Calgary Transit is expanding their welcome back program with the addition of a trivia bus to select routes in the city.
The optional and unscheduled service, which will be added as an additional bus to routes starting on Aug. 17, will give transit customers a more interactive experience as they travel to their destinations.
“We’re working on improving the customer experience as we welcome people back. And this is just one of the initiatives that we’re looking into,” said Amanda Bradley, a transit relations specialist with Calgary Transit.
“We’ve done the karaoke bus, and we saw that Calgarians were really talented, so this one’s a little bit more challenging. We’re testing people to see their trivia knowledge, but this time people can also win prizes.”
Among the prizes up for grabs are Calgary Transit socks, pens, teddy bears, ticket packs, and monthly passes.
Bradley said they were looking for additional ways to get Calgarians involved with fun activities on their welcome back buses, but that also allowed them to work together as teams.
Customers gave thumbs up to prizes
Aisha Muhammad was one of the first customers to compete on the bus as part of a team on Wednesday at the Saddletowne LRT station..
She said she was curious to come try the bus after seeing it advertised on social media.
Contestants, including Muhammad, had the opportunity to risk their smaller prizes for the chance at a big one.
“It was really scary but it was also fun,” she said.
Muhammad walked away from the trivia contest with a handful of prizes, including the coveted bus and LRT themed socks.
She said that she would try it again given the chance.
Positive feedback from karaoke buses
And although they haven’t been able to translate it into numbers yet, Bradley said that there has been a lot of positive feedback from the service’s karaoke buses. Those buses launched at the beginning of July.
Calgary Transit will be announcing the day of which routes the trivia bus will be operating on, unlike with the karaoke bus which was meant to be a surprise for riders.
Bradley said that no customers will be forced to take the trivia bus, and that the bus itself will be an unscheduled addition to regular route service.
She said that the addition of the trivia bus was one of many things that Calgary Transit is doing behind the scenes to improve the quality of their service. The bus, she said, was just one of the more high profile aspects to their overall plan.
“This is just one of the ways that we’re looking at improving the customer experience. We have enhanced cleaning of our systems all day throughout the day, we have additional security stuff that we’re hiring, so we’re taking a multifaceted approach to this.”
“It isn’t just this, but this is just one of those positive experiences for customers.”
Transit offering half-priced passes for remainder of August, September
Another way that Calgary Transit has tried to get customers back onto buses and LRT lines is through discounted passes for August and September.
Normally adult passes retail for $112, but are now $56 for those months.
“We thought what a fantastic idea to help try to promote transit, especially in the summer months, to try to take transit to the park, to events that are going on throughout the city,” said Stephen Tauro, communication and information lead with Calgary Transit.
“Just offering it at that discounted price allows for a little bit of attraction for people to use it as an option, and then maybe they have a great experience and change their their travel patterns going forward.”
He said the emphasis for continuing the discount into September was to re-encourage riders to start using transit services to commute to the downtown core again.
Tauro said that currently ridership has returned to between 60 and 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, and that they expect that number to grow as students start using transit again to get to school in the fall.