I-4 presents traveling struggles that none of us should face. On Target, an Orlando digital marketing agency, can empathize with these struggles. Getting to the office via I-4 is like walking through mud…with traffic. That’s why we appreciate the merger between SunRail and Uber.
Uber and SunRail both pride themselves in convenience, as well as safety. Whether you are on your way to your C-Suite, your landscaping job, or the basketball game at the local high school, combining an Uber ride with a trip on the SunRail will save you money and time. You can just kick back, and relax–or finish that report you have due.
A lifeline that runs through the state, I-4 connects us to the mall, to work, and everywhere in between. There is really no way around it, except maybe the Greenway, and even that is becoming more congested thanks to those who are choosing that route in their quest in avoiding the concrete jungle called I-4. And, with the aggressive construction efforts currently going on, traffic on I-4 is due to get even worse.
However, there is a solution: SunRail. SunRail is a commuter rail that became active a little over a year ago. It is the first of its kind: the first fixed-rail mass transit system ever built in Central Florida. It was designed to free up traffic on roads and provide commuters with a cost-effective, and time effective, alternative to driving.
Just like the Tri-Rail commuter rail system in South Florida, which runs along Interstate 95, SunRail targets choice riders. These are people who own at least one car but choose to take the train anyway. Tri-Rail reported that actually 66% of its riders fit this category.
We take notice at On Target of the digital marketing strategies that both SunRail and Uber employ to reach their respective audience. Here are nine of the greats:
- Hashtags: It’s Friday and across multiple social media platforms, SunRail includes #RideSunRail in a post and then encourages riders to enjoy Food Truck Friday at the Dr. Phillips Center. This surely gives potential riders a push off the couch and onto the train.
- Kittens: Anything + kittens = happy people. That is the philosophy Uber was working under when they devised the Uber Kittens promotion. Kittens were delivered to users in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Austin, Chicago, D.C., and New York. It really happened.
- Ask the Question: A headline for another SunRail post asks the pivotal question “Where will your ticket take you?” Below that, the post states that riders can plan their trip on SunRail.com, which is linked to the homepage. This draws in leads to their website and allows riders to plan ahead for their trip while feeling secure that they will get to their destination on time.
- Transformers: First, it was kittens, then Uber transformed. Transformers: Age of Extinction was nearing its release, so it was only natural that Uber would capitalize on that. They came up with a contest where riders had the chance to be driven by none other than Optimus Prime. It’s rumored that even Michael Bay, the film’s director, entered.
- Happy Kids: A picture of students from The Christ School riding the SunRail for the first time, with a headline that says as much, is another post by SunRail. Looking at the close-knit, smiling group of children on the train helps to position SunRail as child and family friendly. It also offers parents an alternative method for their children to get to summer camp!
- Music, Baby: Spotify and Uber partnering is a practical move and much more than practical was how they partnered. Uber and Spotify together were able to offer riders the chance to win a ride-along or live session with musical artists such as Diplo, Andrew W.K., Matt & Kim.
- Show the Love: SunRail has a short video on its social media pages of the Phase 2 Construction Celebration. People from the community are in the video showing their support. Two messages are conveyed with this video. The first is that progress is being made to complete construction on the SunRail to make it run even more efficiently than it currently does. The second message in the video shows actual members of the community who are supporting the construction project.
- Going Green: Since the environment is valuable to Uber, a promotion called ShuberX brought riders back to the Flintstones era. It was designed to literally reduce Uber’s carbon footprint. The promotion had Uber drivers pick riders up, on foot, in a cardboard car.
- Report Progress: One problem with SunRail is that it has yet to offer its passengers an efficient way to get from the station to their destination. On social media, SunRail posted a picture linking to an article, which is about the five cities that are collaborating to fix this problem. This is a great way to bring exposure to the plan. It also gives riders a heads up that, soon, getting where you need to go will be made easy with the linking of SunRail and Uber in these five cities.
The five participating cities are: Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, Maitland, and Sanford. These cities devised a one-year plan that will get residents out of their cars and onto the SunRail. This plan begins July 1 and is meant to reduce traffic congestion and to increase SunRail usage.
The Mayor of Altamonte Springs, Patricia Bates, said that SunRail is struggling to get riders and that Altamonte Springs has taken action to counteract this trend. Altamonte Springs implemented a program in March that assists Uber riders in paying their fares when riding within the municipality. When a rider travels to the SunRail station in Altamonte Springs, or from it, the municipality pays 25% of the cost of the Uber ride. The city also covers 20% of the cost of any trip that departs from and ends up back in Altamonte Springs. Mayor Bates declared that “Altamonte Springs will become the first fully-integrated Uber city in the United States.”
A similar program to that of Altamonte Springs’ was implemented in Lake Mary and Longwood last week. Tom Tomerlin, Lake Mary’s economic-development manager, sees the value in the program. He said, “The movement of people and goods is a very big part of the economy. The more efficiently we can be in helping people move around, the better off we’ll be.”
Longwood resident Joan Rush, 55, sees the need for this kind of program in her city. Ever since SunRail started operating, she has taken the train to her job in Maitland. She says, “It’s just so convenient,” as she waits at the Longwood station on a recent morning. She thinks “more people would take it if it was easier for them to get to the stations.” If Altamonte Springs is an example, then she’s right. Altamonte Springs has increased the volume of SunRail riders 10-1 since implementing the program.
Sanford and Maitland recently voted 4-1 in favor of similar Uber discount plans. Sanford residents like Jeanette Buhring are tired of hitting the traffic hotspots. She says, “I hit them all,” on her daily trips to Sand Lake via I-4.
SunRail is a great option for trips, offering free Wi-Fi and a safe, comfortable, and convenient environment to travel within. For businesses, SunRail has commuter benefits. These include lower payroll taxes, savings on parking fees, consistent arrival times, etc. On board advertising positions are now available for any company wishing to fill them.
At the click of a button, Uber offers trips that are both cost-effective and safe. Uber drivers submit to a background check to ensure you are riding in good hands.
Merging Uber and SunRail will become the best duo since lemon and lime. Traffic on I-4 is going to flow much better, and SunRail will increase its amount of passengers ten-fold. People who may not have taken Uber, but have taken SunRail, will find the value in Uber–and vice versa. Some advice from the Orlando digital marketing experts at On Target: ditch I-4. Your car will feel neglected, but she’ll get over it.