QUENTINSBURGH- As part of its early launch of its 2016 transit plans, QUARTA (Quentinsburgh Urban Area Rapid Transit Authority) has created a new series of on-board ads encouraging the usage of SilverPasses and GoldPasses, QUARTA’s day/week/month passes. In these ads, they ask passengers to “rethink the day pass”, explaining that they have more benefits than simply transferring or making a round trip.
While the Transit Passes have existed for several years, some don’t seem to realize their perks.
One QCommute passenger had made this post on TweetBook only a short while before the new ads launched:
Got on the C1 from Franklin Hill to ride all the way to Haroldsborough, already needing to use the restroom. Thought I could hold it. Big Mistake. No on board restrooms, no money to get off the train to go and back on. #funtrip #thatwassarcasm
QUARTA’s response was one recommending the use of a transit pass, in this reply:
We’re sorry to hear of your experience. While we can’t offer bathrooms onboard the train, we do have bathrooms at all our QCommute stations. Perhaps next time you should consider a GoldPass! Even if you are taking a one way trip, you’d be able to get off the train, use the bathroom and catch the next train for free! #passperks
QUARTA hasn’t always had a pass system as it does now. Originally, one ride fares were the only ones available. For most of the 1930s-1970s passengers had to pay in cash or tokens, relying on one ride fares. Considering there weren’t many routes and transfers were few, this wasn’t a huge issue.
In the early 80s the expanding metro network had more transfers that required leaving the station as new separated lines were added. Similar to what some systems still have today, QUARTA created the TransferReceipt at certain metro stations, where passengers leaving a station would be given a receipt that gave them free transfers to the adjoining subway line for thirty minutes.
In 1991, the TransferReceipt program was revamped and expanded to include the entire network. Now, passengers could have a free transfer to any local QUARTA bus line or QLine Metro route for thirty minutes. That length of time grew to forty-five minutes in 1993 and to an hour in 1996.
However, while revolutionary and convenient, this system had many flaws. TransferReceipts were at the time printed literally like receipts, and were easy to lose and easy to accidentally destroy. Many a passenger has spoken over the years of being stranded due to losing a TransferReceipt. To help solve that issue, in 2004 QUARTA created the TransferPass, a solid card version of the TransferReceipt that did the same thing while being harder to lose.
Little did QUARTA know that the TransferPass would end up birthing the BronzePass, SilverPass, and GoldPass that exist today. The TransferPass actually was the exact same type of card as today’s day passes, and could be read by the same scanners. QUARTA attempted to create a QUARTACard using the technology to replace tokens, but found that at this point tokens were obsolete and people preferred to simply pay one ride fares in cash.
Complaints about the TransferPass continued through 2009. Passengers no longer had problems with losing their cards, but continued to have issues. Any delays could mean missing their transfer or running out of time to transfer. It also cost QUARTA quite a bit to make so many cards that would often go to waste and were being given to passengers for free.
Finally, QUARTA decided that single ride fares were inefficient and inconvenient for daily riders. They realized that a day pass system would solve many of their issues- passengers could buy passes for slightly more than a one ride fare, and be able to ride the entire system for a day, week, or month. The same card technology and turnstiles from the TransferPasses would be used, but since they weren’t free and fares were higher, they would be able to pay for themselves while still keeping QUARTA financially stable.
The modern QUARTA Pass system came into effect in 2010. At the beginning, as the network was continuing to grow, the BronzePass was Local Bus, the SilverPass was Local Bus and Metro, and the GoldPass was Local and Express Bus, Metro, and Commuter Rail. Over time, the QLink BRT and most recently the QCycle Bikeshare were added to the Silver and GoldPasses. The Silver and GoldPasses act almost as universal free transfers for an entire day, three days, week or month.
Some passengers still tend to only use single ride fares, and some have asked to get back the TransferPass system. However, QUARTA is attempting to help passengers understand that the passes are like a better, longer lasting and more encompassing TransferPass. They hope this new ad campaign on trains, on buses, with billboards and ads at stations and bus stops, and with television and radio ads helps riders realize the benefits of getting passes.
“Even if you are only riding a couple places today, and normally would have bought a one ride fare there and back, it makes sense to buy a 1 Day Pass, because it literally will cost you a far less to use the day pass twice than to pay for two single rides,” stated Christi Randolph, a public relations employee with QUARTA. “And if you travel a lot by transit, which we want you to do, a week pass or month pass is an even better deal.”
The ads will feature many different scenarios, such as having to use the restroom, wanting to get a bite to eat, having to make a quick stop or taking a trip that requires transfers. QUARTA is even launching a TweetBook campaign, with dashtags #choosethepass and #passperks in hope that more passengers will begin to use passes, not single ride fares.
“Realistically, the only time a single ride fare is the best choice is if you are only taking a one way trip. Otherwise, a day pass at least, which unlike the others can be purchased on the bus, is really the best choice.”