OC Transpo Addresses Customer Complaints in Reddit (of all places!)

I was surfing Reddit last night and checking out some local Ottawa posts, when one about OC Transpo's new Presto cards caught my eye. If you follow my Twitter feed, you will know that I am a bus commuter. I get my bus pass through work and have been curious about when we would be required to switch over to the new Presto cards.

If you have been ignoring the transit-related news stories, then you might not be aware that OC Transpo has been trying to get a new tap-card system working on its buses for quite some time. It was actually supposed to officially launch last summer but was delayed due to software issues. I even tweeted a photo of a Presto box with an application error message on its display:

Presto box with application error
So, in short, this project has been a trying one for the OC Transpo, the city and the riders, to say the least. It's still in a testing phase and the release always seems to be imminent, although they recently discovered a "showstopping" software concern.

Now back to Reddit: the thread that I clicked on was started by someone cautioning other riders who were testing the system to check their Presto balances carefully (the card works like a cash card) because he'd been charged for a totally different bus ride. Other Redditors jumped on the thread and told their stories of problems refilling the card or being charged the wrong amounts. And then, there was this part of the thread:


That's right, OC Transpo logged onto Reddit and commented on the thread.

Wow.

When companies think of monitoring social media and dealing with communications and PR issues, you usually hear them talk about Twitter and Facebook. Only Twitter and Facebook. But when's the last time you heard of some municipal entity engaging with its users on Reddit? Personally... never[Aside: the conspiracy lover in me wants to think that OC are playing nice with Redditors because OC is afraid that Redditors, of all their user groups, are the most likely to hack the Presto system. :]

Now you won't hear about this in the news, because I'm pretty sure that mainstream media has never even heard of Reddit. Most non-Redditors have no clue that this is going on and that's ok; OC is finding their users and engaging them where they are. Do you know where your users are hanging out and talking about you? Are you sure? Despite all of the setbacks of the project, this interaction shows that someone at OC Transpo is on. the. ball.

Kudos, OC Transpo. Most impressive.