Transport for Canberra’s long-awaited MyWay ticketing system was launched today, but you could be forgiven for not noticing.
When the Nightrider service ended on the last weekend of February, one of the main criticisms was its lack of promotion. So the lack of promotion thus far of MyWay seems like déjà-vu.
There have been many press releases and media interviews regarding the new system as well as articles on RiotACT and ACT Bus, but where is the advertising? The most obvious place to advertise a new bus ticketing system is on the buses themselves. But apart from a few brochures in the buses, actual advertising is nowhere to be seen.
The Redex bus service which commenced in November 2009 is a perfect example of how to advertise – nearly every bus in the ACTION fleet had an internal advertisement for Redex and many also had external ads. There were also radio ads to further promote the service.
Online promotion of MyWay also leaves a lot to be desired. A google search for “MyWay” did not return the official website on the first page – the only mention on the first page was an ABC News article. “MyWay Canberra” and “MyWay ACTION” performed better, although for both the official webpage was ranked number 4.
There has also been next to no social network promotion. On Twitter the only official mentions have come through @TAMSmediaroom with unofficial promotion from @ACTBus and @ACTION_Buses; while on Facebook, MyWay has no official presence: there is only an unofficial MyWay page and promotion from the ACT Bus page.
Even ticket agents appear to have been caught unaware. ACT Bus today visited a MyWay agent listed on the official website. The staff member at the outlet advised that they had been left “in the dark” about the new system and directed us to the “interchange or depot”. A second ticket agent who was selling the pre-loaded cards was unable to assist a customer who asked how the system worked, and ended up relying on a fellow customer who incorrectly stated that a $20 card was the same as a Faresaver 10.
Feedback submitted to ACT Bus on the system also showed flaws in the system, with the University of Canberra union store turning away customers who had filled out registration forms as directed by the official website. Staff also commented that ACTION had not advised how to use the machines, and directed customers to the (not yet open) MyWay centre at Westfield Belconnen Bus Station.
So what more needs to be done to promote MyWay? Here are a few thoughts:
• every bus to have an internal advertisement about the system (this may be in the works already)
• external advertising on up to 25% of the bus fleet
• AdShel bus shelter ads – especially at major bus stops
• register an easier to remember URL such as myway.act.gov.au (URLs such as myway.info, myway.com, myway.com.au are already taken)
• paid Google advertising for MyWay searches
• internet search optimisation for MyWay website
• internet advertising in Canberra media sites such as The Canberra Times and the RiotACT. ACT Bus as a non-profit would run ads for free.
What do you think? Discuss this topic at ACT Bus Forum