Trains, Twitter and the social licence to operate: An analysis of Twitter use by train operating companies in the United Kingdom

Howard, J.M. 2020. Trains, Twitter and the social licence to operate: An analysis of Twitter use by train operating companies in the United Kingdom. Case Studies on Transport Policy. 8 (3), pp. 812-821. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2020.06.002

TitleTrains, Twitter and the social license to operate: A case study analysis of Twitter use by train operating companies in the United Kingdom
TypeJournal article
AuthorsHoward, J.M.
Abstract

Social media has become a platform for passenger train operating companies to share information and engage with their customers. Twitter, in particular, is used by operators to provide live service updates and engage with their customers. A gap in the literature exists regarding the concept of the social license to operate, where organisations engage with stakeholders to gain legitimacy of their operations, within the transportation industry. Further, there is a lack of literature on the use of social media by private train operating companies. This article fills a gap in the literature regarding the use of Twitter by private passenger train operating companies and use of this social media platform for obtaining a social license to operate from customers. Therefore, the aim of this research is to understand how the functions of Twitter use by private train operating companies in the United Kingdom can serve as a means to obtain a social license to operate through an analysis of their Twitter accounts, tweets, and policies. The findings indicate 1) that Twitter is primarily a tool for communication and engagement with their customers; 2) as Twitter functions evolved, providing customer service has become a key function; and 3) the key elements of the social license to operate: legitimacy, credibility, and trust; can be obtained through customer engagement using Twitter.

KeywordsSocial Media; Twitter; Rail Transport; Transport Planning; Social License to Operate; Customer Engagement
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Journal citation8 (3), pp. 812-821
ISSN2213-624X
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2020.06.002
Publication dates
PublishedSep 2020

Related outputs

Train tweets: Engaging and supporting customers through Twitter
Howard, J. 2019. Train tweets: Engaging and supporting customers through Twitter. 47th European Transport Conference. Dublin 08 - 11 Oct 2019

The use of social media by train operating companies: A study case analysis
Howard, J. 2018. The use of social media by train operating companies: A study case analysis. Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Congress. Gothenburg, Sweden 10 - 14 Jul 2018

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