Whistler Transit has taken its first step into the world of social media with the launch of its own Twitter handle @WhistlerTransit last week and one town councillor hopes it is the first step towards modernizing the service through technology.
The Twitter account went live on Jan. 7 and provides passengers with service updates, tips and transit information. Whistler Transit Ltd., will manage it on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with an aim to enhance customer service and responsiveness, especially during weather events that may cause disruption to the service.
Coun. Jack Crompton, who sits on the Transit Management Advisory Committee, said he hopes the foray into social media for the service is just the first step.
“For me this is sort of a toe in the pond,” he said. “It is not a massive thing, but hopefully it is a step in a direction we would like to go for sure.
“I really hope we can modernize — I would love to see live data — that is the direction I am pushing hard in.”
Crompton said there is software and applications out there that makes transit more usable and he hopes one day Whistler will be able to have access to things like real time bus status updates as a result. He added he would like to see the development of that for the resort through an open data process that allows “people with the skill set and interest to build apps for our community.”
Meanwhile Whistler Transit is also asking passengers to complete a ridership survey online between now and Feb. 15.
The survey allows BC Transit and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to gather information to monitor the effect of changes that were implemented in 2011 and 2012 as a result of a transit system service review. The results of the current survey are expected to help TMAC evaluate where to allocate future additional service hours.
Crompton said the feedback from the survey is very helpful for the committee to move forward with its decision making process.
“The more we can get from the more people and transit riders around the community the better,” he said. “We look at that information and we use that information to make decisions.
“We are fully aware that we can improve and we want to not be shy about receiving that information and the best information about how a transit service is functioning is from the people who ride the buses.”
Go to www.bctransit.com/regions/whi/ to access the survey. Those using smartphones should use the desktop setting.