Presented by Salesforce
Transportation leaders from across the United States are leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to improve experiences on public transit.
Colorful buses, trains and planes move riders across the country as they travel for work and leisure. In Los Angeles alone, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) estimates that over 370 million individuals pushed through turnstiles or boarded buses in 2019. The pandemic, however, saw these numbers plummet.
LACMTA isn’t the only transit agency facing challenging headwinds as leaders look to recover and boost ridership after the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, transit agencies are struggling to increase ridership.
To aid in recovery, state and local leaders are introducing fare cuts and promotions, while some are also looking to leverage mobility as a service (MaaS) platforms to support and improve rider experiences on the network.
LA Metro builds the Rider360 with CRM solutions
LACMTA connects riders to the sunny beaches of Santa Monica, homes in the San Gabriel Valley and the buzzing financial district of Downtown Los Angeles. In an effort to better support riders, LACMTA partnered with Salesforce.
“What they wanted to do was build a relationship with the rider,” said Geo George, a digital transformation industry executive for state and local government at Salesforce.
According to the now public case study, published on Salesforce’s website, LA Metro leadership set out to understand some of the common challenges riders face. One of the primary challenges that emerged was the inefficient nature of having to juggle multiple transit accounts (i.e. one for metro, one for LA’s bike share program, one for Uber, etc.).
“With Salesforce, they were able to build a customer relationship management system that basically turned that TAP [Transit Access Pass] card into a TAP account, and now you know who that rider is and how to deliver services and market to them.”
By pursuing unification, LA Metro Leadership was able to enhance the rider experience, connecting disparate modalities to create a connected rider experience. With the redesigned TAP account riders can quickly hop on their bikes, and make their way to the nearest metro station, from which they can take the Purple Line all the way to Pomona. Additionally, as riders reach their destination, their TAP account supports them during last-mile activities such as taking an Uber or bus.
“You can use that TAP card to pay for your Uber, you can use that TAP card to pay for your bike share, and use that TAP card to pay for that scooter,” George said. “Their whole focus was on putting the rider at the center and thinking about all the different services that the rider could use and then unifying that into a truly ‘connected rider experience’ and achieving Mobility as a Service.”
Next stop: A better future for transit employees and riders
With agencies facing revenue shortfalls, it can be difficult to justify another technology solution. However, there are actions leaders can take today to move the needle on digital transformation.
“You have to take it in stages,” George said. “First and foremost is having a transformation strategy, but more importantly, it’s about having key stakeholders across the organization aligned to a vision or a plan and then prioritizing key areas, maybe starting with the rider experience.”
As leadership works toward improving riders’ experiences, there are three key areas that George recommends teams focus on making transit services — safe, reliable and cost effective. Products should support these areas and enable employees to efficiently deliver on the mission and broaden relationships with key stakeholders.
“Having the right digital systems in place at the end of the day and meeting your customers where they are is key,” George said.
Discover how Salesforce can help your agency transform experiences on public transit. This content was produced by GovExec’s Studio 2G and made possible by our sponsor, Salesforce. The editorial staff of Route 50 was not involved in its preparation.