How to Turn Service Adjustments and Real-Time Disruption Management into Passenger and Employee Gold

How to Turn Service Adjustments and Real-Time Disruption Management into Passenger and Employee Gold

There’s nothing worse than taking public transit and then having the trip delayed or disrupted due to weather, traffic, special events, or unexpected detours. It’s especially frustrating when service disruptions go unexplained, both in terms of why and for how long.

Employees face a similar experience: with little information or power, they’re left to constantly guess at a response or escalate issues to their supervisors, raising their frustration levels.

This was the situation the team at Saskatoon Transit found themselves in. The company was already using Vontas OnTransit, which includes Vontas OnRoute Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) for buses to improve operational visibility. But they hadn’t yet upgraded Vontas OnRoute to take advantage of the latest functionality.

They realized that their employees needed more proactive tools that allowed them to quickly visualize, internalize, and respond to service disruptions and communicate real- time information to passengers about unexpected delays and detours.

By migrating to Vontas OnRoute, Saskatoon Transit provided the tools needed for success. Employees now have real-time data, enabling them to quickly respond to complaints with confidence—without escalation to a supervisor. And customers have real-time information for better trip planning and a more relaxing ride.

Employees: Make service adjustments on the fly with Vontas OnRoute and empower them to better serve customers

Let’s take an example: A passenger at stop 8111 expects bus 898 to arrive at 10:05. But the bus doesn’t arrive until 10:20, which—after the passenger complains—forces Customer Service to scramble to find a solution.

By upgrading to Vontas OnRoute with the new Real-Time Disruption Management feature, employees can easily create or modify services on the fly and inform passengers of changes as they happen.

Vontas OnRoute’s GPS-enabled real-time data and video view enables employees to see that bus 898 was at stop 8111 on time and provide that information to passengers, quickly closing the complaint without escalation or supervisor intervention.

In addition, as employees are notified of a detour, they can use simple point-and-click MAP in Dispatch functionality to draw the detour, and automatically push that information out to operators and passengers via GTFS and social media. Employees can also manage on- time performance (OTP) for key routes and corridors using proactive route monitoring tools. With real-time visibility into bus issues, they can fix issues before they become problems.

Finally, with new trip planning features, employees can ensure reliable passenger service during unexpected or special events by creating additional or special services—temporary stops, a new route trace, or turn-by-turn navigation for the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT)— on the fly. They can also better relay changes to passengers by copying and activating historical service adjustments, pre-planning changes to long-term detours such as phased construction work, adjusting a scheduled detour to respond to unexpected events, or customizing a detour validity period to reflect changing conditions on the ground.

Passengers: Providing a faster, more accurate response for a more relaxing ride

Passengers can count on reliable service—and avoid frustrating delays—even during unplanned events. With all the needed information in one place, a guided process in Vontas OnRoute enables employees to create service adjustments in minutes. Passengers receive real information, not guesstimates, via GFTS and social media.

Passengers can also count on real-time information to help with trip planning. As employees cancel an affected service or detour, passengers are prevented from planning a trip that’s no longer viable. They get service adjustments as soon as they’re finalized, reducing uncertainty when disruptions occur. Riders can even locate the area of a detour and check real-time bus location using the Streetview function.

The result? Passengers experience less uncertainty, fewer delays, reduced frustration, and minimal wait times. And their rides are much more relaxing.

“Nothing makes people angrier than sitting on a bus waiting to go somewhere when you’re stopped so we’re working on utilizing OnRoute to maintain more consistent travel speed. We want to get to a more headway-based approach. We’re trying to change the culture with drivers and enforce vehicles being constantly in motion, rather than racing to the next stop and then having to wait and stop, which is really frustrating for a customer. We have a high percentage of passengers using transit apps on their journey, so time adherence by stop specific is becoming more important – it’s not just about OTP overall but being on time at each specific stop.”

James McDonald, Director/Saskatoon Transit

Learn more about how Saskatoon Transit gave employees the right tools and improved its change management culture—and the passenger experience—by migrating to Vontas OnRoute.

Read the Case Study

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