SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area Rapid Transit officials say a six-month test incentive program shows that ridership incentives can shift transit riders' travel behavior.
The program, dubbed as BART perks, encouraged riders to shift travel times away from the peak morning hour of 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. to reduce crowding. During the six-month trial period, an average of 250 perks participants shifted their ride either before or after the peak morning rush hour each weekday. The adjustment was the equivalent of two full BART transit vehicles being freed up each weekday during the agency’s busiest hour.
Participants who signed up for the trial program were eligible to win cash rewards and were also eligible for other promotions if they shifted their ride to either before or after the morning rush.
BART managers say it is the first program of its kind in North America and that its perks program was modeled after similar international transit rewards programs. The BART study showed similar results to a program deployed in Singapore, according to the agency.
While preliminary results of the program were proven successful, the agency is still in the process of a full evaluation of the perks program.
The study was funded primarily through a Federal Highway Administration grant program that supports new approaches to reducing congestion.