Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Transit Systems on Facebook

In the next move in social networking, many transit systems have begun Facebook pages to post information, news, comments, etc direct to anyone on Facebook. The Maryland Transit Administration is no different. They have had a page for sometime now, and having viewed the posts and especially the comments you can see the good and the bad of utilizing this technology.

It's definitely a plus because the information is very accessible. MTA does not have a mobile version of its website, so it's difficult to access it from a smartphone when you need to know if your bus is detoured or the light rail is running late. Facebook on the other hand is mobile, so riders can see the information if it's updated. So far, MTA has been on top of reliably adding information on delays and changes to its Facebook page. Facebook also lets the MTA cross list events or posts from other pages that may relate to information they are sharing.

Being on Facebook also lends itself to serving as a public record for how well (or not so well) MTA does its job. Comments on the page are both positive and negative. Riders do not hesitate to make a comment when their bus is late, or why there were no updates on service changes. They've also commented about great or poor customer service while riding the system. It forces some transparency on MTA to respond to the comments that are added to their page. Moreover, it forces accountability on MTA especially when negative comments are posted.

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