Capital Metro

Improving Short-term Ridership and Long-term Public Support

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly referred to as Capital Metro, is a public transportation provider in Austin, Texas. It operates bus, paratransit services and a commuter rail system known as the Capital MetroRail in and around the city, delivering more than 20 million passenger trips annually.

The Challenge

Improve Reputation, Increase Ridership and Build Awareness

Hahn Public has played an important communication role with Capital Metro for more than three decades. Recently, our team worked closely with Capital Metro on a three-part program to strengthen the agency’s reputation, increase ridership and build awareness of its new services and products.

The Solution

Over a two-year timeframe, the Hahn Public team arranged preview ride events for community influencers (including media), hosted focus groups, updated the agency’s message platform then designed a raft of new collateral ranging from FAQs and presentations to media kits and social media content, to include graphics, motion-graphic animations and videos created by the Hahn Public creative shop.

The Hahn Public team went the extra mile to help explain a series of complex agency initiatives by creating award-winning videos for use in community presentations, on social media and by media outlets about Capital Metro’s MetroRapid High-Frequency System, Bus Rapid Transit service, MetroBike, new Park & Rides and Project Connect strategic plan.

To support increased ridership, Hahn Public produced a series of How-to-Ride videos for use on social media. We also hired and trained street teams to meet passengers at busy stations during peak hours to distribute information about the agency’s new services and educated passengers on how to download and use the Capital Metro mobile app — a first-of-its-kind offering that has become one of the most popular transit apps in the world according to the American Public Transportation Association.

In addition to managing event logistics for initiative kick-offs and drafting everything from website content to collateral copy, Hahn Public also performed media relations for both proactive outreach and in response to inbound inquiries. Our work strengthened the relationship between the agency and local reporters which led to Capital Metro’s story being told more fairly and accurately.

The Results

Renewed Reputation and Exceeded Ridership Goals

With Hahn Public’s multi-dimensional strategic communication approach, the agency reinforced its reputation in the community, connected more closely to community influencers and generated dozens of positive press articles. Our MetroRapid campaign exceeded ridership goals by 25% and resulted in more than $3 million in ticket sales, a trend that has continued to increase. These efforts positioned Capital Metro as a leading solution provider to Central Texas’ growing traffic congestion and have set the agency up to win voter approval for future bond initiatives.