WestCAT.org’s new look is one of several ways we’re hoping to improve the way our website serves you.  We opened a survey, advertised through our social media pages and on our website, to find out how you currently use the page and what changes you would like to see in the future. At the survey’s close, we had 17 total responses. Most of the riders who responded to the survey take the Lynx, JX/JPX or JR/JL on a regular basis. This follows the general trends in ridership overall, as these are our most popular routes.

Currently, the majority of respondents visit the schedules and maps section the most frequently, with a substantial group also accessing the Lynx route page. Respondents also noted that WestCAT.org is the primary place where they get our schedules. This new site will integrate the local, express, regional and Lynx schedules and fare information, so that those of you who take both local and long-distance routes will be able to find schedules of all routes in the same place.

More than half of respondents reported that they use our site to get news and alerts about the agency. The site’s new layout will bring blog posts about news front and center, so that those of you who use the site this way will have an easy time finding the latest information. For those of you who would prefer to get these updates in your inbox, we’ve also started an updates and alerts e-mail list; you can sign up using this form:

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Though most of our survey responses came through Twitter, more than half of respondents reported that Facebook is the social media site that they use most frequently. Just under a third of respondents use Twitter the most. This information will allow us to adjust our social media strategy to make sure that when we have service announcements or need your feedback on proposed changes we’ll be able to share that information in the most effective way.

We also asked what other features you’d like to see on WestCAT.org. We’ve tried to group the recommendations by theme:

Communications and Social Media
In setting up our new layout, we selected elements that would be able to re-size responsively when viewed on mobile phones and tablets. This will improve accessibility without developing a secondary mobile site. If you are experiencing trouble viewing this on your device, please let us know by e-mail.

Our “Contact Us” page includes an e-mail form that can be used to send compliments to our drivers. Include any information you may have about the bus and route number so that we can direct your compliment to the right driver!

Route Maps and Real-Time Information
Many respondents asked us about different kinds of real-time departure services. While we don’t yet have these services enabled on our site, WestCAT is in the process of seeking funding to upgrade our vehicle location system. This will include improved real-time communications systems, such as a more accessible real-time departure page and possibly a real-time map to show current bus locations. This upgrade will likely occur in phases as funding becomes available. For the time being, real-time information for all routes except the Lynx can be found on the 511 website. Information on traffic delays can also be found at the new 511.org.

We’ve changed the way we display our routes to include more information about the location of stops along them. New, interactive maps are available on each route’s page.

We do not currently have a way of broadcasting the status of wifi on Lynx vehicles in real time (such as a feed displaying signal strength) and do not anticipate having such a feature in the near future. However, we are committed to posting regular updates to our page when onboard wifi routers are out of service.

Online Purchasing
Online purchase of bus passes is now available through Clipper Card. Clipper Cards can store any WestCAT pass digitally, as well as cash value and other agencies’ passes. Passes and cash value can both be added online through a secure website. For more information, see the Clipper website.

Because the Hercules Transit Center’s parking is run by BART, WestCAT does not have the ability to alter the way that parking permits are sold. However, BART has included a pay-by-phone alternative to the website. Please see HerculesTransitCenter.com for more information.

Discussion Area for Ridesharing
For users looking to coordinate rideshares, WestCAT recommends the rideshare programs that partner with MTC, the Bay Area’s regional transportation planning agency. These include Carma, Scoop, Lyft Carpool, and the 511 Ride Match program; information can be found on the MTC Rideshare Website.

Videos of our Board of Director meetings are hosted on the City of Pinole website and linked to our Board of Directors page.

Featured photo on front page courtesy of WOC In Tech Chat Flickr