Translink has been running a trial launch for their Twitter service in which they Tweet updates and respond to inquiries. I like this service, in one instance they tried to help me make the last train on time, it would have worked wonderfully if I had remembered in my slightly inebriated state to tell them where I was and where I wanted to go. I made the train nonetheless.

Another handy tool is that they update riders with reroutes due to accidents, power failures and as I saw today, weather. Let me explain…

I woke up today to the winter wonderland that I scoffed at last night when my phone warned me of snow. Adapting to the situation I left the house early to catch my bus. After waiting 10 minutes, I figured that even though the roads were slushy the bus arrived even earlier than I did and was already gone. I debated whether I should change stops since those buses ran much more frequently. I decided to stay put since the next bus should be along sooner.

To waste time I took out my phone and checked Twitter only to find that my bus wasn’t running it’s normal route because of the conditions. Awesome. I’ve now wasted 20 minutes waiting for a bus that isn’t coming.

I then did what any normal person would do, I went to the next bus stop where alternate routes are running. I felt good knowing that I had information that others waiting didn’t have. And then I felt bad, because what do people without mobile web do? Who will tell the old ladies that are waiting in the cold? I tried but they didn’t want to listen to me.

And why would they listen to me? I’m the girl that took off for a different route only to have a bus pass me by after I walked away. Here I was, between two different stops and the bus that the Twitter team told me wouldn’t be coming came and it was far too slippery to go running back to the stop. I guess the driver hadn’t gotten the Twitter update.

This raises the question of whether it’s better to be over-informed or not? If I hadn’t been reading the Twitter I probably would have waited a bit longer assuming the next bus would be on it’s way and then probably wouldn’t have been so late for work. But, if they really weren’t running buses down that street I was able to adjust accordingly whereas the old ladies wouldn’t know and would probably still waiting for that bus.

Opinions? Ever had a problem with the Tweets giving you the wrong information? Would you rather be overinformed or kept in the dark?


About Jen S

The purpose of life is to find humorous blog material
This entry was posted in Bus, Service, Twitter, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to SnowFail

  1. I’d be wary of any information received from translink through twitter. It’s already passed through several groups of people and it’s not always accurate.

    • Jen S says:

      But that’s the purpose of their Tweets, to inform followers of any detours and route problems. Accuracy is kinda the point.
      It’s way more accurate than random people just tweeting information based on what they’ve seen or heard through the grapevine.

  2. Hi Jen (and Jen’s readers),

    Thanks for bringing your post to our attention. We’re very sorry you didn’t get the right information at the right time yesterday – it must have been very frustrating to see the 27 go by after you’d heard about the detour from our Twitter team – especially given the weather. This is the first time we’ve received customer feedback that our tweets weren’t accurate, and our Twitter team took your post very seriously.

    Yesterday, as you likely saw firsthand, was a very busy day on the system. There were a number of re-routes and delays due to the snowfall and everyone was working to be as coordinated as possible. Given the changing weather throughout the morning, the field supervisors and operators had to make quick decisions based on road conditions. As soon as we heard about the 27 detour, our team posted the tweet. Since then, we’ve looked into the specific situation, and we can’t say for sure why the bus went by after the fact, but we believe that given the timing, it was likely that our information was premature and that the 27 you missed was the last bus to go by your stop before the detour went into effect.

    We certainly hope that this isolated incident doesn’t cause you or your readers to second-guess the information that @translink tweets going forward. The customer information team running Twitter has the best information possible, short of actually being out on the system – it’s not, as Ambient Skater suggests, “passed through several groups of people.” In fact, the team is the first point of contact for any and all issues that arise with the buses, SkyTrains, West Coast Express and SeaBuses from 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. seven days a week.

    Again, sorry for your frustrating experience yesterday – I hope your next ride is a smooth and uneventful one!

    Communications at TransLink

    • Jen S says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope I didn’t come off as unappreciative, because I honestly love the Tweets from Translink and can see how in most situations they’d be helpful, but in this one it was an unfortunate miscommunication. It happens, no system is infallible.

      I hope you guys keep the Twitter program around, it really is a helpful tool for those of us on the go.

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