’ On the Push for Read Across America Day

James Ojeda is a bus driver who’s been reading Dr. Suess books to kids for almost 20 years on Read Across America Day.

 

Reading Celebration Tried and True in Truro

Among some other tried and true ideas to make Read Across America Day a success, the Truro Public Library has had Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess’s famous book The Cat in the Hat meet kids at the bus.

 

TRAINS

Here’s How to Connect to Mumbai Central’s Free Public WiFi

Google is providing free public WiFi to the Mumbai Central train station, and they will roll out WiFi to 100 more rail stations this year.

 

A Brief Overview of Rail History in the Foothills Cities

Watch an interesting video about rail in the San Gabriel Valley.

 

TRANSIT TECHNOLOGY

Startup Makes Sense of Transit Data

The new company Urban Engines helps transit companies take the massive amounts of data from transit research and turn it into actionable plans.

 

Zonar Announces Key Leadership Changes to Support Rapid Growth and Business Development

Zonar is a leading transportation technology company, and they just brought on four new executives to support their growth.

 

PUBLIC TRANSIT

How San Francisco Got Its New Rider Friendly Transport Map

This new transit map is nice, but we think having an app on your phone is easier to read and more convenient.  What do you think?

 

The Astonishing Human Potential Wasted on Commutes

It takes the average commuter 26 minutes to get to work.  That adds up to 1.8 trillion minutes that Americans spend getting to and from work!  This includes both time spent in the car and on public transit, but we know from other research that taking the bus or train can often be faster than driving.  It’s also cheaper and more environmentally sustainable, and you can work, sleep or read while you commute.  So if you have to commute, take transit, and don’t let that time be wasted.

 

Commuters Could Save 1000 Pounds Per Year by Choosing Bus Over Car, Research Shows

Commuting by bus is 55% cheaper than by car.   That’s a lot of savings!

 

The Best Cities for Public Transportation

Cities in the US were ranked according to the commute time, the percentage of commuters who use transit, and the median income of transit users.  10 cities came out on top.  Check them out!

 

Take Transit to See Mum for Mothering Sunday

The UK has a lot of transit options for visiting Mum on Mothering Sunday or on any other day.  Whether you took the ferry, coach, undersea train, bus or rail, we hope you utilized the money saving option of traveling by transit this week.  If not, go see Mum today!  And take her for a train ride- she’ll love it!

 

The Car Century was a Mistake.  It’s Time to Move On.

Some cities are exploring the benefits of making certain areas car-free.  With exceptions for moving freight, this article explores the option of using streets as social spaces and providing good public transit.

 

Making Public Transportation Part of the Elections

With the US elections coming up, the APTA encourages voters to make their wishes known about public transit to their representatives by writing letters to the editor, using social media and contacting politicians directly.

 

Everything’s Riding on Forecasts for Transit Plans

City Councillors in Toronto are trying to decide which transit projects to fund.

 

HYPERLOOP

A New Mode of Transportation

Students from MUN are just one of many teams who are working on developing the hyperloop.

 

Simulation Driven Design Fast Tracks Hyperloop Development

Design teams are getting ready for the hyperloop race by testing parameters and designs virtually.

 

Hyperloop is the Perfect Way to Move Goods, Not People

While the hyperloop is undeniably a really awesome concept, some people think that it might be better for transporting freight.  What do you think?

 

Trial Bringing Into Open New Datasets for Smarter Travel in Home Counties

This project will make multi-modal transportation information available so app developers can make better transit apps.

 

What do you think about any of the articles or topics?  We’d love to hear from you!

Transit Employee Appreciation Day: Employee Thank You

Your transit company employees work hard every day to bring great customer service to your riders.  Your drivers keep your riders safe and happy.  Your janitors and maintenance workers don’t get any credit in the public eye for their unseen work making the company run smoothly.  Your office workers keep systems in place that make the whole company function.

Employee Appreciation Day is March 4, so we have rounded up some ideas to recognize the amazing work your employees do.

