As long-time readers probably know, we don’t have a lot off faith in the bus system solving our transit issues. However, we always like to hear new ideas that may convince us and other community members to ride the bus.
With that in mind, we received a letter from a citizen who had an interesting idea about increasing bus ridership. If you have a few minutes we would recommend you give it a read.
by Ellen Sherk
I believe we can put a band-aid on our transit problem. It might not be a permanent solution, but if residents and visitors give it a try, it just might work. Human nature calls for instant gratification, especially if it means altering your lifestyle. To get people on the bus, let’s offer them incentives: the more you ride the bus, the more incentives you get.
Before I moved to Park City, I lived in an area that started an incentive program for recycling through Recyclebank. The more you recycled, the more points you accrued, which could be used towards coupons. Why not do the same thing for our bus system? All busses can be equipped with a card reader. Every time you ride the bus, you swipe your card. Every time you swipe your card, you get points. Anyone can get a card, whether you live here or are only visiting.
So who’s going to pay for these card readers, cards and the marketing it will take to make this program successful? Vail, Deer Valley and the town of Park City. All three will benefit when people get out of their cars and on the bus. It will take a lot of marketing to make visitors and residents aware of this program, but the benefits will be no more Carmageddons!
But incentives must be worth it for people to change their habits: discounted lift tickets, free lift tickets, restaurant coupons, resort restaurant coupons, event coupons, shop coupons. Go to Recyclebank’s website and see how many different rewards they offer.
We already have a popular incentives program that works in Park City: Smith’s gas points program. And a successful one in Salt Lake as well: REI. Maybe Smith’s, REI and Recyclebank can give us some helpful advice on how to make this program work. If it can increase store loyalty and recycling, it can most definitely increase bus ridership.
Note: If you have an idea or would be interested in writing something, let us know.