HART Campaign for Launch of Fare Payment System - Flamingo Fares

Target Audience: The target audience for the Flamingo Fares launch campaign was current and prospective HART customers, HART employees, and community stakeholders.

Strategy Objective:To introduce and promote Flamingo App and smart card through various channels to increase brand awareness, encourage rider adoption and steady market saturation as HART transitions away from current paper passes and toward one fare system. Also, educating riders around new behaviors and actions that come with the new system, such as registering smart cards, tapping or scanning to validate fare, loading value on cards and the app, where to purchase Flamingo cards, and how to download the app. HART's rollout included the following: Bus wrap, Interior card takeover, onboard annunciator + text scroll, Shelter advertising + takeover, Flock Week (plastic flamingos at transit centers), transit center graphic takeover, website + social media takeover, IVR message, radio/digital/print advertising.

Situation Challenge: HART and three of our regional transportation partners launched an app and smartcard fare payment system - Flamingo Fares that enables people to purchase tickets to ride, manage their account and save money with fare capping, among other benefits. Messaging initially focused on ease of use both as a way to pay fares, and introduce the new to Tampa Bay concept of fare capping with the primary goal being to transition existing riders to download and use Flamingo Fares. There were a number of challenges being the different customer bases and demographics between the different transit agencies, a number of "false starts" with soft launches and project delays and finally launching the new fare payment system during the pandemic.

Results Impact: The Flamingo Fares e-fare program saw a seismic shift in usage at HART with the rollout of the marketing and communications campaign to promote Flamingo Fares as "The New Way to Pay Your Fare in Tampa Bay". Flamingo Fares soft-launched in January 2021 with 9,584 trips taken with the new fare system in the first month. Usage of the smart card/app-based fare system grew to 78,561 trips taken in January 2022, with a high of 112,655 trips taken in December 2021. Overall, Flamingo Fares usage was 714,989 trips from January 2021 to January 2022.

Why Submit: HART submitted this entry because we believe our successful smart card/app program marketing effort was executed in a fun and different way utilizing a mix of traditional and guerrilla marketing efforts (plastic flamingos, shelter and bus interior takeovers) that we believe can serve as a model for our transit peers throughout North America.