A screen capture of customers tweeting at Metro Transit.

Metro Transit launches Twitter account

Not all student customers pleased with Metro Transit's newest communication tool


Metro Transit has joined the Twitterverse to provide a new way to communicate with customers. As of Nov. 1, the transit company has been available via their Twitter handle, @HfxTransit.

"That's the way young people are communicating, and we wanted to have that means of communication available to them," Metro Transit spokesperson, Lori Patterson says.

"It's been a learning experience."

Student tweets

Dalhousie University student Alexandra Ticlea has been using both Twitter and email to communicate with Metro Transit.

Ticlea first reached out to provide positive feedback about one of their drivers, she says via email.

Ticlea says in some ways, it's helpful for Metro Transit to be on Twitter, and in other ways, its not. She was encouraged, via Twitter, to contact Halifax Transit over email or phone.

"Why be on Twitter in the first place if you're asking others to send their comments elsewhere?" Ticlea says.

Michael McGrath, an information technology student at the Nova Scotia Community College Leeds Street campus, also has issues with the way Metro Transit has been using Twitter.

"If they want to be benefited by their presence on Twitter, they need to respond to people and take complaints seriously, not just send them a phone number saying to complain there," McGrath says.

He says he got no response from Metro Transit the first time he reached out via Twitter.

"If Porter Airlines can reply to me within ten minutes and they have 17,000 followers, why can't Metro Transit reply to me ever, when they haven't even breached 1,000?" McGrath adds.

If Metro Transit would "revamp" the way they were using Twitter, it could become a very helpful customer service tool for the company, McGrath says.

Metro Transit says they do provide a phone number for official complaints, or feedback they need to investigate further.

Getting to school when the bus is late

"Depending on what time of day I have classes, it can take me from 10 to 25 minutes to get to Dal because of traffic," Ticlea says.

She says Dalhousie students are waiting to get on the bus at almost every other stop on her route.

"I don't really talk to [Metro Transit] when the bus is late unless it's ridiculously late," says Ticlea. She says customers need to understand tweeting at Metro Transit isn't going to make the bus show up on time, and that students need to plan ahead.

A long time coming

Patterson says it took about a year of planning before Metro Transit could launch their account. First, they had to wait for Halifax Regional Municipality to draft an official social media policy.

They also had to plan on how to use their existing resources to monitor the Twitter account. There was no budget to create a full time social media position.

Twitter duties switch day-to-day among people in the marketing and communications department.

Metro Transit also looked at transit companies in other cities who are on Twitter.

What's next?

Patterson says the next phase of their Twitter usage is to provide customers with disruption notices. They hope to help passengers better plan their routes or transfers based on information tweeted by Metro Transit.

She says feedback has been positive. Overall, customers are pleased they've made the decision to be on Twitter, and to open that means of communication.


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