Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A plane full of thought

On the plane from Washington to Ottawa, my seatmate in the cramped regional jet wanted to speak, and I wanted to listen. These experiences are usually enlightening since the chance encounters in the air invite creativity, knowledge sharing and idea cross fertilization.

The seatmate relayed a story about how a serendipitous marketing decision saved the transit system in Kingston, Ontario, a city of approximately 150,000 people mid-way between Ottawa and Toronto. It has a major university, Queens. Unfortunately, people weren't using the bus service -- with lack of ridership, service levels were reduced, making it even less appealing to use the system.

The someone had a bright idea. The university paid a flat fee of approximately $50,000 to give all the students free unlimited bus passes. Suddenly, students started lining up at bus stops to use the system.

Then something else happened. Other people in the city, seeing the students were now using the bus, decided to try it themselves. Ridership increased dramatically.

I haven't verified this story. But it makes sense. People often react with a herd mentality. If a bunch of people appear interested in something, it must be 'good', so others join in.

Here is a reference to the "Bus-It" program, which reports it has been operating since 1973:

No comments: