Creating a Conscientious Muni Culture and Increasing Ridership for San Francisco
Ride Right is an interactive, multi-faceted educational campaign to make people feel more comfortable and safe on Muni by encouraging conscientious behavior, as well as pride and ownership of our transit system. This campaign will target both high schoolers and adults. Energy will amplified using two main components: an educational and social media campaign and Ride to School Day in conjunction with Walk & Roll to School Day. This combination of an ongoing campaign and distinct events will allow riders to put into practice what they have learned. Ride Right has a double meaning: both riding Muni correctly and making the right mode choice in the first place.
Increase public transportation ridership and other sustainable modes among middle schoolers, high schoolers, and their parents and families by orienting them to the system and making it fun, comfortable, and safe to ride.
Teach middle and high schoolers the proper etiquette for riding Muni in order to make it a better experience for everyone riding. Do this through a fun, participatory campaign to teach our city how to ride the bus.
- Work with Bay Area artists to generate thought-provoking, stirring visuals to engage the public in dialogue on how to be a conscientious rider.
Ensure the longevity of the Free Muni for Youth program.
Educational and Social Media Campaign
The first and most ongoing component of Ride Right is the campaign for conscientious ridership. Muni stations, buses, trains and shelters will have their ad space transformed into fun, thought-provoking visuals from Bay Area artists promoting suggestions such as:
Take off your backpack when you get in the bus
Let people off before you get on
When on the bus, move to let people off
Look around—does a senior or disabled or pregnant person need your seat?
Music off or for you only
Keep your eyes up and phone down
No eating or drinking on the bus
Pack it in, pack it out: take your trash off of the bus
BART has posters sharing similar messages:
More than just informational, ours would be fun and inspiring with work from Bay Area artists.
The visuals for this campaign will be fun and eclectic, as represented by the following iconic Bay Area artists.
Beyond physical ad space, this campaign will have a strong interactive presence on the internet, also aimed at adults. Building off of SF Transit Riders’ hugely successful 22-Day Muni Challenge campaign in June 2015, we will encourage riders to celebrate riding Muni by taking selfies when they are riding right: putting their backpacks on the floor or holding it in front of them, offering their seat to someone who needs it, only taking up one seat. They share these with the hashtag #RideRightSF.
Ride to School Day
By educating our youth about Ride Right to make a safer, more comfortable Muni, we pave the way for Ride to School Day. The first annual Ride to School Day will launch in September 2017. This will serve as a Muni Orientation Day to familiarize youth with the routine and assure their parents that it is a great way to get them from home to school and everywhere in between. Ride to School Day will be held in conjunction with the already successful Walk and Roll to School Day run by Safe Routes to School. We will partner with specific schools to encourage their students to participate, spreading the word through assemblies, flyers, and even curriculum.
Due to budget cuts several years ago, SFUSD no longer provides school buses for most kids. Approximately 24,000 kids now take public transit to school. A successful campaign was waged to allow low and moderate income family kids to ride Muni for free, which became the program Free Muni for Youth, which Google has been funding for two years at a cost of $6.8M ($3.4M per year). 81% of youth who ride transit are taking advantage of Free Muni for Youth. Not only do these students use Muni to go to school, but their lives are actually expanded by having free access to transit. They are able to go to jobs outside of their neighborhood, and explore areas that they might not otherwise because the barrier—the fee to get on Muni—is no longer there. This is good for the families affected and it’s good for all of San Francisco.
The above 2015 presentation slide from the SFMTA shows that 40.3% of 6th graders and 31.7% of 9th graders arrive to school in the Family Car. Extrapolating from 2012 SFUSD enrollment data for Middle and High School, this means 9,000 private autos making trips and stops during rush hour, or 18,000 or more a day. The right guidance could easily reduce this number, increasing ridership and thereby reducing environmental impact and transportation-related emissions.
Educating youth about how to ride Muni was supposed to be part of Free Muni for Youth, according to SFMTA, but this piece of the program was never implemented. With our proposed program, SF Transit Riders will not only teach children how to ride Muni, they will show Google, which has funded Free Muni for Youth short-term, both how successful this program has been and how to expand its impact. We will launch a campaign to make a more clean, usable and safe Muni by teaching kids, and by proxy, parents, how to Ride Right.
As an advocacy group of and for riders, SF Transit Riders is uniquely positioned to run this campaign. SFTR is the only non profit organization whose goal is to make a truly excellent Muni for the riders. Excellence to us includes safety, reliability, frequency, and affordability. Some of this change starts with riders ourselves: more conscientious behavior creates more safety and comfort on the bus which in turn will bring more ridership.
This campaign sparks intergenerational behavior change starting with one member of the family: the pre-teen or teenager. Finally old enough to get themselves to school and beyond, choosing public transportation frees up their whole family to make healthier and more ecological transit mode decisions instead of the use of a private vehicle. Behavior change starts with kids who can in turn educate parents. We will encourage them to ride Muni by showing them how. Starting with younger riders helps a generation to be engaged and aware of the environment on and beyond the bus, improving the system for a life-time of riding.