APTA Marketing & Communications workshop

Photos: Source: APTA

Reinvigorating Customer Service Culture Session at APTAs Marketing & Communications Workshop

USA: More than 350 marketing and communications experts from the public transport industry gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 28 – March 2 for APTA’s first in person version of the Marketing & Communications Workshop since February 2020.

Following two virtual formats for the event, this was the best attendance level to date, the US public transport association said.

The event opened with messages from APTA chair of Marketing & Communications, Glen Becerra shared news of the success bringing the conference back to an in-person event and thanked principle sponsor Outfront and paid tribute to their years of partnership.

RTC’s CEO MJ Maynard & Chair Justin Jones reflected on some of the challenges faced by the room, such as being responsible for sharing bad news including violence, labour shortages and homelessness. They went on to praise those who take on the difficult role of addressing the public and facing the limelight in situations out of their control.

Paul Skoutelas, APTA President & CEO described by video message a positive response from transit to Covid and said that the industry ‘had not just survived but thrived’. Sharing that national ridership levels in February 2023 had increased to 76% of pre-pandemic levels.

‘Downtown’ will return

Keynote speaker, author and public transport advocate Taras Grescoe, commented on the ‘death of downtown’ and how this will recover as ‘cars do not fit into future urbanisation’. Quoting that 30% of Americans do not drive and therefore transit will always play a role to the public, but it must be more available.

Successful campaigns

Sessions including a focus on crisis communications, social media, marketing new service, bringing back trust to transit, outreach and bringing back riders. Each session provided an opportunity to hear campaigns and success stories from a variety of operators and transit agencies. Attendees were also able to engage in thought-provoking panel discussions, again sharing best practice and seeking advice from their peers.

Host operator RTC provided delegate with a variety of tours showcasing the sites of Las Vegas, as well as speaking in multiple sessions providing updates and inspiration from recent campaigns.

Although the sector is facing many challenges, there is much to be celebrated, and a gala lunch honoured top campaigns and marketing initiatives from across the sector.

APTA Adwheel Marketing & Comms Workshop

Gala lunch honouring top campaigns and marketing initiatives from across the across the industry

The workshop provided an open space to share best practice, inspire and network amongst industry experts. The future for marketing transit is certainly not without its challenges but this conference enabled experts to connect, share their successes and go back to their network with a positive outlook and ideas for the future.