April 1, 2008

ValleyMetro.org was identified as one of the best transit agency websites in the country in terms of encouraging ridership by More Riders Magazine, a publication dedicated to chronicling the best practices in transit marketing and communications.

The comprehensive study, which took place in July and August, looked at more than 150 transit agency websites, judging them in four categories: basic system information, time sensitive information, community/rider engagement and ease of access.

"With this survey we have looked quantitatively at the quality and types of information provided by transit agency websites, as opposed to merely a qualitative judgment of how interesting the sites look," said Matt Hardigree, designer of the survey.

The study is based on the latest research on how information impacts the behaviors of riders and potential riders. For many potential riders, the biggest obstacle to using public transit is simply ignorance of how to use the system.

"As great as it is to have a flash animation of happy people on a bus or a train, for a site to encourage riders to adopt public transit it has to provide riders with the proper tools, and the best sites do this," said Hardigree.

"ValleyMetro.org is one of the best examples of how to display a wide range of important information on a homepage while at the same time avoiding clutter or distraction."

In 2006, Valley Metro conducted a complete overhaul on the look and content of the site to help passengers and new users to Valley Metro feel comfortable about accessing the many different services available.

The site includes an online trip planner, a rideshare matchlist system and a new online fare payment option.

“We will continue to explore and implement the tools that will help our customers with getting the information they need about riding bus, finding a carpool partner or getting up-to-the minute service updates,” said Mario Diaz, Valley Metro Marketing Manager.

“This recognition is an honor that our staff will share because building an effective website requires a team effort.”

Partial study results are available on MoreRiders.com, the website of More Riders Magazine. Full results of the study will also appear in the fall issue of the publication.

ABOUT MORE RIDERS MAGAZINE: More Riders Magazine is the first magazine devoted to increasing ridership through better communications. Premiering this fall, the magazine is for transit officials, city planners, marketing officials, advocates and community leaders who share the mission of improving transit in our society. More Riders Magazine is a publication of Permanent Campaigns Consulting.

ABOUT PERMANENT CAMPAIGNS CONSULTING: Permanent Campaigns Consulting partners with transit agencies to grow ridership through strategic communications.