Sometimes those of us in the tech business can get fooled into thinking we’re the only business where any real experimentation and innovation can happen. Of course, we’d be wrong, but here’s a great example of how the most seemingly mundane and bureaucratic organization can innovate, and (we hope) improve life for their community (aka customers).
Yesterday, AC Transit (a bus company that serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties east of San Francisco) announced some significant changes to their schedule. Among these were such unusual routes as a “senior citizen route” which (according to the news report I heard) stops at shopping malls, hospitals and nursing homes.
But the most interesting idea is the “Flex Bus.” This bus picks up riders at one of three locations in the city of Newark, and takes them to any (yes, any) bus stop they want anywhere in the city. According to an AC Transit spokesperson:
If you’re the only one on the bus when you board, the bus will drive off and take you straight to whereever you want to go with no stops.
I’m reasonably sure that this whole idea violates all of the traditional notions of efficiency in public transit. I’m also reasonable sure there was lots of opposition to the plan.
All of that because it’s innovative. It’s an attempt to bring a level of service and convenience to the community (riders, customers) that has never even been conceived in public transit. It gives everyone a whole new experience on the bus.
I don’t know nearly enough about public transit to tell if this might work. But I give AC Transit lots of credit for trying.
We in the tech industry love to experiment with new products, services and technologies to deliver better experiences to our customers. This reminds us that anyone, anywhere and in any business (agency, organization) can be just as innovative and can deliver just as unique a customer experience.
How innovative is your customer experience?