BlinkTag Brainstorm: Carsharing, Bike Sharing and TNCs for reducing single occupancy vehicle trips

BlinkTag recently helped a client to brainstorm ideas on how to get suburban commuters to use carsharing, bike sharing and TNCs (Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft).

A key hurdle to getting people to use TNCs, carshare and bike share is getting them to try it the first time. Once someone has successfully used carsharing, bike sharing or TNCs, they are much more likely to do it again. Before their first time using it, people have a lot of unanswered questions:

  • general logistics
  • how much will it cost
  • how does the app work
  • what happens if I can’t find the car/driver/bike
  • how will I return the car

These initial questions make these modes seem confusing, difficult to use and make many people anxious about trying them.

After having successfully used carsharing, bike sharing or TNCs, all of these questions will have been answered and users will see them as easy to use and convenient. After first use, many people will continue to use these modes. So, focusing efforts on getting people to try carsharing, bike sharing or TNCs once will likely have a great impact.

Its also important to note that people won’t be excited about bike sharing, carsharing or TNCs if there are not bike share or carshare cars easily accessible in where the live or work. So its not worth promoting until these modes are actually established, and once they are its important to target just people who would have easy access to these.

There are two ways to get people to try bike sharing, carsharing and TNCs:

  • Pay them (i.e. make it free)
  • Supervise them/offer in person support to try them out

Ideas for promoting carsharing:

  • Have carshare test drives at street fairs and farmers markets in CC county with the ability to sign up for a membership.
  • Offer targeted coupons for people to try out carsharing for free for a day.
  • Make it easier/encourage people to use pre-tax transportation dollars for carsharing membership and usage fees.
  • Help organize deep discounted/subsidized carsharing memberships for groups such as large apartment buildings, city employees, college students, teachers, credit union members, churches, etc.
  • Encourage BART+carshare for errands/appointments where the last mile isn’t easy to reach.
  • Make a “How to use carsharing” video that shows exactly how to access a carsharing car, how to use it and how to return it and also ideas on the types of trips where carsharing is a good idea.

Ideas for promoting bike sharing:

  • Make bike sharing free for a day to try out, have staffed stations where users can take it for a spin and see how to check in/check out.
  • Offer short group rides/tours using bike share.
  • Make it easier/encourage people to use pre-tax transportation dollars for bike share membership and usage fees fees.
  • Help organize deep discounted/subsidized bike sharing memberships for groups such as large apartment buildings, city employees, college students, teachers, credit union members, churches, etc.
  • Encourage BART+bike share for errands/appointments where the last mile isn’t easy to reach.
  • Make a “How to use Bike Sharing” video that shows exactly how to access a bike sharing bike, lock it up and also suggests some specific ideas about where to bike.

Ideas for promoting TNCs:

  • Put a sign at a designated pickup spot at all BART stations/major transit hubs – this legitimizes TNCs, makes sure people wait in an area where its easy for Lyft/Uber drivers to find them, promotes their use to everyone and most importantly makes it simple for Lyft Line/Uberpool rides to pick up multiple people at the same exact curbside spot, minimizing wait time and congestion. Also, if there was a designated spot, users would be likely to find others heading in the same direction and informally agree to share an Uber/Lyft or even taxi and split the cost between them.
  • Encourage BART+TNC for trips where the last mile isn’t easy to reach, but BART beats tunnel/bridge congestion. BART for the majority of the distance and then TNC to the final destination. Make a video to promote the idea of TNC for last mile.
  • Offer an in-person class for seniors about how to use Lyft/Uber with a real demo and free credit.
  • Promote TNCs as a way to supplement existing company shuttles/vanpools when someone has to work late/shuttle full or delayed.
  • Make a “how to use TNC” video that explains exactly how it works.
  • Large employers could promote Lyft line/Uberpool among employees as an easy way to share a ride to work for users where regular carpooling isn’t feasible.

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