To keep the public informed, Metro issued 192 news releases, conducted 37 news conferences, responded to more than 1,700 incoming media inquiries, and generated 7,817 print and digital news stories on Metro-related activities, valued at $2.4 billion in the US. Internationally, a total of 559 stories were tracked and valued at $4.9 billion.Nearly 400 business and industry leaders attended our first-ever Industry Forum in downtown Los Angeles to hear about our existing projects and programs and to share ideas for battling traffic and creating transportation options for our region.
Metro’s new Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI) introduced a new Unsolicited Proposal Policy to encourage and facilitate partnerships between Metro and innovative private sector companies. Since it was launched, Metro has received 41 Unsolicited Proposals – about one per week – for everything from cutting-edge safety technology to new forms of on-demand transportation services to multi-billion dollar proposals to form innovative partnerships to deliver capital investments.
OEI completed its first two partnerships, including an innovative first/last mile mobility strategy with a ride sharing company to help residents travel to and from the new Expo Line without driving a personal car, and a series of story-driven podcasts that unearth the rich history of transportation in LA and offer clues into its future. The Innovation Office also applied for several grants, including a collaboration with our Countywide Planning and Development Sustainability team and local non-profit organization LA-Mas. This effort led to a grant award for a pilot project to implement design interventions around the Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park Metro Station area to increase walking, biking, and transit ridership, expand the toolkit of first/last mile strategies, and change cultural attitudes regarding public and active transportation to a way that is scalable on a city-wide level.
OEI also kicked off a year-long strategic planning process to re-examine the agency’s role as the major mobility provider in LA County and course correct for a transportation revolution already underway.
All 25 regional transportation agencies in LA County have joined the Metro TAP network, creating the largest seamless fare media system in the nation. This allows passengers unprecedented connectivity and the ability to transfer easily to any regional bus or train.
To enhance service to underserved areas, we developed a Mobile Customer Center that makes it more convenient for our customers to purchase TAP and reduced-fare cards.
TAP vending machine screens have been redesigned to make it easier and more intuitive for our patrons to purchase fares. We also created a new TAP website and customer response system, and web sales have increased by 52 percent over 2015. Metro staff also absorbed TAP’s customer service function and moved it in-house, enabling us to close out a yearly $11.7 million vendor contract.
Metro continues to be a leader in transit agency new media communications. Our website, metro.net, received some 14.8 million visits and 37.6 million page views in fy 2016. Our blog The Source was visited by more than 1.1 million readers, with 3.1 million page views; our Facebook page reached more than 6.2 million people (that’s 62% of the population of LA County) and views of our Twitter accounts – including Metro Rider Alerts, which offers patrons real-time service updates – increased by 65%. What’s more (much more), Metro’s transit data is available on over one billion iPhones and 1.4 billion Android devices.
We produced videos for the Expo opening, LA Food Fest and the Safetyville rail safety campaign that were viewed more than 3 million times and generated mentions on the Today show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and other major news outlets.