Four out of Ten FTA Ridership awards go to SWTA Members!

 Washington DC was the place to see SWTA members shine. The Federal Transit Administration awarded ten “Success in Enhancing Ridership Awards” at the APTA Legislative Conference, Monday, March 10, 2008. This award identifies best practices in the tranist industry for increasing ridership. The winners of the award will be used as models for transit systems throughout the country. The award was open to transit systems of all sizes throughout the U.S., totaling over 800 eligible. Of the ten awards, four were awarded to the following SWTA members!

Small Urban serving populations between 50,000 and 200,000.

Monroe Transit System, Monroe, Louisiana

In July 2005, Monroe Transit, in North Louisiana, implemented a day pass and added new night service. Afterwards, they paid a local radio station $200 to create a jingle which began running as a free public service spot. They had their bus graphics professionally redesigned for free by the local university art department. This all added up to a 12 percent increase in ridership and a much more exciting image for transit in Monroe.

Serving populations from 200,000 and 1 millionÂ

Sun Tran, City of Tucson, Arizona

Sun Tran runs more than 150 buses serving the City of Tucson and portions of Pima County. By acquiring 38 new biodiesel low-floor replacement buses and responding to problem areas identified by customer perception research, Sun Tran was able to grow ridership by 7 percent. A survey identified driver friendliness and on-time arrivals as being high in customer importance and low in customer perception. This led Sun Tran to focus its efforts on these areas with a series of Transit Ambassador training sessions and an in-house campaign targeting the importance of on-time performance.Â

Denton County Transportation Authority, Denton, Texas Best Practices from DCTA

By partnering with the University of North Texas on several mutually beneficial initiatives, DCTA increased its ridership by 17 percent. Their Commuter Express service now offers free service on campus which improves access to the University and gives the Authority a passenger base for reverse commute trips from Dallas. By the end of the year, 35-40 percent of Commuter Express riders were associated with the University. DCTA also expanded its university shuttle service.

Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Fort Worth, Texas

“The T” developed a campaign to target “choice” commuters with a strong cost-saving message to use public transportation as an alternative to their personal vehicle due to high gasoline prices. An advertising campaign was created to include a series of humorous print ads and direct mail pieces with a free day pass coupon to induce trial ridership. “The T” targeted schools and college students; all Fort Worth ninth graders (who are too young to drive) received a free annual freshman pass. Texas Christian University students, faculty, and staff all received free annual transit passes. Ridership is up by 9 percent.

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