Transit Employee Appreciation Day: Employee Thank You

Employee Recognition

18 Creative Employee Recognition Idea (from TinyPulse)

From simple handwritten thank you notes to singing your employees praises on social media, sometimes just saying “thank you” is enough.  This list also has ideas for prizes, hack days, and surprise treats.

Themed Events

10 Theme Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day (from Baudville)

Here’s a list of 10 themes, like Office Olympics, Rock on! (, and Smells Like Team Spirit, to create a fun office party.

Gift Ideas

Here are some gift ideas for:

Bus Drivers (from Cafepress)

Bus Drivers (from Etsy)

Train Drivers (from Cafepress)

Train Drivers (from Etsy)

Ideas for the Whole Year

Don’t let your employees feel like Employee Appreciation Day is an obligatory yearly hassle for you.  Let your employees know you appreciate them all year long.

1. Have an office party for each employee’s birthday or, in a larger company, a party once a month celebrating all of the birthdays that month.

2.  Put up a poster that shows exactly how employee contributions are making the company better.  It can be a chart showing each person’s place in the system and regular updates on company profits, days without an accident, decreasing customer service complaints and increasing compliments.  Add the thank you notes from the charity to which your company donated and pictures of the summer employee BBQ.  Make it a one stop shop for everyone to see that their contributions matter in the larger picture.

3. Keep a jar in a central location where employees can drop each other thank you notes.  Read these notes out loud in meetings or post them (with permission) on social media along with a picture of the employees.

We’d love to hear what you are doing this year to say “thank you” to your employees!  Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and share your stories and pictures.

Transit News Round Up: Latest Industry Updates

Transit News by AddTransit

Every day we find transit news that is relevant and useful to you. But if you missed these daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Linkedin, you can find them all here in one place each week!

Here’s what happened in the transit world last week:

BUSES

Library in Bus Opens at Knowle West School

When this small school didn’t have enough dedicated library space in its building, they turned a red double decker bus into a library. that even has wifi.   They kids sure seem to love it!

 

First Driver-less Shuttle Bus Hits Public Roads

The WePods driverless bus had a test run on public roads last week.  It goes a maximum speed of 25 kilometres and will soon have cameras, lasers, GPS and radar.

 

This Story of a Bus Driver’s Act of Kindness is Cheering up Ireland

A bus driver’s simple act of tying an elderly woman’s shoelace has inspired many people to be more kind.   William Harris of Bus Éireann in Cork, Ireland also inspired people to share stories of other bus driver who had done kind deeds.   We want to hear lots more of these stories for Transit Driver Appreciation Day on March 18th.  Check back here for the chance to nominate your bus driver for a prize.

 

Rockville Takes a Fresh Look at Bus Transit

While this is specific to the city of Rockville, it does bring up some areas that are challenges for many bus companies.  How smaller companies can compliment, rather than compete, with the larger routes.  making long-range plans, the cost of tunnels, and securing funding.

Transit News Round Up: Latest Industry Updates

TRAINS

Communters Praise ‘Best Ever’ Train Driver Who Conducts Morning Quiz Over the Tannoy

This train driver makes the morning commute fun for his riders by telling jokes and asking quiz questions over the PA system of the train.  Passengers tweet the answers to the quiz questions with the hashtag #timetunneltrain.

 

Record Budget for Israel Railways

Israel now has a budget of 2.3 billion shekels to improve electrification, provide new signalling, and increase the number of passenger trains in the country.

 

Royal Mail’s Secret Underground Railway to Open to the British Public

The railway use d to transport 4 million parcels a day.  Now it is being reopened as a heritage site by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 

PUBLIC TRANSIT

Hyperloop: MIT Students Win Contest to Design Elon Musk’s 700mph Travel Pods

The Hyperloop is a ground transport concept that will connect people from one major city to another.  MIT and other top ranking teams will build their pods and test them at the first Hyperloop test track.

 

5 Ideas we Need to Steal from Mega cities that Have Great Subways

From rethinking traffic design to better technology to more sustainability, some cities are doing a great job with public transit.

