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TTC Marketing
26/01/2005

For a while now I have been thinking about writing a post on how the TTC markets itself... more specifically that it didn't seem to be doing an optimal job.

Most riders already know the advantages of the TTC, and yet on-vehicle advertising seemed to be promoting transit to riders as if they had never set foot on a train before. What they really ought to have been doing was trying to convert riders to more frequent use. They finally are doing that with a new poster campaign promoting the Metropass, which allows unlimited monthly travel for one price.

For example, one of the posters has (approximately) this copy:

I go two stops north for my work-out. Then two stops south for work. It's my pass to fitness.

So, it is an obvious sell of one of the virtues of the Metropass -- once you have one, you can get on and off the TTC without thinking about the cost of each ride. You start to consider using transit in ways that you never would have before, because of the high cost of short rides.

But there is also a new implication to this form of advertising. Now that both the provincial and federal governments are going to be giving municipalities a share of the gas tax that is (partly) determined by transit ridership, it is in the TTC's interest to get as many rides as possible.

When it comes to dividing up the money, a ride is a ride is a ride. So, someone taking a bus from outer Scarberia, transfering to the RT, riding the subway to Yonge & Bloor and then heading downtown generates as much funding for the TTC as does someone who hops on the Queen Streetcar at Spadina and gets off at John. The current fare structure encourages one form of travel and discourages another, but the more Metropasses the TTC sells, the more short rides there will be and the more money they will get from senior levels of government.

POSTSCRIPT: Speaking of the TTC, this is cool.


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