Metrolink is the regional passenger railroad for Southern California connecting six counties (Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and Ventura), and whose ridership grew to nearly 12 million annual boardings pre-COVID. As with other public transportation agencies, Metrolink’s ridership fell significantly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Metrolink was traditionally a commuter rail service supporting riders of all incomes, but in 2020 Metrolink decided to pivot from a weekday commute business to a passenger railroad that customers use for all their transportation needs, from work to weekend recreation.
Metrolink wanted to create a loyalty program to help drive a closer relationship with their riders. Their goal was to design and develop a loyalty program that provides economic benefits to members for increased ridership, as well as social and green benefits associated with mass transit. The objective for the SoCal Explorer loyalty program was to encourage people to integrate Metrolink into their everyday lives rather than just as a commute to work. With the program launching during COVID-29 pandemic, Metrolink wanted to provide riders with safe, reliable, sustainable, and affordable ways to travel all while earning loyalty points for each ride.
Brandmovers and Metrolink partnered together to design and develop a user-friendly loyalty program that:
- Drives an increase in ridership, improves rider retention, and attracts new riders
- Enables Metrolink to better understand the purchasing patterns of both mobile and physical ticket customers, and utilize this data for new fare and pricing initiatives
- Promotes the environmental sustainability benefits of taking transit
- Connects and grows relationships with local communities, customers, and businesses
In partnership with Metrolink, Brandmovers created a program design that focuses on increasing ridership through beneficial incentives, valuable rewards, and customer engagement. Brandmovers created a robust branded loyalty experience, integrated with a number of BI, Email Service Provider, and Ticketing tools, and configured the system to feature actionable analytics. Members are able to earn points for miles ridden by connecting their loyalty account to the client's mobile app or by submitting their paper tickets through the loyalty platform.
Ticket Scanning and ValidSpend Redemption
Using Brandmovers image scanning technology ValidSpend, the SoCal Explorer program allows paper ticket customers (which make up over 50% of Metrolink customers) to submit their physical tickets via photo, code-entry, or barcode scan, and earn points for miles ridden. This enables Metrolink to connect with these previously unaccessible riders and provides opportunities to further grow rider relationships. Effectively all loyalty member ticket purchases, regardless of whether they were physical (90%+ automated validation) or digital, are rewarded.
The Brandmovers loyalty platform combines Metrolink customer data across multiple silos (paper tickets, mobile app, CRM software) into one central location. Robust backend analytics makes it easier than ever for the client to identify and understand their riders on a more individual level. Metrolink is able to utilize this data to implement complicated fare and pricing initiatives like fare-capping.
To connect riders with offers from local partners, Brandmovers created SoCal Explorer Partners, a partner program that allows local businesses to offer discounts and other exclusive incentives to SoCal members in exchange for being promoted within the program. This helps grow Metrolink's connections with local communities and creates more value for riders that can motivate them to increase their public transit use.
Carbon Footprint Tracker
To help promote the green benefits of public transit, Brandmovers built a Carbon Footprint Tracker that allows members in the SoCal Explorer loyalty program to monitor their Carbon Footprint reduction rates in terms of numerous metrics. From gallons of gasoline saved to pounds of coal burned and everything in between, customers can track their environmental impact each time they take public transit.
Promotions and Engagement
To continue growing their connections with riders, Metrolink wanted to find ways to increase rider interactions and engagement both when they're taking transit and when they're not. Using the loyalty platform's Promotions Builder Metrolink can create special bonus promotions and special offers that incentivize riders to take public transit. They can build, launch, and monitor digital promotions like sweepstakes, social media hashtag challenges, and scavenger hunts to drive rider engagement. In additional Metrolink is able to use the platform's Communication Hub to send triggered email communications that deliver relevant news, updates, and service information to riders and ensures Metrolink stays in contact with their different audiences.