SEPTA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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COMMUNICATIONS

Making information available to SEPTA employees and customers, about service and service changes, is one of the Authority's critical business objectives. Improving the way we communicate and the tools and options available to get information to customers is one of the most important aspects of our Regional Rail service improvement program. Paper timetables and poster notices will always be staples in our communication program but in the digital age we understand that customers expect and want rapid access to current service conditions delivered to them - via their phones and tablets - before they arrive at their station. Consistency, accuracy, and timeliness of communications, especially in the event of a service delay or emergency is essential and the Authority is working to build a diverse portfolio of tools - traditional and digital/social platforms - to address a diverse and highly mobile customer and employee base.


Real-Time Information

Real Time Vehicle Location (RTVL) Project:

  • Updated Official SEPTA iPhone and Android app, features Real Time Vehicle information for Regional Rail trains. Enhanced data provides customers with current information about scheduled service and in-service delays
  • RTVL shows real time vehicle locating information with updates on vehicle position every thirty (30) seconds for all SEPTA Regional Rail cars and about one minute updates for Buses
    • Improved display of current train location
    • Data from RTVL currently driving information displayed on AVPA signage, TrainView, and TransitView on SEPTA website and SEPTA Mobile App
    • New map and service information

TrainView

  • Data is delivered to Control Center, mobile apps, SEPTA website to display train location and arrival times for service on:
    • SEPTA operating territory
    • In Rail Tunnels
    • ON AMTRAK TERRITORY (Greatly improved information)


App Downloads - Since Version 2 Launched

Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. July TOTAL
iOS 8,244 9,014 8,244 25,159 11,999 9,398 7,482 8,113 9,314 6,479 103,446
Android 8,081 8,405 8,399 8,749 7,632 9,449 6,953 7,166 7,474 4,642 76,950

TOTAL DOWNLOADS (COMBINED): 180,396

SEPTA recently introduced a user convenience feature for the apps - automatic notification when a new timetable is available. Customers are now able to download the new schedule directly from the service message for easier access to route and service updates. Enhanced customization of the "Favorites" feature is also now available.

  • Apps perform well for normal service operations but issues arise when significant service delays occur
  • Manual adjustments required to reflect train annulments, etc., which can make it difficult for personnel when widespread changes occur as in severe weather events
  • App development team looking at ways to address


Social Media

  • SEPTA Social Media information personnel located in Control Center to facilitate delivery of information
  • All Regional Rail Line specific Twitter notices have been linked to @SEPTA_Social to maximize broadcast of service messaging
  • Campaign in development to promote availability of real time information tools for customers - Twitter, Ready Notify, Next to Arrive, System Status (Fall 2018)


On-Board Announcements

  • Control Center Dispatchers contact Crews to inform them about delays or Police related activity
    • Adding Control Center personnel to provide additional resources to relay customer communication information to Crews
    • Enables Dispatchers to focus more on resolving operational issues without compromising customer outreach

  • Conductors/Assistant Conductors relay information to customers
    • Special Conductor Communication Skills Training developed. Rollout of program deferred to spring 2018 to coordinate with introduction of SEPTA Key for Regional Rail
    • Working to establish critical balance to maintain safety while keeping customers updated - Ongoing
    • Keeping customers informed of delays over 2 - 3 minutes - Ongoing


Service Emergency Response Team Project

  • Service Emergency Response Team (SERT) Program
    • SEPTA employees with Ambassador experience are assigned to specific lines/stations
    • SERT Team members will
      • Assist Operations personnel at stations for AM or PM Weekday events
      • Assist customers with information or service alternatives as appropriate
      • All employees participating in the program have vests identifying them as SEPTA SERT responder
    • Currently 160 employees recruited to cover Regional Rail network - split into north and south teams
      • SERT members deployed to provide schedule and service information to Trenton Line customers relating to the Amtrak North East Corridor (NEC) track improvement project taking place between Trenton and Holmesburg Junction; to Wilmington/Newark Line customers in the aftermath of a freight car derailment: and they provided advanced information for customers traveling on the three Regional Rail Lines that will be impacted by the Southwest Connection Improvement Program work (August 4-19)