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CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

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  • CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

    For the first time in 8 years, I came upon a non-operational station last weekend (Trillium in Berkeley, I reported this elsewhere, since fixed.)

    This got me to thinking that the CNG providers should all have Twitter feeds to report down stations. Probably best to have a separate feed for each station. Then, when a station is down, all "followers" of a particular station would be notified. In fact, as a follower there is a Twitter command that you can use to receive SMS notifications for certain feeds only. So, you could set things to receive SMS notifications of down stations, but not for the feeds of whatever rock band you happen to be following.

    Anyone know anyone who would be in a position to get this implemented?

  • #2
    Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

    I just point my phone to cngprices.com and the mobile version appears in the browser. If a station is down you can simply click the link and report it to everyone and then scroll down for the next closest station. I think Trillium monitors this site ("Jennifer" here at CNGchat), as well as Questar ("old man" here)... not sure if CE or others monitor the web site. It has been a lifesaver. Thanks, Todd!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

      As a matter of fact, I reported the station down to cngprices which had shown it working.

      I think a Twitter feed would be superior in a number of respects.

      First, if the cng companies update, that's much more reliable than an update from an unhappy customer that arrives at the broken station. The company will usually be the first or second person to know, so the notification will likely be earlier than waiting for a person who happens to be together enough to use their mobile we browser and update cngprices.com.

      Second, Twitter is push, so without taking any steps except registering once as a follower you can receive a text message instantly when a station is down. Given that I've encountered one down station in 8 years, realistically I'm not going to check CNG prices every time I fill up. Also, virtually everyone has a cell phone which is capable of receiving SMS, many fewer people have a date plan and browse the web from their phone. Addtionally, an SMS can be sent out when the station is up again. Just as I first reported the down station to cngprices, I reported the station as working today to cngprices, which still showed the station as down. I assume that it was working before today so my report was untimely, a Twitter from Trillium would have been timely. And, whoever is running cngprices could subscribe to the same Twitter feed and update the site based on the tweets.


      Originally posted by John Mitton View Post
      I just point my phone to cngprices.com and the mobile version appears in the browser. If a station is down you can simply click the link and report it to everyone and then scroll down for the next closest station. I think Trillium monitors this site ("Jennifer" here at CNGchat), as well as Questar ("old man" here)... not sure if CE or others monitor the web site. It has been a lifesaver. Thanks, Todd!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

        Great idea, and I agree that cngprices is the best place to keep updating.
        Now one would need to be able to send any down-station information to users who subscribe to such a feed.
        I like cngprices, keep it up.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

          The Berkeley Trillium station was down again today. I reported it to cngprices at 17:45, it is not yet reflected on the site (22:40).

          I don't know when the site went down, but there were two abandoned cng vehicles parked outside; presumably people who didn't have enough gas to make it to the next station. I called Trillium which was already aware if the situation.

          If Trillium had tweeted when it found out the station was down, I certainly wouldn't have gone there, and those others might have avoided being marooned.

          cngprices is clearly not the place to put time sensitive alerts.

          (No disrespect to whoever runs the site, which I assume is a volunteer effort.)



          Originally posted by OhMyGas View Post
          Great idea, and I agree that cngprices is the best place to keep updating.
          Now one would need to be able to send any down-station information to users who subscribe to such a feed.
          I like cngprices, keep it up.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

            While not tweeting, I do provide access for station owners to update their own station information, including whether it is up or not, and this information is immediately updated on cngprices.com.

            Any station owners who want this access get it for free (just contact me on the site if you are a station owner) since having the most accurate data is important to the site, as you say. So they COULD update it instantly, but don't. I think there's just not a lot of motivation on their end to keep up with these things on a minute by minute basis; what do they get out of it, really? As has been said time and time again on this site, without true competition in the market, it's not like you really are going to take your business elsewhere if there is no elsewhere to take it to.

            Cheers,
            Todd
            CNG Vehicle - 2002 Honda Civic GX
            CNGPrices.com - The latest prices at CNG stations near you
            AltFuelPrices.com - Prices and station locations for CNG, E85, Biodiesel and more!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

              Also, with respect to the Berkeley station, I'm not sure what the economics are as regards the non- City of Berkeley customers.

              The station was put there primarily to serve the City of Berkeley owned vehicles, and I believe the city paid Trillium to construct the station. I don't know if the incremental revenue from non-City customers benefits Trillium, the City of Berkeley, or both.

              I'm sure the City of Berkeley must be very unhappy with the recent unreliability of that station, given it has been down two weekends in a row.


              Originally posted by cngprices View Post
              While not tweeting, I do provide access for station owners to update their own station information, including whether it is up or not, and this information is immediately updated on cngprices.com.

              Any station owners who want this access get it for free (just contact me on the site if you are a station owner) since having the most accurate data is important to the site, as you say. So they COULD update it instantly, but don't. I think there's just not a lot of motivation on their end to keep up with these things on a minute by minute basis; what do they get out of it, really? As has been said time and time again on this site, without true competition in the market, it's not like you really are going to take your business elsewhere if there is no elsewhere to take it to.

              Cheers,
              Todd

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

                What a great idea!

                We'll be incorporating tweets into our operations ...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CNG Providers Should Have Twitter Feeds to Report Irregular Operations

                  Please post your Twitter name here when you do it. Utah users can watch @QuestarGasCNG for station updates. I have it set to go directly to my phone.
                  www.CNGUtah.com

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