Making Public Transportation More Social

Nick Martin
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

On Monday the Tag team asked the community for input on how they would like to see Tag being used. We got some great ideas that we might still use in some mock-ups. In the end, we chose one that hits close to the heart of anyone who has to ride the bus to work or school on a daily basis.

transportation mock up image

The morning bus ride can be a somber experience. When no one else is conversing on the bus it can be intimidating to be the lone voice among eavesdroppers. Adding to the quiet is that just about everyone is avoiding conversations they know they can’t continue for the entire length of the trip because once the conversation runs out, it’s replaced with awkward silence and pretending to text friends on your cell phone.

Chad Shulz came up with a suggestion that might just be the best way to combat the anti-social mood of your morning commute:  

“When you’re on the bus you see everyone on their phones gaming, listening to music, reading news and not being social… Tags in public transportation (like a bus or train) could give you access to a short-term chat room for people traveling at the same time as you. Talk about the weather or the strange guy that just got on. Quick, easy and it can be anonymous.”

This sounds like a great idea! Particularly if you could join conversations beyond just your bus or train, and chat with others commuting at the same time. Chad’s idea would allow you to engage and disengage without the discomfort of squeezing every last ounce of small talk from a dead-end conversation. Since it’s anonymous, you would probably witness some pretty interesting observations from other passengers as well.

Take it to the Next Level

Adding elements of gamification might be a nice addition to Chad’s idea. Imagine checking in to certain routes or stops and becoming the “king” of that location. Maybe your idea of a good conversation is helping the person next to you. By offering passengers points for great tips to other commuters that could be used to rank participants on a leader board or be exchanged for reduced fare, everyone would benefit.

Do you have an idea for using Tag? Tell us on our Facebook page or on LinkedIn.

Recent Comments
  • James

    10/13/2011 , 11:17 AM
    Can you say Expensive; either via data plans or some sort of built in WiFi this is going to mean extra cost for the people using it or for you to maintain.what about spam, malicious use of this technology or illegal activities? Also, about tips, no single person can tell you the best routes because of the confirmation bias and selective memory associated problems during transportation (you cant be on both buses)Also both the term and the concept "Gamification" are stupid


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