Only High-Income Riders Rely on Twitter for Transit Info, Study Says

A recent study by the Transit app reveals which communications methods are the most and least effective at reaching demographic groups representative of transit riders.

January 20, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Regional Transit

Casey Shields / Shutterstock

A new report by the Transit app examines the reach of communications channels—e.g., the Transit app, social media, emails, etc.—in reaching transit riders with critical information like service changes, fare payment, and mask mandates. The findings inspire a provocative headline for a blog post explaining the report's findings: "Transit Twitter isn't real life."

When communication channel reach is sorted by income and race in the United States, social media and public meetings fail the equity test of reaching representative populations of riders. Apps, signage, and customer support phone lines, it turns out, are more effective for reaching low-income riders and people of color.

For example, "social media is 3.5x more popular with high-income riders than low-income riders," according to the article. Twitter is the least representative of all: "High-income riders were 7.8x more likely to use Twitter for transit information than low-income riders and 2.1x more likely to use Instagram, whereas Facebook had a near-even split."

The communications findings are a component of the Transit app's larger quarterly Rider Happiness Benchmarking survey, which surveyed 21,000 transit riders across United States about their public transit experience. 

A lot more detail on effective, equitable transit communications are included in the source article linked below.

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