Let’s face it, mass transit systems don’t seem very concerned with notifying passengers about delays. But fear not, a small text messaging group of commuters have expanded their smart system to benefit all those seasoned commuters in major metro areas.
CleverCommute.com was started by Josh Crandall a tech guy from Montclair, NJ who was sick of being out of the loop on train delays. He banded together a few of his fellow commuters who take the train from NJ to NYC each morning and started a text message exchange to serve as an extra set of eyes for train delays. Now if he gets a text saying the train is delayed from a passenger on an earlier train, he knows he doesn’t have to rush.
The best parts about the service are that it’s free, it works just like text messaging, and it’s not yet ad-supported, although Crandall is contemplating using ads to pay for future service expansion. Right now the service includes numerous train, bus, tram and ferry lines in the NYC area in addition to Beta services popping up in LA, Boston, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, London, San Francisco and DC.
An NJ Monthly magazine article that profiled Crandall asked if he is currently working on a carpool commuter’s equivalent of the system for highway traffic and other delays. Crandall said no because he thinks texting and driving is still too dangerous, but I have a feeling he’ll cave soon enough.
Think of all the money you’ll save using this service! Case in point, remember that time you didn’t wish your wife a happy anniversary because you needed to rush out the door to catch your train. Then the train was late, so you were just standing there on the platform like a dope. A week later your wife of 20 years said she wants a divorce. The lack of affection the morning of your anniversary was, of course, the main catalyst. Think of all the legal fees from the divorce you could have saved if you just signed up for Clever Commute.
Wow, they really should pay me a consultant’s fee for creating genius straight off-the-cuff marketing ideas like that.
NJ Monthly: Easy Riders, April 2008