As a new user of CapMetro services, in the last 6 months, I have taken at the bus about 5 days a week to a wide range of destinations. In the course of those rides, I have become aware of the lack of sensitivity CapMetro has to the rider experience, especially in the area of planning and riding a day's worth of trips when arriving on time is crucial and/or there is a disruption in the standard route.
While CapMetro is very economical, the above two considerations lead the rider (we call a Tripee) to pick much more expensive transportation modes. The demand for timely, well-priced service is especially important in the Eastern Crescent because being on time is crucial for optimizing the utilization of scarce assets.
The need for a way to connect Eastern Crescent residents in their daily travel (to a doctor, healthy food, a therapist, a day-care center, etc.) There are many stories about being dropped off at the wrong stop, missing appointments, and unproductive trips which lead to people severely cutting back or giving up their use of the bus system.
The solution lies in creating a close tie between the traveler and the Cap Metro computers that store and transfer trip information from schedules and real-time system status events. in a way that is:
1. User-friendly, hiding the sophistication of the underlying technology and technical jargon,
2. Converses with the tripee through an always-connected conversation and can
3. Answer tripee questions involving potential trip changes.
This solution would use a technology known as chatbots which has been used for years. Lately, this technology has been enhanced so that a coder of chatbots does not need to have expensive traditional programming skills, can quickly learn the system, and can improve/edit/fix the system quickly.
The system is called "EASY" which means Economical, Accurate, and Simple for You.
This solution also calls for a close, interactive relationship between the tripee and the coder to benefit all tripees quickly from what is learned from recent trips. Selected tripees would be needed in the design process to recommend improvements in the conversation flow, identify the information they need and ensure the importance of a new function is understood.