 

World Economic Forum’s 10 Commandments to Deal with the Urban Mobility Challenge

Changing demographics and social preferences are changing the needs of urban mobility.  Communication, leveraging existing infrastructure, mobility grids and more ideas to help “people meet their needs in the most efficient and effective ways possible.”

 

I Love Transit: An Interview with Brent Toderian

Brent Toderian is the city of Vancouver’s former Chief City Planner and urbanism consultant around the world.   In this interview, he talks about why he loves transit, his earliest memories of transit, and his excitement about how transit fits into a multimodal city.

 

OTHER

11 Emerging Technologies That Could Have Major Impacts on Transportation

Among the technologies are the hyperloop and materials science in infrastructure.  Amazing ideas that could transform how we travel!

 

Let us know what you think about any of these stories!

Valentine’s Day Romance on Buses and Trains

Valentine’s Day is a great day to express your love for your loved ones, and we think the best expressions are often on transit!  Here are some sweet past expressions of love that took place on buses and trains that will inspire you this year.

Valentine's Day Romance on Public Transit 2016

Vancouver Bus Stop Poster Starts Married Couple on Journey to Beautiful Love

This couple met when Elsa saw John’s smiling face on a United Gospel Mission poster at the bus stop and it prompted her to volunteer.   While she was volunteering, she got to meet John in person, and that was the beginning of their romance.  It just goes to show that you never know who you might meet at the bus stop…. even if it’s just their picture.

 

South Station Romance Stories

Nick proposed to Dinah at the bus station with an engagement ring in a breath mint box.  He says he “needed a moment that would have some romance to it when she absolutely would not see it coming, and that is where South Station fit perfectly.”

 

Bus Stop Romance

Last year, Steve and Roberta shared that they were celebrating their 20th anniversary after meeting on the bus and spending much time together during subsequent rides.   Read more stories about love on the bus!

 

Get Inspired This Valentine’s Day

Watch this sweet video of Adam proposing to Lucy on the train, after hiring the Adam Street Singers to sing Lovely Day to her.

 

Do you have a story of romance on transit to share?  We’d love to hear it!  You can post it in the comments on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ or email us at emstrength@addtransit.com and we’ll blog your story.

 

 

 

 

Your Customers Expect Real Time Status Updates

Real Time Status Updates….

Customers expect Real Time Status updates

You know others are doing it.

But yes…. you’ve been putting it off.

You are fearful.  There’s a cost. People, systems and reputation.   So it’s been left to another day, another month, another year…

So what to do???  Let’s review each of these fears and see if we can turn these fears into an opportunity.

Your passengers/customers

Your customers and passengers are now expecting real time status updates.  They are tracking their parcels in real time across the globe.  They know if their Amazon book has left the warehouse, if their E-bay dress is in transit or if their pizza is just about to be delivered.  Their use of paper based maps for driving is now a increasingly historical novelty and GPS enabled smartphones is commonplace.  A decade ago it was normal not to know when things would arrive.  But now, not providing that information is seen as poor customer service.

Your team

Your team are already providing realtime status updates.  They do it by phone in the call center, at customer service centers, at stops/stations/ports and on vehicle.  However, this is a drain on your resources.  Imagine if customers/passengers could self-serve and obtain this information themselves.  This would free up your team.  They could focus on sales, upsell, and safety and instead of many team members providing best-effort updates, real time status updates allow you to ensure the right person provides the right information in the most efficient and cost effective way.

Realtime Status Systems and Software

In the past realtime status systems and software meant a massive cost investment.  Electronic signage was installed at key stops. Televisions and automated voice announcements were programmed.  Networking all these together was horrendously complicated.  And then if you wanted on vehicle realtime status systems you had to install triggers to let the vehicles know which stops had been passed and communications throughout the vehicles so all passengers could view the updates.

