November 2, 2009

Why I love public transportation and hate HP

Public transportation. Source: George L. Smythe

David SparkWe all complain about public transportation. It’s slow. It’s crowded. It’s delayed. It’s boring. Public transportation can be miserable, but for me it’s not anymore. It’s not because San Francisco MUNI and BART got any cleaner or faster, but because they provided me with some information. They told me when the next bus is coming.

Using the NextMUNI or the Transit.511.org service, I can find information about when to expect the next bus. While it may be very costly or impossible to make trains and buses move faster, by letting me know where they are and then calculating an estimated wait time, it provides me with information to plan accordingly. I could take another bus line or grab a coffee and wait somewhere a little more comfortable than a bus stop. I actually enjoy taking public transportation because it gives me a chance to listen and watch podcasts on my iPod.

Restaurants do this as well when you put in a reservation. If they say 10 minutes before you’re seated, you’ll wait. If they say an hour, you’ll move on to another restaurant. By providing that little bit of information, restaurants are delivering great customer service. They’re empowering the customer with information to make an informed decision. They’re not leaving them in the dark. Continue reading