California is reviewing its $9M public education, outreach and rail safety education program touting passenger rail and bus service in the Golden State with an open RFP process this month.
The Sacramento-based California Dept. of Transportation, known as Caltrans, tabs the campaign mainly to support Amtrak California, including its San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner rail lines and bus routes. The San Joaquin line, which has increased ridership to top 1M annually in recent years, is fifth in the country for riders.
The Pacific Surfliner was re-branded from the San Diegan in 2000 and serves in the No. 2 busiest rail corridor in the country, but it competes with local commuter rail. Ridership has declined in recent months after rising to top 2.7M in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Advertising, PR, websites/social media are all covered by the sweeping pact, which could include multiple agencies. On the PR front, an agency is expected to develop an overall PR plan to increase Amtrak California ridership and revenue, especially on underperforming routes. Events, press conferences and releases, blog posts and other content, and development of “tie-in” trips for events like Comic-Con and the Coachella music festival fall under PR, as well. Its “Be Track Smart” campaign targets kids about rail safety with PSAs and other outreach.