ETA Text Back Takes Customer Service to New Heights
Yet Another Reason Your Transit Agency Should Consider the Passio GO Rider App
A rider is standing at a stop waiting for one of your buses to arrive. Wanting to know exactly when they can expect to see that vehicle approaching, they pull out their cell phone, open up the Passio GO app, get the stop code by clicking on the stop in the app, and then text that stop code to a specific phone number.
Both the stop code and the phone number are also displayed on the physical bus stop sign.
They immediately get a reply providing the ETA of the next bus (or the next buses, if you’ve configured the feature to deliver ETA info on the next several vehicles).
Welcome to Passio GO ETA Text Back, yet another feature of the Passio GO app that keeps the comfort, safety and convenience of your customers front and center. Not surprisingly, ETA Text Back is a hit on college campuses with younger riders for whom texting is akin to breathing!
How Does It Work?
ETA Text Back starts in the Passio GO app, which allows transit agencies to define their routes and the stops on those routes. Inside Passio GO app, agencies will configure their stop codes (the unique identifier for each stop—usually a number).
Agencies do their route/stop setup easily through Passio Navigator, the “main brain” console of the Passio solutions suite. The web-based Navigator provides customers with full access to configure routes, route blocks, schedules, time points, stop locations and fleet information.
Passio assigns a phone number with an area code in that area (which passengers can save to their contacts for future ETA inquiries). When passengers text the stop code to that number, they’ll receive back the ETA of the next vehicle to that stop.
The ETA Text Back feature is a simple, software-only add-on to Passio GO, with no additional hardware investments or installation costs required.
What If a Rider Doesn’t Have a Smartphone?*
In the interests of inclusion, every rider on your buses should be able to enjoy the ETA Text Back feature, even if they don’t have a Smartphone on which to download the Passio GO app. And they can!
Given that stop codes and the phone number to which they need to text that stop code, are both posted on physical bus signage as well as in the app, all a rider needs to get their bus’s ETA is their phone’s normal texting function, which even the simplest cell phones offer.
(*Fun Facts: According to recent statistics, 15% of Americans still have flip phones. In fact, a 2019 article on PBS.org notes that flip phones—and other low-tech phones like the “Light Phone”—are actually growing in popularity, a trend driven by consumers who’ve grown weary of the constant connection Smartphones deliver.)
The ETA Text Back Format
There are several possible formats for the “next-bus-ETA” information your riders will receive when they text a stop code, but a popular one looks like this:
ETA for Washington & 5th (Stop 212)
Blue: 5 (10:15 AM) & 65 (11:15 AM) min
Red: 22 (10:32 AM) & 47 (10:57 AM) min
On a rider’s phone, the exchange would look like this:
Don’t Yet Offer the Passio GO App to Your Riders?
ETA Text Back is just one tiny part of what the Passio GO app offers your riders. Here’s the scoop…
Passio GO delivers real-time info to passengers, answering questions like When does my bus arrive? Is it on time? Do I have time to grab a cup of coffee before my bus arrives? Can I set an alert to remind me when my bus is 5 or 10 minutes away? (yes, they can…).
Agencies “Steer” the Passio GO Experience
Using our easy-to-navigate web interface, Passio’s customers are in full control of updating and editing routes and stops, and when they update any system details in our backend platform, those changes can be instantly sent to the Passio GO app for riders to see.
GPS data—including movement, change in heading/direction and speed—is updated in real time, typically every second or less, onboard the vehicle. It’s then reported in real time and immediately uploaded, via a data connection, to network servers, for display on:
- The Passio GO app
- Kiosk-style TV displays at bus stops, student lounges and transit centers
- On PassioGO.com for visitors who don’t want to download the Passio GO app
Passio GO’s Top Features:
- Alerts and messaging go straight to the rider’s Passio GO app
- Displays a rider’s favorite routes and stops, allowing bus-arrival notifications
- View all, some or individual stops and routes
- Riders can send feedback about transit service through the app
- View schedules, ETAs and real-time vehicle tracking
- View passenger load (for customers with Passio’s passenger-counting solution)
- Request & GO feature allows riders to request a stop at their location (when that stop isn’t one that’s always serviced)
Considering Adding a Rider App?
Smart move. Learn why it’s a smart move by reading our special report,
“7 Reasons Transit Agencies Need a Rider App.”)
Ready to offer riders the next level of customer service?
Features like ETA Text Back are one more reason why Passio GO helps you deliver the next generation of customer care. With Passio GO, you ensure your passengers never “miss the bus” by delivering instant, intuitive and user-friendly access to all the info they need to track route and stops—in real time.
Next Stop: Learn More!
Reach out today and learn how Passio GO and features like ETA Text Back can help you dramatically improve the rider experience, using the next generation of real-time vehicle-location tools. For more information or to request a demo, contact Passio at [email protected] or call 678-825-3456.