Luckily this huge cost outlay is no longer required.  With commuters now carrying smartphones, AddTransit can help you publish realtime status updates online.  This is a great opportunity as commuters care more about their journey, than the vehicles journey. Online realtime status updates are like Pizza delivery tracking.  You want to know how long it is until the pizza arrives at your house.  You don’t want to know all houses that the driver will delivering pizza to.  Online realtime status updates allow passengers to focus on just the information that is important to them, without being bombarded by updates that are irrelevant to their journey.  Real time status updates gives you the opportunity to provide passengers a personalized customer experience.

Your reputation

The other fear is the reputation.  The concern is that if your vehicles are late, you’ll be publishing this information for all to see.  This actually is a false fear.  Knowing that the vehicle is late allows passenger confidence in the system to rise, as now you have provided them with additional information giving them the opportunity to adjust their schedules.   Of course you’ll be looking for ways to improve on the service and minimise future delays, but in the meantime the real time status maps and apps will take the brunt of passengers displeasure with late services, and provide passengers reassurance for all the services that run perfectly.

The real time status updates opportunity

So the fears are false.  The opportunity is there.  The question now is poor customer service acceptable?  Or is it time to start real time status updates?

Find out more at https://addtransit.com/real-time-status.php

Or Join today and we’ll get you started.

Have a great day!

Cheap Vehicle Tracking Software using GTFS-Realtime

If you are looking for cheap vehicle tracking software, AddTransit is the right place.  Our smartphones apps allow you to track your vehicles and see their current position on a map.

Cheap Vehicle Tracking Software using GTFS-Realtime

So how does it work?

It is very simple, you just signup to AddTransit and then add each vehicle’s details.  You also add the users that will be allowed log into the system.

Then each of your users download the AddTransit app onto their GPS enabled smartphone.

Before they start to drive, they log into the app and select their current vehicle and their route or service. They press START and off they go.  The app keeps sending their location until they tell the app to stop.  Your smartphone is acting as a Vehicle Positioning System, but without the huge cost that is normally associated with such systems. Wow!

The vehicle location can then easily be seen in head office. If you enable GTFS Real-time (a standard that is for reporting realtime locations of vehicles), you can also make your vehicle locations available for your customers to see on internet mapping software such as Google, Bing or Yahoo Maps and journey planning apps.

No longer do you need to contact staff to find out where they are up to.  Your staff can concentrate on the safe travel of their passengers and giving these people a great customer experience.  Your passengers are even more excited as now they can know when their vehicle is approaching or is delayed and can plan accordingly.

Easy!

Have a great day.

 

Public Transit Conferences in 2016

We’ve rounded up Public Transit conferences for all of 2016!  Make sure to register early, so you don’t miss out on all of the great information and networking opportunities.

Public Transit & Transport Conferences

FEBRUARY

What: Reducing CO2 from Road Transport Together

When: February 16, 2016

Where: Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium

Visit the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association for more information.

#ReducingCO2Together

 

What: Legal Affairs Seminar

When: February 21-23, 2016

Where: Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAlegal16

 

What: Marketing and Communications Workshop

When: February 28 – March 2, 2016

Where: Renaissance Hotel, Phoenix Arizona, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAmarketing16

 

MARCH

What: IT-TRANS

When: March 1-3, 2016

Where: Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, Karlsruhe, Germany

Visit the IT TRANS website for more information.

#ITTRANS

 

What: Legislative Conference

When: March 13-15, 2016

Where: Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association for more information.

#APTAleg16

 

APRIL

What: Fare Collection and Revenue Management Summit/ Trans ITech Conference

When: April 11-13, 2016

Where: Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center, San Diego, California, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTArevenue16, #APTAtransITech16

 

What: Public Transportation and Universities Conference

When: April 16-19, 2016

Where: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAuniversity16

 

What: Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar

When: April 30- May 3, 2016

Where: Hilton Palacio del Rio, San Antonio, Texas, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAtbm16

 

JUNE

What: Risk Management Seminar

When: June 12-15, 2016

Where: Hilton Hotel, Albany New York, United States

Visit the American Public Transporation Association website for more information.

#APTArisk16

 

What: Transports Publics

When: June 14-16, 2016

Where: Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles, France

Visit the Transports Publics Website for more information.

