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Citizens Connect: Commuters as extra eyes for T

For all the flack the MBTA took over winter service, GM Rich Davey is now building on his strong customer service reputation with more user-friendly apps.    

For all the flack the MBTA took over winter service, GM Rich Davey is now building on his strong customer service reputation with more user-friendly apps.

The T will soon launch a service similar to Boston’s award winning Citizens Connect app, which allows residents to submit smart-phone photos of small problems such as burnt out light bulbs or graffiti so they can be fixed faster.

Commuter Connect will be available in the coming weeks.

“I told the mayor I have no problem stealing good ideas from the City of Boston,” Davey said, adding a picture is worth 1,000 words.

“Someone told me we use 100 different light bulbs on the system,” he said. “So if someone tweets us that a light bulb is out it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the right light bulb.

“With this we can get the right crew out with the right part.”

While the city spent $25,000 up front on Citizen Connect, the T’s version will be made by third-party app developers who also created real-time bus and train info apps at no cost to the T.
Commuter Connect could be incorporated into existing real-time apps. The program also fits into Davey’s initiative to respond to 95 percent of customer complaints within five days.

“We have heard too frequently that when people call they don’t hear anything back,” he said. “Or they are not acknowledged that they’ve been heard.”

 
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