Insights

Inside public transit in Canada and Twitter

By Michelle Slater
Wednesday, 1 November 2017

For the millions of Canadians who use public transit on a daily basis, Twitter has become a top source to learn #WhatsHappening on Canada’s roads, train tracks and subway tunnels.

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Here are 10 facts about public transit in Canada and Twitter. All facts are based on data gathered by Twitter Canada on October 23, 2017.

Fact #1: @TTCnotices is the most-followed transit account in Canada with more than 349,000 followers.

Fact #2: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary all boast local transit accounts with more than 100,000 followers

  • Calgary - Calgary Transit (@CalgaryTransit)
  • Montreal - STM English (@stminfo)
  • Montreal - STM French (@stm_nouvelles)
  • Toronto - TTC (@TTCnotices)
  • Vancouver - Translink (@TransLink)

 

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Fact #3: These were the 10 most mentioned Canadian public transit accounts on Twitter between October 23, 2016 and October 23, 2017

  1. Translink (@TransLink) - Greater Vancouver Area
  2. TTC - Customer Service (@TTChelps) - Toronto
  3. Calgary Transit (@CalgaryTransit)
  4. GO Transit (@GOTransit) - Greater Toronto Area
  5. TTC - Service Notices (@TTCnotices) - Toronto
  6. OC Transpo (@oc_transpo) - Ottawa
  7. Halifax Transit (@hfxtransit)
  8. STM (@stminfo) - Montreal
  9. Hamilton Street Railway (@hsr)
  10. Winnipeg Transit (@WinnipegTransit)

Fact #4: Of the 20 most-followed public transit accounts in Canada, Calgary Transit (@CalgaryTransit) were the first to join Twitter. This account has been active since March 2009 and has sent more than 142,000 Tweets over its lifetime.

Fact #5: Translink (@TransLink) is the most active public transit account in Canada, having sent more than 339,000 Tweets since the account was created in July 2009. Here is a list of the 10 most active accounts in Canada, in terms of Tweets sent:

  1. Translink (@TransLink) - Metro Vancouver
  2. TTC - Customer Service (@TTChelps) - Toronto
  3. Calgary Transit (@CalgaryTransit)
  4. TTC - Service Notices (@TTCnotices) - Toronto
  5. GO Transit (@GOTransit) - Greater Toronto Area
  6. OC Transpo (@OC_Transpo) - Ottawa
  7. YRT/Viva (@YRTViva) - York Region
  8. RTC Quebec (@RTCQuebec) - Quebec City
  9. RTL (@RTL_info) - Greater Montreal
  10. BC Transit (@BCTransit) - British Columbia (province-wide)
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Fact #6: Twitter data can tell us some interesting stories about how the transit conversation ebbs and flows on the platform based on weather patterns, news events and transit development in Canadian cities.

Here is a summary of the dates with the highest volume of public transit Twitter conversation in five of Canada’s largest cities plus the factors that led to those conversation spikes:

  • Calgary - September 21, 2017 (Power outage stalls downtown CTrain)
  • Edmonton - February 10, 2017 (New report from Edmonton's transit advisory board make recommendations on how to improve Edmonton Transit Service for all riders)
  • Ottawa - June 26, 2017  (Riders react to Canada Day road closures and transit updates for #Canada150)
  • Toronto - March 31, 2017 (The federal government earmarks $1.8-billion for GO Transit improvements)
  • Vancouver - February 6, 2017 (Severe winter storms hit Metro Vancouver)

Fact #7: Many public transit providers in Canada leave their Twitter DMs open to allow riders to ask questions and received personalized customer service. From a sample of the 20 most followed public transit accounts in Canada, 50% keep their DMs open for all riders. This includes all six accounts operated by Montreal’s STM plus transit providers in Toronto (@TTChelps), York Region (@YRTViva), Quebec City (@RTCQuebec) and British Columbia (@BCTransit)

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Fact #8: GO Transit (@GOTransit) recently launched their #EtiquetteFail campaign, which included a number of Twitter polls about commuter “pet peeves.” The poll shown above was the most engaged promoted Twitter poll of 2017 in Canada with more than 52,000 votes.

Fact #9: Montreal has more than 452,000 combined followers for its local transit provider STM between its general French and English language accounts plus individual accounts for its four subway lines. The system’s Orange line (@stm_Orange) has the largest Twitter audience of the four subway lines with more than 63,000 followers and 3,100 Tweets sent.

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Fact #10: Many top executives from the Canadian public transit ranks are active Twitter users. Here’s a small snapshot of individuals you can follow on Twitter:

  • Brad Bells (@bradnbells), Director of Transit, City of Regina
  • Doug Morgan (@DougGMorgan), General Manager, Calgary Transit
  • Geoff Wright (@GeoffWright1), Commissioner of Transportation and Works - City of Mississauga
  • Josh Colle (@JoshColle), TTC Chair and Toronto City Councillor
  • Philippe Schnobb (@schnobb), Chairman of the Board, STM
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@Michelle_Slater

Michelle Slater

‎@Michelle_Slater‎

Head of B2B Marketing, Twitter Canada

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