Tuesday 28th Feb, 2017

Social networks play a big role during NSW storms

Flooding Transport NSW Info
Photo: Transport NSW Info

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance says public transport customers and road users turned frequently to social media for updates throughout last week’s extreme weather.

Constance on Friday said Transport for NSW’s trip planning websites and social media handles received record traffic during last week’s storms, which caused multiple disruptions across the rail network, and on roads.

“I thank public transport customers and road users for their patience with network interruptions,” Constance said.

“The challenge facing transport and road operators was greatly assisted by customers avoiding unnecessary travel and timing their essential journeys to take pressure off traditional peak periods.

“We appealed to public transport customers and drivers to turn to our websites and social media tools to find the latest service updates and they responded in record numbers.

“Websites were constantly updated around the clock with disruption information and links to these alerts were shared on social media in a coordinated way to give customers easy access to information in the channels they use.”

Trip planning site TransportNSW.info had 250,000 users visit the site over a 48 hour period – nearly double the normal number of visitors.

Meanwhile the Live Traffic NSW website and mobile apps had more than 482,000 visitors, about 20 times greater than usual.

The key benefit of social media, Constance said, was customers were able to play a crucial role by sharing with their networks Transport’s Twitter and Facebook content for roads and public transport during the storm.

2.2 million people saw or shared information about the storm on Transport for NSW’s Facebook page. 600,000 people saw or shared updates about flooded roads on the Live Traffic NSW Facebook page.

On Twitter, posts from Transport for NSW’s various network accounts regarding disruption information were seen millions of times thanks to more than 4,500 retweets in 48 hours, Constance said.

Tweets last Thursday, during the flooding at Bardwell Park, from the @T2SydneyTrains Twitter handle were seen about 174,000 times.

Tweets on the day of the track damage at Dungog from the @TrainLinkNorth Twitter handle were seen about 375,000 times.

“We have listened to customers about the way they want to receive journey information and increasingly they want that through mobile-optimised websites, apps for their mobile devices and social media,” Constance said.

“We now have apps on the market or in development for public transport, road conditions, public transport fares and accessibility.

“The way customers turned to our websites and social media during the storms to get where they needed to go shows just how great the appetite is for these services.”