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Inside Track

Why we say “Please do not share track numbers”

January 21st, 2016  |  Published in announcements, Inside Track

The short answer:

  • you’d get messages about trains you don’t ride
    and
  • you’d lots of duplicate messages

Read on…

Between Hoboken and NY Penn (or for LIRR people: Atlantic and NY Penn)….there are many trains leaving the terminal each night. However, Clever Commute communities are by route…and not by terminal.
Therefore, if people started posting track numbers for every train, two things would happen

  1. you would messages about all trains…all night long
  2. you would get messages about trains at both stations

The result?

  • messages you can NOT use (e.g., not your train)
  • confusion about which terminal?
  • duplicates messages

In that vein, with tens of thousands of commuters in our network, it quickly becomes untenable when people ask questions such as

Did the 5:58 leave yet?
-or-
What track is the 6:08 on?

Therefore, our technology will automatically suppress ask messages such as those…in order to avoid a mail storm

I don’t mean to be sales-y…but we do indeed offer an automated track-number delivery service (text, e-mail or both)…for only the trains you ride.
Remember: Once the track number has been delivered to your phone, you have that info even after it’s been removed from the departure board.
We also have technology which predicts your track number. See it all here: clevercommute.com/landing

 

Getaway Day Advice: Thanksgiving, 2015

November 22nd, 2015  |  Published in announcements, Inside Track

As a service to commuters, we provide this getaway advice for those who are exiting NYC (via public transit) for the Thanksgiving holiday. Read on for: 

  1. A look back at 2014: “What happened on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving last year?
  2. Clever Commute’s “FIVE T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on get-away day.

(1) What happened on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving last year?

Commuter Trains Summary 

  • As usual, train riders from Grand Central had an easier “go” of things versus NY Penn Station riders
  • NY Penn Station riders reported crowds as early as 12:25 PM
  • Trains were most crowded between 3:00 and 4:00 PM 

Bus Summary – A few PABT departure delays in the 4:00 hour…but overall, a surprisingly good commute. 

——

(2) Clever Commute’s “FIVE T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on get-away Wednesday for Thanksgiving, 2015:

1. Tickets – tickets..TicketsTICKETSGet them early!
If you or your traveling companion will need a ticket, get it BEFORE Wednesday afternoon. Lines are loooooong on get-away days.
HINT: NJ Transit now has an app for tickets. So does NY Waterway! See your app store for details. 

2. Timing is crucial
We expect this year’s commuting pattern to be similar last. So please see the re-cap above. 

3. Timetables and Schedule changes 
Visit your transit provider’s web site for up-to-date schedule schedules….including information about (extra) getaway day service

4. Terminal – Choose wisely
If it is at all within your control, avoid NY Penn Station.

  • NJT riders should consider Hoboken and/or Newark Penn
  • LIRR riders:  try Atlantic Terminal

5. Other Tips: 

  • Dress in layers – the terminal or the trains can be warm
  • Bring water/snacks – save time…save money. Plan ahead.
  • “Baggage strategy” matters – There is going to be lots of luggage around on Wednesday. Pick/Pack your bad early and lightly! 
  • Make your plan now…Do NOT wait until Wednesday  morning to start thinking about this.

Have a great holiday!

Correcting Payment Problems for non-PayPal users

December 5th, 2014  |  Published in admin, documentation, Inside Track, payment

If you are reading this post, then it’s likely that you signed up for Clever Commute using a credit card (and you do not have a PayPal account)
(see http://www.clevercommute.com/payments for more info)

Clever Commute uses PayPal to process all transactions (even if you do not have a PayPal account). In these situations, PayPal internally creates a Guest account to process your subscription. It all works well…unless there is a problem with your credit card (e.g., lost/stolen or expired).

When that happens, PayPal does not have a mechanism for you to update your credit card details. The good news is that by simply following the Clever Commute sign-up instructions, you can let PayPal know what card they should use going forward. When you use Clever Commute, we (and PayPal) will prompt you to pay for your subscription…and your new payment information will be linked to your existing Clever Commute account.

Correcting Payment Problems for PayPal users (business accounts)

December 5th, 2014  |  Published in admin, documentation, Inside Track, payment

If you are reading this post, then there is likely a problem with the funding source used by your business PayPal account.
(see http://www.clevercommute.com/payments for more info)

In order to get your Clever Commute account up-and-running, there are 1 or 2 steps.

(1) Ensure that you have a valid funding source for your PayPal account

  1. Go to PayPal and click on My Account
  2. Click on Profile
  3. On the ensuing page, click on My money
  4. Update Bank accounts and/or  Debit and credit cards to ensure you have suitable payment source

(2) Let PayPal know what funding source should be used for your Clever Commute account

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above to see My Money
  2. Click Update beside My preapproved payments
  3. Select the merchant whose agreement you want to change under Merchant
  4. Click on Clever Communicator, LLC
  5. Update the Funding Source to a valid payment method

Correcting Payment Problems for PayPal users (personal accounts)

December 5th, 2014  |  Published in admin, documentation, Inside Track, payment

If you are reading this post, then there is likely a problem with the funding source used by your personal PayPal account.
(see http://www.clevercommute.com/payments for more info)

In order to get your Clever Commute account up-and-running, there are 1 or 2 steps.

