Transportation headlines, Thursday, Nov. 13

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Smart Branding Attracts the Masses to Mass Transit (InTransition Magazine) 

This article highlights the trend at a few U.S. transit agencies that are doing away with the old public transit modus operandi of providing a service and then leaving it to sell itself. Instead, agencies are expanding their marketing efforts and rebranding themselves in order to attract new customers/riders. Of course, this idea isn’t new, but for transit agencies it’s finally catching on.

“Today, transit agencies are abandoning the passive approach to ridership. A confluence of design technologies, communication technologies, new trends in urban development and—perhaps most importantly—a cultural shift among young, smartphone-wielding city-dwellers has led to a new, more sanguine approach to the promotion of transit.”

For the past decade, Metro has been on the forefront of this trend and is featured throughout the article, including quotes from Metro’s creative director, Michael Lejeune.

The article also points to millennials as a target demographic for the new approach. My take as a millennial is this: in the modern, social era, branding only goes so far. Yes, I’m more willing to try a brand that seems “smart” and has a product or service with demonstrable benefits, but what will keep me coming back is my actual experience using the brand. If a company doesn’t deliver on what its brand promises, I’ll move on (but usually not before I post something on social media).  This means transit agencies still need to provide quality service and customer relations to keep riders, especially as other transit options — some with more lavish marketing budgets — abound.

Burb’s Eye View: She knows how to tap into public transportation (Burbank Leader)

This column in the Burbank Leader spotlights Burbank members of the Metro sponsored On the Move Riders Club,  a program that teaches and empowers seniors to use public transportation to get around town.

“For seniors who don’t get out a lot, it really opens up the world,” said Shirley Hoffman, a member of the group since its inception. “It’s very interesting going through different neighborhoods of our city, seeing the type of people that use public transportation and talking to individuals sitting next to us.”

MARTA’s crowd-funding project foots the bill for bike-repair kiosks (Progressive Railroading)

A recent crowdfunding effort started by Atlanta’s regional transit agency, MARTA, raised more than $4,000 dollars for bike-repair kiosks. Crowdfunding involves raising money through the internet through typically small donations from a large amount of people. After reaching the fundraising goal, MARTA provided an additional $4,000 dollars to install the kiosks. The project comes after a nonprofit in New York City this fall used crowdfunding to raise funds for small neighborhood improvements to make transit easier and safer to use.

Where’s Bob Hope Airport? Rebranding seen as possible way to boost use (L.A. Times) 

Keeping with the branding and transit theme today, officials at the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority are exploring ways to increase the lagging passenger traffic at Bob Hope Airport. One problem, officials say, might be its name:

“To help boost passenger numbers, airport officials want to court travelers who may be choosing flights in or out of Los Angeles International Airport because of its clearer geographic reference. They said Bob Hope Airport’s official name — adopted in 2003, the year the comedy legend died — lacks a geographic reference to the places many travelers want to visit in the Los Angeles area.”

A spokesperson for the airport said it will likely keep its name, but in a region known for blurring geographical lines for marketing purposes, it’s still fun to think of potential options: Burbank/Hollywood (Way) Airport, anyone?

4 replies

  1. Hmm. Neither Louis Armstrong Airport, nor its symbol (MSY) have any geographic reference, either. But I note that it’s officially “Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport,” which leaves nothing to chance.

    Seems like “Bob Hope Burbank Airport” would work. Or taking a page from the two sports teams currently based in Anaheim, how about “Bob Hope Airport of Burbank”?

  2. What was the matter with “Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport”? It is not the only thing that the 3 cities co-operate on. SNA (John Wayne) does not seem to have a problem with its name. When searching air fares on-line one quickly begins to get an understanding for the various names and locations. PHF goes by 3 different names.

  3. Secondary airports like Ontario and Burbank aren’t popular with the major airlines these days. They all now are focused on hubs where all the major international alliance partner flights fly to. That in turn, will be LAX. Delta sees LAX as more lucrative because LAX is where all the Skyteam partners are, United because of Star Alliance, and American (soon-to-be-merged with US Airways) because of oneworld flights.

    And unless pigs start to fly, we’re not going to see Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific fly from direct from Seoul, Singapore, and Hong Kong to Burbank or Ontario.