Public transport | Twitter’s usefulness has been questioned in the industry
Once famous for informing public transport users about emergencies, Twitter is losing its feathers. The uncertainties associated with the platform – recently acquired by Elon Musk -, combined with the pandemic and the proliferation of options, seem to contribute to making the social network a less interesting tool in the industry.
Exo, the manager of commuter trains that also operates many local bus lines in the crowns, said for example that it has launched “a great reflection on the use of Twitter to inform customers in the event of a delay “.
An internal survey of more than 5,000 participants from an advisory panel “showed that Twitter is no longer a preferred communication channel for communicating disruptions in real time”, said a spokesperson for exo. , Jean-Maxime St-Hilaire. “These channels have lost popularity due to the pandemic and the availability of mobile applications for planning trips by public transport, such as the Chrono mobile application,” he analyzed.
Faced with this observation, the operator said it made the decision last summer to stop publishing disturbances in real time on its Twitter accounts. So, exo_Nord and exo_Sud accounts only publish customer notices.
Instead, we encourage our customers to use the Chrono application, which offers relevant information for the customer in real time directly in the application. The Chrono application also allows you to program personalized alerts for users’ favorite services. Customer feedback has been positive since this decision.
Jean-Maxime St-Hilaire, spokesperson for exo
Note that this application was developed by the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM), 10 years ago.
The coordinator at the Laboratory for Research in Socio-Digital Media at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), Jonathan Bonneau, said that transport companies will soon turn to a social network that will include more functions related to artificial intelligence. “Saying the green line is interrupted and then making updates is easy for a machine to do. That’s really where we’re going. If Twitter includes that, people will stick with it at least a little bit. But if not, one will take over. All artificial intelligence platforms are developing at high speed at the moment, there will be a lot of competition,” he judged.
In keeping with STM
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) said it was “monitoring the situation closely since the start of the uncertainties surrounding the future of [Twitter] “. “Before inviting customers to change their habits, it is important for us to understand the concrete effects caused by changes in the social platform, beyond speculation,” said spokesperson Renaud Martel-Théorêt .
Our preferred strategy has always been tool diversification and we will have alternatives to offer our customers, no matter what happens with Twitter.
Renaud Martel-Théorêt, spokesperson of STM
If it leaves the social network, the company points out that other ways of getting information will remain: its website and mobile, its email and text message alerts, its sound messages on the metro and buses, as well as the Transit and Chrono , to name a few.
Since January 16, STM has also been active on TikTok, which allows it to communicate with users in a more humorous tone than on Twitter. To reach the youngest, the company said it has “developed a strategy that addresses the specific codes of this platform and which will be activated in the coming weeks”.
At Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL), spokeswoman Aline Pinxteren confirmed that reflection on the use of Twitter is also underway, “given all the changes that this company has experienced in the last month”. “We only aim to rely more and more on Chrono, the free application developed by ARTM, by encouraging our customers to download it to receive real-time alerts about their favorite lines and stop,” he explained. -she.
A sign that Twitter is specifically targeted by reflection, RTL confirms that it will nevertheless continue to “strengthen” its use on other social networks such as Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, in particular.
Further north, the Société de transport de Laval (STL), said its use of Twitter was already “limited”. “This network is primarily used for press events or institutional announcements to be shared. It is not a primary broadcast platform for STL. Our notifications to customers, such as diversion alerts, delays or cancellation, is communicated through other communication channels, such as our website or our text message service on stops,” says communications advisor, Anne-Sophie Harrois.