(1) Ensure that you have a valid funding source for your PayPal account

  1. Go to PayPal and click on the Wallet option at the top of the page.
  2. Ensure that PayPal balance, Bank accounts and Credit and debit cards are sufficient /valid to cover the cost of your subscription

(2) Let PayPal know what funding source should be used for your Clever Commute account

  1. Click on the settings (gears) icon at the top right corner of the PayPal home page
  2. Look for Payment settings on the lower right side of the page
  3. Click on Preapproved payments
  4. Click on Clever Communicator, LLC
  5. Update the Funding Source to a valid payment method

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments

December 5th, 2014  |  Published in admin, documentation, Inside Track, payment

We love all of our customers. Maybe you have a PayPal account…maybe you don’t. That’s OK. But we just want you to know that (for your safety) PayPal handles all of our transactions.

  • People who DO have a PayPal account likely have one or more funding sources (e.g., credit card, bank account, PayPal balance) set up at PayPal.
  • People who DO NOT have a PayPal account – PayPal charges your card on Clever Commute’s behalf.

In both cases, PayPal will make the recurring payment…yet Clever Commute has no knowledge of the details of the underlying payment source. (we don’t know if you are a PayPal user…and we certainly do not know details such as “card used” or “card number”)

If there is a problem with your funding source (e.g. credit card is expired or otherwise invalid), PayPal makes a few attempts to collect…over several days. If PayPal ultimately fails at collecting the money, then the recurring payment goes into a “suspended” state…and the commuter loses access to The Inside Track. Needless to say , that is not good for any of us. So…how to fix it?

If you set up your payment as yourself (e.g. NOT using a PayPal business account)

If you set up your payment via a PayPal business account, then follow these steps

A shout out (literally)

November 18th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, NJT, testimonial

How about this testimonial…

My friend and I made the 5:43 tonight because of Clever Commute! We got to Penn at 5:49. The track assignment was off the board. BUT the track assignment was IN our text inbox. Making the train saved us our prepaid fee with our fitness trainers and gave us an evening of health.
Irrepressible and overcome with gratitude for your platform which has saved me once again–this time because of substantial subway delays–I exclaimed loudly as soon I boarded the train, “We wouldn’t have made this train if not for Clever Commute!”

More data = more options = less stress

August 18th, 2014  |  Published in announcements, Inside Track

What is going on: Our premium service, The Inside Track, goes well beyond simple crowdsourcing. Recently, we began rolling out new feeds of information which comes directly from NJ Transit, Metro North and LIRR.

Why is the info not in the subject line? (e.g., why does it say “[NJTT-NEC] New “Travel Alert” from NJ Transit”)
Short answer: Size.
We can’t control the length of these alerts…and they vary widely. To avoid chopping off part of the message, we put the “payload” in the body of the mail. We gave these messages a distinguishable subject (and differentiated them from subject we use for the free service).

 What you can do if you DO NOT want to receive all these messages:

We are pleased to report that you have at least 4 options.
  1. Be sure your time-of-day and day-of-week settings are accurate (to only get messages during your commute) (see how)
  2. Block these messages entirely by blocking the sender (see how)
  3. Block some of the messages by filtering by category (see how)
  4. Use your e-mail program / device to build a filter on your side (some technical skill required)
As a commuter once said: Commuting is a game…and you win it with information. Let me decide what I want to use.
We agree. Therefore, we make these alerts available to you…and give you controls so that you can manage the flow.

 

How to beat the crowds at Penn Station

August 15th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp, NJT

Here is a fantastic example of how a commuter can use The Inside Track to determine which track their train will be on…before it is announced.

In this scenario, it’s 5:58 PM and the rider is shown the track number for the 6:10 PMwith 92% probability (see disclaimer below).

The transit providers claim to announce trains “10-15 minutes prior to departure.” However, this train (announced 7:47 in advance) represents what we see based on actual data.


This example demonstrates the value we provide. If you were an The Inside Track user on this day you would have known your track assignment…

  • 12 minutes prior to departure time and
  • 2 minutes earlier than NJ Transit announced it!

Disclaimer: This is a real example from the Montclair-Boonton line on September 2, 2014. Probabilities will vary based on a variety of factors…and will change as scheduled departure time nears. Always confirm that you are on the proper train.


Step 1 – [5:56 PM] Arrive at Penn Station

CleverCommuteYouArriveAtPenn
Here is a view of the NJ Transit departure board.

Nope…the train is not posted yet


Step 2 – [5:58 PM] Check The Inside Track

CleverCommuteDepartureBoard

Since we get our departure board data from the transit providers, it’s no surprise that we don’t list the track number yet, either.

But you can click through on that last column…


Step 3 [5:58 PM] – Your Track Number Prediction…with supporting data!

CleverCommuteTrackPredictionDashboard
#1 – Your track prediction!
#2 – Track number history …as a pie chart
#3 – Track number history…as a table
#4 – Extra info…just to keep everyone honest 🙂


Step 4 – [5:59 PM] Still waiting on NJ Transit to announce the track number

CleverCommuteTrainStillNotAnnounced


Step 5 – [6:00 PM] They finally announce the track.

CleverCommuteNJTAnnouncesAfterWeDo


Optional Step [Anytime] – Browse the track history details for this train

CleverCommuteTrackHistoryDetails

We love to hear this

August 4th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, testimonial

Unsolicited praise from a user of our premium service:

a tremendous service for anyone who regularly commutes into the city