Contactless Fare Payment on Light Rail

Target Audience: Our primary target audience was anyone in the greater Sacramento region that travels on light rail as well as potential new riders.

Strategy Objective:SacRT partnered with Visa to help promote the new contactless fare payment devices and the discounted $1 fare option on light rail for the launch, and month of September 2021. Visa helped create an animated video about using contactless fare payment on light rail, which we added to our YouTube channel in both English and Spanish. In addition, Visa wrapped six SacRT light rail trains with the "tap to ride" message, and created special brochures on how to use the contactless devices to help educate riders. SacRT held a press conference on launch day at a light rail station featuring a tap to ride wrapped light rail train as the backdrop. We had speakers from all the partners involved in the project and demonstrated how the new contactless payment devices worked for the media.

Situation Challenge: SacRT partnered with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Visa, Littlepay, and SC Soft to offer a contactless method for payment onboard light rail trains, to improve the customer experience. The innovative touch-free fare payment technology allows riders to tap a contactless credit, debit, prepaid card, or contactless-enabled mobile or wearable device (e.g., smartwatch) to pay fare when boarding light rail trains. We needed to promote the new payment technology available onboard light rail to explain to riders how to use the option and to let the public know we were offering a promotional fare of $1 for the month of September 2021.

Results Impact: By tagging Visa in our social media posts and creating a digital toolkit, which included social media graphics,text, and handles for all of our partners on the project, we were able to expand our customer reach. We also sent emails to our customer database to help promote the new offering. The email blast had a 28% open rate with 118 click throughs on the link. Our social media posts resulted in 41,435 impressions with 25 posts total on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn in September 2021, with the highest impressions on Twitter on the day of the press conference with 23,246. Our first Instagram reel (video) had 3,947 views alone.

Why Submit: Leveraging our partnerships with state agencies and private businesses was the key ingredient to effectively educating our riders and the Sacramento region about this significant project. SacRT was the first public transit agency in California to offer touchless fare payment solutions onboard light rail trains. Because of the public-private partnership program's success, we are now looking at expanding the option onto buses and shuttles with the same partners.