February 23, 2009

Marketing bus services to new students

The constant turnover of students at colleges and universities presents an ongoing challenge to campus bus operators to create awareness of their services among potential riders.

A report by the Transit Cooperative Research Program called Transit Systems in College and University Communities found that more than 9 of 10 schools (92 percent) advertise their transportation program during orientation events for new students (see chart).

In addition, more than four-fifths advertise their bus program through brochures and/or on the school’s website. About three of five schools (59 percent) promote bus services to non-students — faculty and staff — using employee orientation materials.


Colleges and universities rely mainly on orientation events to promote their transportation program to new students and employees.


The survey included responses from more than 40 colleges and universities, some of which use transportation management associations (TMAs), multi-institution task forces that coordinate and adminster transportation demand management programs. It was discovered, however, that TMAs were the least common transit advertising technique.

More than four of five campuses (83 percent) reported posting transit system maps or schedules on their websites. Slightly more than one in 10 (11 percent) use bus wraps to help advertise the school’s bus program.

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