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CTDOT renews statewide sponsorship of Royale after year-long pilot

Becomes latest statewide transportation agency to grant Royale to all riders as part of investment in customer experience

February 22, 2024

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will continue to give Nutmeg State transit customers the Royale treatment, through a partnership with Transit that has provided the statewide agency with tools to guide, inform, and listen to their riders.

Customers across over 15 of the state’s transit service providers — including all eight CTtransit divisions, CTfastrak, nine independent transit districts, CTrail Hartford Line, CTrail Shore Line East, and the New Haven Line operated by Metro-North Railroad — will have another year of free access to Royale, which unlocks Transit‘s complete mobile platform designed for and by transit riders.

In February 2023, CTDOT partnered with Transit for a one-year pilot, providing customers full access to the app, including all lines near them, later departure times, and additional trip plans — all with CTDOT’s branding. At that time, about 39,500 people throughout Connecticut used the Transit app each month. As of January 2024, that number has increased 95% to 77,091 transit customers in Connecticut opening the app each month. And now, the pilot has grown into a continued partnership to improve the digital experience of customers across the state.

CTDOT created its very first dedicated customer experience (CX) unit in September 2021, and outreach events began the following May as part of its statewide Customer Experience Action Plan. In February 2023, the agency kicked off a pilot project with Transit that granted free Royale subscriptions to riders statewide. A crucial next step: eliminating the nuisance of needing exact cash or physical tickets by rolling out mobile ticketing for all CTtransit systems, integrated directly into the Transit app, in April 2023. Working closely with CTDOT, Transit also added five independent transit systems that facilitate the broader state network into the app, so that Connecticut transit customers’ mobile experience would reflect all the options available to them, no matter where they were in the state.

In June 2023, after completing these initial improvements, CTDOT released its Customer Experience Action Plan to the public, which referenced the start of the Royale pilot. Later in the pilot, based on the increase in active Transit app users seen by CTDOT, the CX unit pursued a 12-month extension of Royale. This vote of confidence from CTDOT echoed Transit’s established large-scale partnerships with other state and provincial entities like VTrans in Vermont, MnDOT in Minnesota, and BC Transit in British Columbia.

CTDOT’s customer experience collaboration with Transit has continued to grow. In January 2024, CTDOT became part of the steering committee of agencies behind Transit’s Rider Happiness Benchmarking survey, joining a group of peers that receives quarterly report cards from riders, including insights into rider demographics and attitudes. And thanks to CTDOT’s close ties to the state’s smaller transit districts, as of the start of the second year of Royale — February 14, 2024 — all of Connecticut’s fixed-route transit systems are now represented in Transit

Agencies that sponsor Royale not only give their customers a top-notch mobile experience, they also gain an arsenal of tools and fast-tracked access to Transit‘s teams working on app development, schedule and real-time information, user support, and partner success. Working with CTDOT, Transit’s teams have discovered snags in GTFS data before riders could notice them, and amplified the agency’s rider communications through push notifications and in-app messages, like when the app helped inform CTtransit customers in advance about the return of fare collection in March 2023.

CTDOT now has tools to provide more accurate data, solicit feedback, and push messages out to its customers. Its partnership with Transit continues to evolve with the agency’s needs, and help its staff do what they do best: run great transit service on the ground.

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