FixMyTransport helps people report problems with their public transport. It relies on a team of volunteers who we call ‘anoraks’, in a nod to their valued trainspotter tendencies. Could you be an anorak? We always welcome new volunteers.
As well as helping to moderate the site, FixMyTransport volunteers offer advice to our users on how best to get their public transport problems fixed, often going the extra mile to dig out information.
It’s an appealing role for transport fans: several of our FixMyTransport volunteers have a background in the industry, but it’s certainly not essential. What’s really important is an interest in people and problem-solving.
The team also take an active part in deciding site policies and future development. We ask for a minimum of just an hour a week, with all work done from home via the internet.
Don’t want a long-term commitment? You can also contribute simply by regularly visiting the site and leaving helpful comments. You may wish to subscribe to your local area, if that’s where you’ll best be able to offer advice. That way you’ll know as soon as any new problems are posted.
Meet our volunteers
Shaun became a FixMyTransport volunteer when we noticed that he’d been leaving a lot of detailed, and very helpful, comments for our users. We dropped him a line to see if he’d like to – well, basically do what he’d already been doing, but in a more formally recognised role.
Shaun says, “I comment on some of the reports that come in, and answer some of the queries that users have. I spend a few hours per week, spread out, so it’s usually only a few minutes to half an hour at a time”.
He particularly likes being able to use his own knowledge to help other people – in fact, it was being able to help others, while learning new stuff, that made him agree to taking on the voluntary role in the first place.
Shaun doesn’t leave his FixMyTransport work at the front door. “When I’m out and spot an issue, I report it. And if it’s appropriate, I’ll often suggest that other people complain about public transport problems via FixMyTransport.”
Shaun’s favourite journey isn’t covered by FixMyTransport yet: it’s Harwich to Hook of Holland, with his bicycle in tow. But it might happen one day: we do include inland ferries on the site, and the site is always evolving.
Peter finds most satisfaction in “showing FixMyTransport users the opportunities available to take their issue to other authorities. It is amazing how many people are frustrated by their public transport, but do not know who to turn to. We can show them the opportunities available and make it easier. It is great to support users and show them that they are not alone with the problems that bug them.
“I am currently reviewing our bus stop issues and encouraging users to come back to us with an update. They are a really quick win with most of them concerning repairs or the quality of timetable information. These are really cheap and easy to sort out compared to the provision of new buses or additional train carriages.
“The responsibility for bus stops and shelters is so varied and I am currently contacting councils to find out who should be contacted with bus stop issues. Some areas are really simple with just one email address covering a whole county whilst others are frustratingly difficult.
“I probably spend around five hours per week on the website. It expands to fill any time you have available to it but it doesn’t take over if there are other things going on.”
Peter’s favourite route (apart from “one that gets me to my destination in comfort and on time”!) is the Settle and Carlisle line: “It’s done amazingly. It is hard to believe that just 25 years ago, the line was under threat of closure.”
Paul’s top journey is one that makes you want to jump up from your desk and run to the station: “Travelling to the West Highlands on the overnight sleeper from London, waking up as the train heads out across Rannoch Moor for breakfast in the lounge car, taking me to Fort William then Mallaig for ferries to the Scottish Islands on holiday.”
Paul was already an active user of one of mySociety’s other websites, WhatDoTheyKnow, when FixMyTransport launched – his requests on that site reveal his deep interest in the country’s public transport systems. Like all FixMyTransport volunteers to date, we approached him when we spotted the in-depth and practical comments he was leaving on others’ campaigns.
He accepted, liking the idea of “being able to use my many years of experience travelling on public transport, pushing for improvements to help other people do the same.”
Paul reckons FixMyTransport work takes “typically an hour or two a week, although sometimes more – especially if there is a campaign which needs some research or correspondence to help it along.” Tasks generally include “sending help, ideas and suggestions to people who have contacted the team, and browsing recent reports and updates on the website to see where I can help.”
Volunteer work can be rewarding. Paul’s favourite aspects are “learning more about ways to improve public transport, getting appreciative messages from people I have helped, and finding and corresponding with helpful, interesting people – that’s both users of the site and people from the public transport industry.”
Find out more
Image credit: To the Trains by Nic McPhee, used with thanks under the Creative Commons licence.