 

JULY

What: Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop

When: July 24-26, 2016

Where: Westin Austin, Austin, Texas, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAsustainability16

 

AUGUST

What: Multimodal Operations Planning Workshop

When: July 31 to August 3, 2016

Where: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAmultimodal16

 

What: State Public Transportation Partnerships/ Transit Midwest Conference

When: August 14-16, 2016

Where: Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

 

SEPTEMBER

What: APTA’s Annual Meeting

When: September 11-14, 2016

Where: JW Marriott L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, California, United States

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for more information.

#APTAannual16

Add Google Maps Public Transport directions to Your Event/Website

Here’s the three steps to add Google Maps Public Transport directions to your website.

1. Check if Google Maps has Public Transport directions for your location

Click on the following link to find out if Google Maps has public transport information for your event’s location:

https://maps.google.com/landing/transit/cities/ 

If Google has public transport for your event’s location.. Great!!  Then go to the Example (step 2) below.

If they don’t have public transport for your event’s location. It might be because your public transport provider has not yet provided Google the data in the correct format.  We suggest you contact your public transport provider and suggest they get their data on Google Maps.  If they don’t know how or need help, tell them about AddTransit or send them a link (https://addtransit.com) and we can help get their public transport (ferries, buses, trams and trains) onto Maps.

2. An Example: Public Transport Directions Using Google Maps

Here’s an example of it could look. We’ve used “Times Square, New York” as the event destination.

Try entering Boston, MA as the starting address…..

 

3. Add this code

Here’s the code that you will need to add to your website.  You’ll need to modify the “Times Square, New York, USA” to be the address of your event.

<form action=”https://maps.google.com/maps” method=”get” target=”_blank”>
<label for =”saddr”>Enter your starting address: </label>
<input type=”text” name=”saddr” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”daddr” value=”Times Square, New York, USA” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”dirflg” value=”r” />
<input type=”submit” value=”Show Journey” />
</form>

Publish the updated webpage and that’s it!  Done!

Hope that helps and let us know if you have any questions.

Have a great day!

Get Fit with Public Transit

It’s New Year’s Resolution time, and one of the most popular resolutions is getting in shape.

But what if we told you that you don’t need to get a gym membership, buy a treadmill, or start an implementing an elaborate workout plan?  You just need to implement simple, consistent habits, and public transit can help.

You already have a way to get to and from work, the grocery store, and your kid’s karate class.  Your mode of transportation is a habit, whether you walk, drive or take the bus.

According to the book The Slight Edge, “There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t.”

You can make your mode of transportation serve you by also making it part of your workout routine.

In many decent sized cities, most people live about ¼ mile away from a public transit stop.  If you walk to the bus stop, then from the bus stop to your place of work, and reverse the trip on the way home, you’ll achieve a mile of walking per day.  According to livestrong.com, while walking one mile “a 135-pound  (61kg) person burns about 78 calories per mile, while a 165-pound (75kg) person burns about 96 calories during a walk of the same speed and length.”

If 96 calories doesn’t sound like much to you, you can do a few things to increase that number. Walking faster, walking up hills, and adding light hand weights are all ways to burn more calories.

Of course, getting fit isn’t just about burning calories.  Increasing flexibility improves circulation and posture, and reduces stress and risk of injury.  You can do cat-cow poses, tree poses, and shoulder shrugs right on the bus or train.

That walk to and from the public transit stop will also get you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which can be especially hard if you work during all of the winter daylight hours.  Sunshine is thought to cause your brain to release a hormone called serotonin, which can help ward off depression.  Sunshine also causes your body to create vitamin D, which is important for bone health.

While using your public transit trip as your workout routine might not prepare you for the Olympics or give you the physique of a body builder, it does have the benefits of being easy to implement.  Often our elaborate plans sound great on paper, but our motivation quickly fades.  Implementing small steps, consistently, as part of a larger habit, is key to making lifestyle changes that actually stick long term.

If you’re already taking public transit, that’s a great start!  If not, get your local bus or light rail schedule and start getting healthier today.