UC Berkeley News
Berkeleyan

Berkeleyan

Bear Pass program shifts into higher gear

| 16 March 2006

The four-month "Pass Along the Bear Pass" campaign went a long way toward getting staff and faculty to switch from cars to buses for their daily commutes, campus transportation officials say. And they're optimistic - though not yet certain - that the boost in ridership will be enough to keep the discount program rolling beyond June, when the two-year pilot period is set to expire.

The campaign, which launched in November, relied heavily on existing Bear Pass holders - who pay $20 a month for unlimited trips on AC Transit buses throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties and over the Bay Bridge - to promote the benefits of membership in the program. The strategy worked, with enrollment increasing by more than 30 percent to roughly 1,000 users.

"The 'Pass Along the Bear Pass' campaign really showed us the dedication and passion some Bear Pass holders have for transit," says Kira Stoll, the campus's transportation planner. "During the campaign we received numerous positive user testimonials, volunteer bus-rider ambassadors, and people just willing to spread the word. It's been extremely satisfying to get this appreciative feedback from our customers."

Parking and Transportation also announced the winners of the grand-prize drawing in its "refer a friend" campaign, which offered extra incentives - from $100 and $50 gift certificates to BART tickets and tote bags - for new enrollees and the Bear Pass holders who referred them. The top winner in Monday's drawing was Jude Bell, of the Department of Art Practice, with second and third prizes going to Lois Marie Gribneau of UC Extension and Christine Cosgrove of the Institute of Transportation Studies.

Parking and Transportation is currently in talks with AC Transit over the future of the Bear Pass program, with a decision expected by early May.