Lake Erie Transit – Image Campaign

Client:

A well-respected, dependable public transportation system serving 400,000+ riders a year, Lake Erie Transit (LET) offers a variety of fast and easily accessible services for a largely rural, county population. With eight fixed routes and several community routes including Dial-A-Ride, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and essential transportation services, the system is funded heavily by public resources and ridership fares.

Challenges:

With scarce public awareness, understanding and appreciation for the true value of the LET system, the campaign needed to appropriately convey the importance of the service within the community. Many were not aware of the impressive ridership numbers or the many ways in which LET serves the daily transportation requirements for people with special needs. The senior population also expressed a hesitancy to ride due
to unfamiliarity. 

Solutions:

The solution capitalized on LET’s own natural resource and steadfast strength: its people. Over the years, countless stories were told of drivers making the extra effort to assist riders or go well beyond their required duties to make transit system usage a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. LET brand recognition and market position needed to be built upon the strong foundation of how drivers embody the need to be a valuable asset to the community.

The LET image campaign targeted riders and non-riders in the entire community, male and female from school age to senior citizen. The drivers themselves, along with the other LET employees and board members, were a secondary audience. Featuring photos of the actual drivers, mechanics, dispatch and maintenance personnel with light- hearted tag lines that supported the friendly experience, the campaign was communicated through multiple levels of media including: print advertising, television spots, internal and external bus signage, transit shelter signage and a redesigned Web site. An internal campaign was also conducted with posters, placards and special events to thank the staff for their dedication and to bolster the service philosophy.

As the LET tagline implies, it’s not about just one trip, it’s about being there every day to make each rider’s life a little easier by sharing service and a friendly smile along the way. 

Results

Campaign feedback has been resoundingly positive. In the first year, ridership increased 2% – 5% in all markets. Locals comment on the surprising number of riders assisted and dedicated manner in which LET serves the community. Voters in the fixed route target service area offered their overwhelming support by passing a levy by 56% during difficult economic conditions. And seniors say they are less apprehensive about riding based on the warm stories and familiar, friendly faces they’ve seen in the materials. Internally, LET has seen a boost in morale among its drivers and service personnel. Board members have also expressed a renewed energy and support for the messages presented by the campaign. Not to mention, the formal accolades and awards that have honored campaign materials from the American Public Transportation Association.