Communication is Key

June 1, 2012
Involving the customer/reader/rider from the very beginning helps you understand their needs.

Somehow the year’s already half over and a busy half it’s been. Mass Transit TV was started a couple months ago to bring highlights of industry announcements and achievements to you in video. This fresh format gives us an opportunity to provide information in a new way that offers a creative perspective of what’s happening in transit.

And since we’ve launched MT TV, the amount of video we’re been receiving has increased, so keep it coming! Video is a great way to illustrate a technological innovation, to highlight a new project or to show the excitement of that big event.

Something else coming your way soon will be our annual Mass Transit content survey. We send out this annual survey asking a series of questions that helps keep us in tune with the way you view the content of Mass Transit magazine and

The survey will only take a couple minutes to complete and it helps us as we plan for next year, so we look forward to your feedback!

Here in Wisconsin, by time you read this we will have just gone through a recall election. One of the big things caught in the middle of all the controversy is public transit. While the bus systems struggled through changes that impacted their operations, the national coverage focused on rail as the governor of Wisconsin was the first to reject federal funds for rail.

Spanish train manufacturer Talgo had established a factory in Milwaukee and recently finished building the train sets purchased by the state. Within the last couple months, the state voted to not go through with those and to continue to using the current Amtrak Hiawatha cars.

When you ask people to describe a train, they describe what they’ve seen: the outdated trains that have been running for years. To raise the public’s awareness, Talgo held an open house this weekend and people came from near and far to step inside the true trains of today.

There was such excitement as people were reading about the trains, walking through them and talking to Talgo employees. There was this energy and excitement, even though the trains may never be running in this area due to the political will.

But it reminded me of Port Authority CEO Steve Bland talking about the opening of their North Shore Connector. Or, pretty much anyone I’ve talked to that has opened a new line. There’s turmoil and controversy and then the day after opening it switches to people wanting to know when it’s going to come to their neighborhood.

It always comes back to communication and education. While I ride the Hiawatha line several times each year and the cars are quiet and comfortable, it’s hard to compare them to the recently built train sets. From the differences you see of the seats, tables, TVs, large bathrooms, to the technologies you don’t notice, such as guided axles, independent wheels or articulated connections, there’s just no fair comparison.