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Frequent Rider Miles for Buses

In Minneapolis and San Francisco, public transit agencies are considering loyalty programs to boost ridership.
January 9, 2019, 2pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Sallie Burnett, business consultant, argues that loyalty programs like those used by airlines, hotels, and other businesses could help increase transit ridership. She points to what she sees as successful pilot programs in Minneapolis and San Francisco. "One example is Minnesota's Ride to Rewards programs, the first public transit frequent rider program in the nation," Burnett writes in Forbes. 80% of participants in that program said the perks they accrued riding transit would make them more likely to ride in the future.

Rewards programs could also be used to shift demand, "BART Perks was a test program conducted in the Bay Area that experimented with offering customers rewards for using transit outside of peak travel times. It lasted six months and encouraged participants to shift their commute away from the peak time of 7:30 a.m. Nearly twice as many people signed up than predicted," Burnett writes. The program also had the secondary benefit of getting people to post about their commutes on social media pages. Connecticut and Nashville transit agencies have also experimented with loyalty programs.

Burnett think the industry has an opportunity to take advantage of a tactic that, when properly implemented, has proven in other industries to be successful.

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Published on Friday, December 21, 2018 in Forbes
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