Rate-My-Ride: real-time rider feedback

Target Audience: Rate-My-Ride is an in-app survey available to all users who use GO, our step-by-step navigation and crowdsourcing feature. Specific questions are asked at corresponding moments in every trip, so riders can report on things like crowding, accessibility, OTP and more, at the very moment they're thinking about it. For riders, this makes it possible to communicate with their agency without missing a beat, giving them a way to feel involved and helpful. Agencies then receive data reports with these insights – tagged with specific stops, vehicles, and times of day – making it possible to investigate issues and take action on the granular level. We recently shared a look at the data in an industry webinar, to help the industry visualize this kind of ongoing feedback on a heatmap.

Strategy Objective:Rate-My-Ride creates a two-way communications touchpoint in the Transit app: agencies share schedules, service information, and more; riders share live and actionable feedback on the system. Instead of feeling antagonized by a ghost bus or an angry Tweet, our objective is to help riders and agencies work together. It's also time for more voices to be heard. As we explored in our 2022 report on data-driven comms tactics, feedback avenues like public meetings and surveys only reach a select group of riders. Transit's user demographics are representative of, and in many cases even more diverse than, public transit ridership overall. Integrating feedback in the app that millions of riders use every day eliminates friction, and makes feedback more accessible to all.

Situation Challenge: The effects of the pandemic and the labor shortage have exacerbated last-minute changes, the number one complaint of riders. Both parties are in a bind: under-resourced agency staff simply can't communicate every unexpected change, and riders feel powerless standing at their stop with no info. At Transit, we work hard to make it easy for agencies to communicate with riders. The natural next step is to make it easy for riders to communicate back with their agency. We recently shared Rate-My-Ride at a conference, and there were so many questions that we wanted to make it accessible to those who couldn't attend. In a matter of days, we produced a free webinar and resource kit to share how actionable data collection can lighten the load for agencies of all sizes.

Results Impact: The feature: between 75-95% of users who see the prompts respond, yielding more than 3 million responses every month, each tagged with specific stops, vehicles, and specific times of the day or year. More than 15 agencies have worked with us to include custom questions, collecting ongoing feedback on specific operations questions like cleanliness, on-board announcements, safety and more. The webinar: even with a quick turnaround, more than 250 industry professionals registered. In the 30 minute webinar, nearly 30 questions asked and answered live in the Q&A! The visual of rider feedback on a map helped concretize how agencies can target their efforts, and reduce overwhelm in responding to feedback and improving service.

Why Submit: How do we move away from governance by who complains the loudest? It starts by increasing the diversity of voices chiming in – rather than only hearing from those who have the time/inclination to complain when something goes wrong. When agencies are able to hear from all of their riders all the time, they can use that data to take decisive action. That's what we're building: a seamless channel where everyone can chime in. This way, we also hear when trips go well! Agencies deserve to hear when they do a good job, too. With the industry already short-staffed, ingesting more feedback can feel impossible. Rate-My-Ride makes it possible to replace anecdote with data and lighten the load on agencies, with a two-way street of communication.