WRTA hires Farris to Increase Ridership

Farris Marketing was retained by the Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA), the public transit authority for Mahoning County and the City of Youngstown, to develop and implement a new branding and ridership campaign.

“Every day, 5,000 county residents use our service. Yet so many more need it and don’t use it.” says WRTA Executive Director Jim Ferraro. “They don’t have a car or can’t afford the gas and insurance. They have no one they can count on for ongoing rides. But they need to get to work, to the store and medical appointments.”

Riding on WRTA can cost as little as 60¢ one way, and buses run weekdays from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm — with selected routes running until midnight. But according to Ferraro, many residents don’t know where the buses go and when and what it costs. They don’t know where to get on the bus and where they can get off.

Farris Marketing was retained to change that. Farris developed a campaign designed to increase awareness and make it easier for residents to access WRTA services.

The campaign includes:

  • “Giving the Valley a Lift” — a new branding and positioning campaign with the theme
  • Extensive research to determine the needs of riders
  • A major TV campaign including two types of commercials. One is a full 3-D animation spot developed by Farris featuring an animated bus named  “Arty .” A second series of TV spots with Stacey Willis, former WFMJ morning show feature guest, serving as spokesperson.
  • A series of videos titled “Riding with Stacey” in which host Stacey Willis demonstrates how easy it is to use WRTA services. She also gives tips and suggestions to riders and introduces and interviews WRTA staffers.
  • A completely new and different user-friendly website set to launch in April
  • An extensive social media campaign — also set to launch in April

Farris Marketing is an award-winning team of experts in market research, strategy, writing, video, design, media, consumer insight and web technology. Founded in 1982, Boardman-based Farris is the most experienced marketing firm in the area, having developed and managed projects for companies and non-profits in 18 states and four different countries.