How CTA can improve Twitter engagement; follow example of other agencies

You may have read that the CTA has lots of haters on Twitter because it doesn’t really engage much with its followers. The CTA admittedly uses its Twitter channel to give riders service information such as bus reroutes or train line delays.

But it really wouldn’t take much to give a little more and interact with its followers. And the good news is there are some other transit systems that the CTA could emulate.

For instance, here’s a tweet from San Francisco’s BART system about how it helped a homeless veteran.

Also from BART, here’s a tweet with video about a couple who found love on the “Love Train.”

In our nation’s capitol, the Metro Twitter feed offers followers “free swag” and the chance to win a mini-articulated bus.

The Metro Twitter feed also regularly posts photos of offenders from surveillance cameras and reports when arrests are made.

And when a new CEO was named, the Metro Twitter feed helpfully provides a pronunciation guide for his name.

There are plenty of tweets from CTA riders wondering about delays or complaining about heat or lack of it.

All the CTA would have to do in this instance is reply to SB, “Thanks for the info. We’ll look into it.”

It’s really not that hard.


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  • 1. I don't think those who wrote the Twitter Haters column care about the SFBart* Simpson fluff. Do we really want to read a tweet about how Claypool saved some cat who dove into the lake during the Polar Plunge?

    2. The latter does show what CTA's problem is. CTA doesn't even respond with the "Customer Service" autotext: "we'll ask the supervisor to check into this" not that that is a response either. If either Customer Service or Mr. Tweet said something like "we just sent that car back to the shop to fix the heat" that would be a first.

    3. But clearly the attitude is "you paid $1.12 for a ride [as we count it], so what do you expect? This ain't Windy City Limo."

    *Note, these are from BART, not MUNI. It sort of is like if South Shore were tweeting.

  • The reason they don't say "we'll check into it" is because they really don't want to check into it. They don't want passengers to alert them to problems because it means more work for them than ignoring the attempts and pretending everything's fine.

  • I think the real question is, did they notify the motorman, or did they just complain on Twitter?

  • In reply to chris:

    The tweeter and you are operating under the assumption that the motorman could control it. The tweeter didn't say that all 8 cars were cold. Bus drivers have posted that thermostats have not been adjustable since the mid 1970s (usually in response to complaints that the heat was on in August).

    There is the intercom, but most passengers assume that if for if you are being mugged.

    The tweet, though, did give CTA enough information to investigate whatever caused the problem, though. But, as CCWriter indicates, it quit lying about do so.

  • There are dozens of times I wish I could send them a quick message about something I've seen, but since it appears to fall on deaf ears, what's the point. I've called their customer service number a handful of times, but seriously, you wait in hold for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Go to the CTA website, and send them an email. I always get a reply back, even if its not resolved.

  • In reply to mulder42:

    I've done the same a few times and usually gotten a response and sometimes a resolution.

  • I've seen some strange things on the train, but the other evening I saw 2 bozos step though the front emergency door of the car as we left Merchandise Mart station heading north. I figured they were heading to the next car, but no, they stepped into the gap between the cars just as we were winding through Hubbard's Curve, lit cigarettes, and proceeded to have a smoke. The idiots must have a death wish.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    Everyone knows you are supposed to do that on the curve at North and Halsted.

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