King County Metro initially deployed Rewards in 2021 to ease commuter traffic due to the unexpected closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.  -  King County Metro

King County Metro initially deployed Rewards in 2021 to ease commuter traffic due to the unexpected closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.

King County Metro

Bytemark announced the launch of its rewards program across King County, Wash. The extensible partnership with Velocia enables King County Metro to reward its riders for completing transit trips and specific actions within its system. The platform encourages rider behaviors that help manage periods of peak demand and incentivizes additional ridership.

The pilot's success has encouraged its expansion beyond West Seattle to the entire county, making it the most significant rewards offering in the nation based on ridership.

King County Metro initially deployed Rewards in 2021 to ease commuter traffic due to the unexpected closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. The route was shut down in March 2020, following the discovery of foundational cracks, which affected travel to and from the West Seattle peninsula. Detour routes dramatically increased vehicular travel times and produced additional pollution.

Despite the bridge's reopening this past September, support for the Rewards program continued to grow. Eighty-five percent of active users in the pilot interacted with the platform regularly to claim their points earned by completing transit-focused trips — on average completing 18 rides per month.

Redemption volumes were equally impressive, with 70% of active users redeeming their first reward within 24 hours of signing-up.

"King County Metro’s ridership has recently climbed to its highest level in nearly three years: roughly 240,000 average weekday riders," said King County Metro Mobility Division Director Christina O'Claire. "As our regional transit system continues to grow, we're prioritizing service for communities and neighborhoods where needs are greatest. We're excited to expand this proven rewards program to our entire county to welcome even more people to transit."

The growth of the Rewards program with King County Metro builds on the initial sponsorship and support of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). As part of the Flip Your Trip West Seattle program, SDOT invested in the development of the platform and key improvements that made this possible.

The countywide expansion of the Rewards program scales the pilot functionality to anyone living in or visiting King County. In addition to the existing functionality, in-app surveys will offer rewards for feedback on specific trips, larger ridership trends, and demographic information to support new transit initiatives in the future. It will also enable the capture of valuable feedback to enhance the programs they already operate.

The benefits of the Rewards program expansion include:

  • Supporting the existing transit networks with access to complementary multimodal transit via bike and scooter share options available as rewards on the platform.
  • Dynamic campaigns that reward users for completing trips across multiple different modalities and transit agencies.
  • The ability to earn and redeem free transit trips across the Seattle area.
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