From: Josh Pringle, CTV News Ottawa
OC Transpo is ramping up efforts to encourage federal workers to use public transit when going into the office two or three days a week.
A new campaign targeting hybrid workers features the tagline, "To your office and back, any day of the week". It comes as the federal government phases in a return-to-the-office plan for tens of thousands of employees in Ottawa and Gatineau.
"The campaign objectives are to primarily increase ridership, attract new and returning customers, educate new and returning customers on how to use the system and how to plan their commutes, and ultimately to build trust in OC Transpo," Jocelyne Turner, OC Transpo's director of strategic communications, told the transit commission Friday morning.
"We want people to know that transit is a cost effective, flexible and convenient option to get to the office, and we have a number of fare products available to suit the needs of every customer, including those working hybrid." OC Transpo is partnering with Gatineau's STO on the campaign. It will include social media posts and feature advertising on digital, social media, radio and on city-owned billboards and bus shelters until the end of May.
Turner told councillors that OC Transpo staff will work to reach customers directly at festivals and in the workplace.
"We will also be doing targeted outreach so that OC Transpo staff can reach potential customers directly to promote our services," Turner said. "We'll be taking advantage of the upcoming festival and event season, as well as working with employers to be physically present in offices across the city."
Coun. David Hill questioned why OC Transpo is launching an advertising campaign to encourage hybrid workers to use public transit even though a new fare option is not ready.
"We know that hybrid workers are back in the office now, it started in January and it has been a slow ramp up, but the work has begun already to have people to return to the office," Turner said.
"So we want to capitalize on this opportunity to start connecting with workers today as they return back."
Hill says the number one selling point to bring riders back to public transit is reliability.
"We need to make sure that the service we're providing is reliable, that it's safe, and once we have that we need to make sure that we communicate well," Hill said.
"If somebody expects their bus to arrive at 7:02 in the morning, we need to make sure that we deliver that service."
Hill will introduce a motion at the next transit commission meeting to look at ways to further incentivize hybrid workers to return to transit.