The transit agency's strategy is for the "social media tools [to] be used to provide customers with timely service information, agency and system news, photos and also ... serve as a channel for the agency to engage in a conversation with its customers," according to a press release.
“These social media tools help bridge the gap in communication between the CTA and customers," CTA President Forrest Claypool said in the release. "Customers now have the means to receive timely service information for any unplanned events and the agency now has the means to clarify what’s really happening and to address any issues or concerns that are ‘trending’ across our system.”
Part of the social media rollout is the new CTA Updates, where riders can get information on any unplanned events affecting bus and rail service via a subscription text and email service. Riders will be able to customize the information they get. So presumably, if you're a Red Line rider for instance, you'll get texts or emails for any service disruption, as happened Monday morning when a CTA worker was injured doing track work between Lake and Grand.
Another social media tool launching today is the CTA Budget Ideas Board, a separate forum where CTA customers can sound off on the CTA 2012 budget and "submit ideas on ways the CTA can further improve efficiency, performance or reduce costs." Users of this forum can comment on other ideas and vote thumbs up or down on them. The top-voted ideas always will appear at the top of the forum.
It will be interesting to see how that one works out. It almost seems like the CTA is trying to keep those ideas and comments off its Facebook wall. But I doubt that will happen!
I'll have another report later this week after I've had a chance to see these new social media stops in action.