By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
Success of Dump the Pump Day Has SamTrans Considering More Free Rides in the Future:
SamTrans’ experiment with free fares on Dump the Pump Day turned out some new riders and gave the community another reason to get out of their cars and “give up the gas,” and now the bus agency is considering extending the promotion to different bus routes for future events.
To celebrate Dump the Pump Day—a nationwide effort that encourages commuters to get out of their cars and on to public transit—SamTrans allowed passengers to board Route ECR and Route 294 for free on June 16.
Over the course of the service day, 11,033 passengers boarded Route ECR, which is SamTrans’ busiest line and connects Daly City to Palo Alto. That number marked a seven percent increase over the line’s usually tally of 10,400 daily passengers.
Route 294’s ridership gain from the Dump the Pump Day event was even more impressive. On June 16, 140 passenger travelled on Route 294, which carries customers between the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and Half Moon Bay, travelling along State Route 92. That ridership tally amounted to a 65 percent increase from the 85 riders who take the bus during an average weekday.
It wasn’t just the passengers who benefitted from the free rides on Route 294. SamTrans heard praise from numerous businesses in the Half Moon Bay area that noticed the extra business brought in from the increased ridership.
The owners of Toque Blanche, a cookware supply store in Half Moon Bay, posted about the positives of Dump the Pump Day on the SamTrans Facebook page.
“Thanks to SamTrans and Dump the Pump Day, we got to enjoy so many customers from over the hill who took advantage of the free rides!,” read the post.
With those kinds of results in mind, SamTrans is considering repeating the free ride promotion for future Dump the Pump Days and other transit-promoting public events. The bus agency is eager to hear input from the riding public on what other bus routes they’d like to be part of the free-rides campaign. First up, SamTrans is considering a promotion on its “late night” service for those who might not be aware that SamTrans has two routes (397 and 297) that operate all night.
Passengers who have specific buses in mind for free service should email the SamTrans public affairs team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through these special offers, SamTrans not only rewards its customers, but also recruits potential loyal riders to the system. It’s a winning formula for the agency, and one that could be a regular feature on the Peninsula for years to come.