Fun fact: the Bloor-Danforth Line in Toronto is underground and has no cell reception. But on an (above ground) stretch from Broadview to Castle Frank, there’s an ever-so-brief 60 second window in which riders can send a text, use data, rejig their trip plan on Transit, etc. It’s the sort of trivial detail only a local would know. But there are a select set of people who collect facts like these… in cities they don’t even live in. They’re the sort of folks who whip out their wallet at a party to show you their collection of foreign transit passes. They read the Weekender with sick fascination. They get excited when a transit agency in a city two provinces (and four states) over rolls out a new model of bus. Yeah.
Some of them call themselves “transit geeks” but at Transit... we just call them friends. And we want to hire one of those friends to be our first dedicated CommOps person.
The first part of this role is like the “transportation version” of a 911 dispatcher: instead of manning the phones, you’ll be monitoring Twitter and Gmail and other channels to find out where service (especially in our biggest cities, like NYC) is hitting snags. Armed with your local-ish expertise, you’ll help us send alerts, push notifications, in-app banners, and implement on-the-fly data fixes to make sure riders know what’s going on, and how to get home an alternative way. So when the next water main bursts in Midtown Manhattan and the 4, 5, 6 trains go down like dominoes — you can be MTA riders’ guardian angel
The next part of this role is administering “preventative care” by using your local knowledge to fix weird/obscure/chronic issues that affect users. Maybe the bus/train stop at the airport shows up at the wrong place on OpenStreetMap. Or maybe a transit agency is taking unusually long to fix a buggy GTFS feed. To prevent our users from getting bad trip plans and nonsensical transfer suggestions, you’ll liaise with transit agencies and Transit’s in-house data team to resolve these issues quickly. But the world’s transit isn’t on your shoulders here — you’ll have a community of Transit super users pointing much of this out you. You just have to systematize those (helpful) complaints so everyone gets reliably better data.
Monitor social media and real-time transit agency feeds for issues in key US and Canadian cities
Send push notifications and update in-app messages with disruption info. (You’ll have to suss out who’s affected, who needs to know, and how to manage the response with help from our Communications and Support teams.)
Help prepare and distribute local communications on ongoing service issues (e.g. the “L”-pocalypse; Blue and Yellow Line summer shutdown in DC; Salesforce Transit Center disaster in San Francisco, etc.)
Set up communications plans and checklists to smooth out the way we respond to disruptions
Keep Transit’s agency partners in the loop when we get tipped off about incidents; collaborate with those folks on a response plan (when required)
Build our Transit Super User program to support our @replying Twitter regulars; learn from them about how to improve Transit in their city — but especially ones riding in our busiest cities
Work with our in-house transit analysts so GTFS feeds reflect local knowledge about: transfers, station entrances, etc. and also help the rest of the team prioritize local issues
Work with our developers to build tools and automated processes that allow us to get more information to more riders, faster
Think strategically about the role Transit can play with transit agencies and build up better relationships with them
Work the off-hour shift (from home) in response to major disruptions in key markets, and manage Transit’s response in real-time
You can navigate your way around a GTFS file
You have been a daily rider (or could convincingly feign having been a daily rider) of at least a couple of the largest transit systems in North America
You’re an excellent writer: you will be asked to file clear, engaging, and succinct copy on a daily basis, so tight character limits should not faze ya.
You’re detail oriented: sending notifications to 100,000s of people a day means you’ll be alerted of typos, quick quickly!
Tech savvy(ish), self-starter sensibilities, etc. etc. — you know what you’re getting into by joining a start-up.
You’re fluent in English. French skills sont un big plus.
In your email you should include:
An answer to this riddle:
A rabid peacock has escaped from the National Zoo and is loose in Dupont Circle. This amply-feathered frolicking beast has forced re-routes for every WMATA bus that goes around the circle. To prevent the spread of peacock-borne disease, the Dupont Circle Metro station is now temporarily closed as well. Knowing what you know about Transit, describe:
How you’d choose which users get alerted
What channels you’d use to disseminate the news
What your message would say
How you would tell WMATA what happened
Compensation & Benefits
Competitive salary and stock options
Comprehensive medical and dental coverage
$1,500 annual mobility allowance. STM? BIXI? Uber? E-bike? Scooter? Going car-free is free at Transit.
4 weeks vacation
Apple laptop and equipment
Spend your days surrounded by first-rate teammates + the best view of Montreal
A training and development budget
Communal lunch-and-learn with free food on Fridays
Flexible work hours
We believe in the importance of an inclusive and diverse team. We welcome people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, orientations and backgrounds to apply. If you want to specify which pronouns you use, please let us know in your application message.
How to apply: Send your resume, response to our riddle and other relevant info to email@example.com.