Posts Tagged ‘smartrip’

Monitoring (and Caring About) Customers, Not Just Trips

April 13th, 2015 2 comments

Deep explorations into the composition of Metrorail’s customer base shows that Metro has a wide reach – and that the five-day-a-week rider may not be as common as you think.

Metro (bus and rail) moves 1.1 million people per day, right? Well, technically we see that many trips (transactions) per day, but how many individual customers is that?  When you look at your fellow passengers on-board a train, how many are frequent commuters? How many rarely ride? In addition to counting trips, we’ve begun to monitor customers – the number of unique SmarTrip cards and paper tickets used on the system in a month.

We’re starting with Metrorail at first.

Metrorail typically handles roughly 730,000 trips on a weekday, which are generated by about 400,000 unique customers. Some of those customers ride frequently, and others will ride only once in the month.  As the chart below shows, of the 730,000 trips, only about two-thirds are generated by frequent customers.  Not surprisingly, frequent customers dominate more during the peak times.

Sept 2014 ridership by frequency by period_bars

Typical weekday rail ridership (trips) by customer’s monthly frequency (trips/month)

Surprisingly, over 17% of all trips are generated by customers who take eight trips/month or fewer– that’s fewer than once per week.  That may not seem like much, but in order for infrequent customers to generate so much of our ridership each and every day, there must be a LOT of them! Read more…

Metro Evaluating Options for Off-Board SmarTrip Loading

November 6th, 2013 20 comments

Metro seeks to reduce delays to Metrobus caused by on-board SmarTrip card loading by installing off-board SmarTrip® Recharge Stations at key locations across the region.

Metro has been quite successful at increasing the use of SmarTrip® card usage on both bus and rail.  As noted in a previous post, many initiatives — including surcharges for paying cash — have been successful at raising the the SmarTrip® use rate to about 90% on both Metrorail and Metrobus.  As many readers have noted, many Metrobus customers load small amounts of cash — enough for one or two trips — onto their SmarTrip card in order to avoid the surcharge.  This on-board load transaction can take between five and 30 seconds and, on average, one out of every 14 trips on Metrobus involves a small value load. On some routes it’s as frequent as one out of every seven.  This behavior results in longer dwell times, slower rides, and less efficient operations of Metrobus.

One possible solution is to increase the opportunities for loading value onto SmarTrip cards before the customer boards.  While SmarTrip cards can be reloaded online, at Metrorail stations and at a variety of retail outlets around the region, the frequency of on-board loading indicates the need for additional, convenient opportunities to add value to SmarTrip cards.

animated-example

Example of potential SmarTrip Reload Station size and location. Image updates every 5 seconds. Click image for larger version.

 

Metro is seeking to meet this need by developing and deploying SmarTrip Recharge Stations (SRS) at selected bus stops around the region.  In addition to facilitating the loading of fares and passes to SmarTrip cards and working with Metro’s current back-end systems, the requirements for these recharging stations include: Read more…

Categories: Fares and Service Tags: , ,

Measuring the Impact of SmarTrip® Initiatives

July 22nd, 2013 8 comments
SmarTrip-Pct-vs-Initiatives

Metro first rolled out SmarTrip® on rail in 1999, breaking new ground as the first contact-less smart card used for transit in the United States. Metro began rolling out SmarTrip® on bus in 2002 and then to Metrorail parking facilities in 2004.   While the utility of SmarTrip® was immediately obvious to many customers, others required a bit of encouragement to switch to the fare media that is most cost-effective for Metro and customers alike.

Usage of SmarTrip® on rail has been growing steadily since its launch, but use on bus seemed to plateau around 20% on bus starting in about July 2006 until about January 2008.  That was the date when Metro began its first major initiative to encourage people to move to SmarTrip by implementing a $0.10 surcharge for using cash on bus.

Since then, Metro has rolled out new SmarTrip features and additional incentives to continue the increase in SmarTrip use rate.

The chart below illustrates the changes in SmarTrip use rate on both bus and rail, overlaid with the dates of the initiatives and feature releases that helped motivate customers to switch to SmarTrip.  The usage rate now is nearly 90% on both bus and rail! Read more…