Fun fact: the Bloor-Danforth Line in Toronto is underground and has no cell reception. But on an (above ground) stretch from Broadview to Castle Frank, there’s an ever-so-brief 60 second window in which riders can send a text, use data, rejig their trip plan on Transit, etc. It’s the sort of trivial detail only a local would know. But there are a select set of people who collect facts like these… in cities they don’t even live in. They’re the sort of folks who whip out their wallet at a party to show you their collection of foreign transit passes. They read the Weekender with sick fascination. They get excited when a transit agency in a city two provinces (and four states) over rolls out a new model of bus. Yeah.
Some of them call themselves “transit geeks” but at Transit... we just call them friends. And we want to hire one of those friends to be our first dedicated CommOps person.
The first part of this role is like the “transportation version” of a 911 dispatcher: instead of manning the phones, you’ll be monitoring Twitter and Gmail and other channels to find out where service (especially in our biggest cities, like NYC) is hitting snags. Armed with your local-ish expertise, you’ll help us send alerts, push notifications, in-app banners, and implement on-the-fly data fixes to make sure riders know what’s going on, and how to get home an alternative way. So when the next water main bursts in Midtown Manhattan and the 4, 5, 6 trains go down like dominoes — you can be MTA riders’ guardian angel 👼
The next part of this role is administering “preventative care” by using your local knowledge to fix weird/obscure/chronic issues that affect users. Maybe the bus/train stop at the airport shows up at the wrong place on OpenStreetMap. Or maybe a transit agency is taking unusually long to fix a buggy GTFS feed. To prevent our users from getting bad trip plans and nonsensical transfer suggestions, you’ll liaise with transit agencies and Transit’s in-house data team to resolve these issues quickly. But the world’s transit isn’t on your shoulders here — you’ll have a community of Transit super users pointing much of this out you. You just have to systematize those (helpful) complaints so everyone gets reliably better data.