Lebanon Transit aims for 'Break Up' [Lebanon Daily News, Pa.]
(Lebanon Daily News (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 01--If you've never ridden a Lebanon Transit bus, now is the perfect opportunity to try.
Lebanon Transit will launch a marketing campaign on Monday that includes a free round-trip ride on Tuesdays for anyone who has not yet ridden one of its buses. The offer is good through June, and all that is required to receive a free pass is registering with the public transit authority by visiting rideonLT.org.
The marketing campaign is called "The Break Up" -- as in breaking up with your car to start a new relationship with Lebanon Transit -- and was created by Sacunas, a Harrisburg marketing firm that contracts with PennDOT, which also is partnering on the project, LT Executive Director Teri Giurintano said.
Planning for the campaign began last year and was done with the guidance of LT's board of directors, Giurintano said. It will promote the benefits of using public transit, including saving money on gas, helping the environment and freeing up time to accomplish other tasks.
The initiative comes on the heels of the authority's rebranding itself in 2010, when it changed its name from County of Lebanon Transit, or COLT, to Lebanon Transit. That campaign also included brightening the colors on its fleet of buses and creating a new, more informative website: lebanontransit.org.
The rebranding was a success, Giurintano said, and she expects similar results from this latest marketing effort.
"That was a great campaign -- the colors on the buses, the website," she said. "That's
done very well, and we are just carrying through with that."
In addition to the "Try Tuesday" enticement, the marketing campaign will feature radio ads with a catchy jingle and billboard signs with slogans playing on the break-up theme, including the tagline "Save money. Gain time. Ride on."
The billboards will be placed on one of LT's most popular routes, along Route 422 to Hershey, with stops at the Hershey Medical Center, Hersheypark and the shopping outlets.
Every few months the slogan on the billboards will change, Giurintano said, but the message will remain the same: it's time to give public transit a try.
Next week, smaller yard signs delivering the same message to drivers will also be placed on another popular route to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville and from time to time will be relocated to other routes, Giurintano said.
The marketing campaign will be rolled out in two phases, she explained. The first will cost about $62,500 and carry through until next year, when a second phase costing an additional $50,000 will be launched.
The money is coming out of LT's operating budget, and PennDOT is also contributing to the final cost, she said.
Although LT is reaching out for new participants to boost ridership, current riders have not been forgotten.
They are being encouraged to register on the rideonLT.org website so they can be included in LT's database and email address list, office manager Cindy Binner said. That way, she said, when there are things like weather-related cancellations and route changes, they will receive email messages from LT.
Current riders can also enter a contest to win a $100 Visa card by recommending LT to a friend when they register, Binner added.
LT averages about 27,000 riders a month, Giurintano said. The numbers have been holding steady and returned to previous levels after a drop that occurred when there were major route changes made in the fall of 2011.
"Whenever you make any kind of change, whether it's a fare increase or route change, you always expect ridership to dip," she said.
With higher gas prices and the aggressive marketing campaign spreading the word about the benefits of riding the bus, Giurintano predicted LT's ridership will get a boost.
"We really think this is just what we need to help us grow," she said.
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