With millions of people flocking to Delaware’s beaches each summer, traffic congestion continues to grow. Delaware Transit Corporation, operating as DART, is the statewide public transportation provider. In May 2017, DART’s seasonal bus service start-up coincided with the opening of a new Park & Ride. The concept was that the public could travel on air-conditioned buses to avoid the stress and aggravation of driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The Park & Ride got riders to their destinations faster, safely and at little cost, thanks to designated bus lanes.
The overall objective was to spread the word about the new Park & Ride and increase ridership, thereby reducing traffic congestion. Our key message emphasized a faster ride, to more places, more often. A big initiative was the rebrand of the service. The 26-year-old “Resort Transit,” which had little name recognition or meaning, was rebranded as DART Beach Bus. The simpler name included color-coded routes to easily distinguish each bus stop. The easy-to-follow color system was used on maps, at bus stops, in brochures and ads, and at the bus shelters. The plan featured public relations, social media, print, radio, lifeguard stand and movie theater ads, plus hotel key cards, bar coasters and table tents. The “DART to” campaign highlighted the various destinations you could reach by the Beach Bus.
With greater public awareness, achieved through the rebrand and strategic advertising, the 2017 season of DART’s Beach Bus was successful, with an unprecedented increase in ridership of more than 21 percent. As a result, fewer cars were on coastal roads, and there was less congestion. Increased customer awareness was evident. The new Beach Bus also garnered a lot of attention through social media, particularly Facebook, where subscribers helped “share” the news with their friends.
increase in ridership
at the APTA