The goal for every transit agency is to increase ridership. From the national level to our local agencies, quarterly advertising campaigns were created as a way to educate the public about transportation in hopes to attract new riders to Visalia Transit.
Many ridership downturns are linked to the simple economics of gas and used-car prices. In addition, unlike major metropolitan areas, public transit in the Central Valley is reliant more so on necessity than choice. That said, it was important for us to identify opportunities to increase ridership among those more likely to use public transit. Not only did we create a first-of-its-kind program to do just that—we also added convenience and incentives to the mix.
By stepping back and evaluating the fundamental problems and core audiences, Archer & Hound developed something entirely new for Visalia Transit: the Rider Rewards Program. This innovative loyalty program rewards monthly pass holders with discounts from hundreds of local merchants and eateries. Because the value of the card outpays the expense, this program encourages all riders to transition from a daily or weekly passes, into monthly card holders—allowing unlimited rides throughout the month. In addition, one of the monthly card options is a reusable bus pass that allows riders the opportunity to reload their card online, as opposed to making a trip to the Transit Center. So, riding the bus each month not only became less expensive, but also more convenient.
This first-of-its-kind program, for both loyalty and convenience, allows Visalia Transit the ability to track and communicate with their Rider Rewards card holders, gives riders built-in perks and benefits, and creates a “buy local” incentive for local businesses. In addition, it gives consistent daily riders an incentive to purchase monthly passes, thus encouraging increased ridership—a win-win for all!