Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - marketing/promotion, policy - fares, economics - revenue, economics - pricing, mode - bus, mode - tram/light rail


Trolley cars, Trams, San Diego (California), Ridership, Revenues, Regulatory policy, Pricing, Policy, Policies, Patronage (Transit ridership), Marketing, Intracity bus transportation, Government policy, Fares, Bus transit


The multimodal operator environment and fare structure of San Diego's transit system have, for the past several years, been structured to encourage transfers and to provide easy access between the bus and rail systems. During the past year, marketing efforts in the region were expanded to penetrate new markets and aggressively pursue new customers for the region's bus and trolley services. The real issue was how to effectively integrate the existing fare structure with the new markets and retain existing customers. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System had a great opportunity to expand its market with the opening of a new trolley extension to Mission Valley. At the same time, bus services were also being expanded. A new effort resulted in a commitment from the policy board to move ahead with a more aggressive marketing and fare strategy to capture new riders. The objective of the new fare policy was to relate it to new markets while retaining existing markets. The fare policy was designed with a pricing strategy to closely respond to different market segments, both new and existing. The new fares were implemented on November 23, 1997. The goal was to increase ridership and fare revenues and minimize impacts on existing riders. Initial results, based on the first 9 months of the new strategy, indicate that ridership increased 13.5% and revenue increased 10.6%.