Exploring the Success of the First Weekend of the Réseau Express Métropolitain and its Lessons for Public Transit

2023-07-31 15:30:00

The first weekend of commissioning of the Réseau express métropolitain generated enthusiasm and attracted 120,000 onlookers, twice the number of passengers expected.

Even before being a proof of interest in public transport, if this demonstrates one thing, it is above all how difficult it is to resist the song of free.

Would you like a left shoe?

When I see my peers say yes to everything they are offered and tell them it’s free, I think back to this experience offered by the famous host Oprah Winfrey at the end of the 90s.

The American host used to surprise guests on her show by occasionally giving gifts as generous as new cars or trips.

During a recording, the production had placed a box of sneakers in the entrance of the studio, indicating that everyone could take two, free of charge. Unsurprisingly, almost everyone in the audience picked up both shoes. The catch is that all the shoes were for the left foot.

Asked what they would do with two leftover sneakers, participants competed in creativity: using them in the dryer to air out sheets and towels, giving them to the dog to play with, or even turning them into works of art. Everyone agreed on one thing, they took the shoes BECAUSE IT WAS FREE.

Lessons from REM

The REM experience cannot be called a success without taking into account the fact that it was free.

To become more attractive, public transit must be efficient and convenient, but it must also be a logical economic choice for users.

When parking and travel in cities become prohibitive, as is the case in many metropolises, the number of public transit users will increase. Until then, we will still see the automobile as the preferred solution for many Quebecers.

#REM #irresistible #attraction #free

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