TTC riders react to transit agency’s new ad campaign

Click to play video: 'Some TTC riders taking aim at new marketing campaign'
Some TTC riders taking aim at new marketing campaign
WATCH ABOVE: In an effort to boost ridership, the TTC has rolled out a new ad campaign. But, as Brittany Rosen reports, not every rider has taken a liking to the transit agency's recent marketing, with some even calling it 'tone deaf.' – Jan 11, 2023

In an effort to boost ridership and revenue, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has rolled out a new ad campaign.

However, not every rider has taken a liking to the transit agency’s recent marketing.

One of the latest ads shows a passenger asleep with empty seats behind him, and reads, “Take a time out. Take the TTC. The relaxing, affordable choice.”

On social media, some users took aim at the ads, with one person saying “whoever came up with this ad has never used the TTC in their life.”

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On Reddit, a user wrote “God these ads make me so mad when they are increasing the price of fairs (sic) and cutting service – in what world is it relaxing to wait 20 mins for a bus only to find it over crowded or too full to board?”

Transit users also voiced safety concerns following a number of violent incidents at TTC stations over the past year. Among them: a fatal stabbing, a woman being set on fire, and another woman narrowly surviving after being pushed onto the tracks. 

“You hear the term ‘cognitive dissonance,’ where you hear one thing and you’re experiencing another, and it flies in the face of people’s experiences” said Herman Rosenfeld with TTC Riders, a transit riders advocacy group.

For post-secondary student Ameera Aziz, it’s the part of the ad that says the TTC is an ‘affordable choice’ that is most bothersome, given the company’s 2023 budget includes a 10-cent fare hike in addition to service cuts. 

“I feel like as a student we’re already paying a lot. A monthly pass costs a student $128, which is a lot,” she said.

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In an interview with Global News Morning, former TTC chair Karen Stintz said, “We want to attract more ridership to the TTC. That’s what’s going to keep it viable, that’s what’s going to keep it funded and that’s what’s going to keep it safer.”

As for marketing experts, they say the company missed the mark when it comes to connecting with their target audience, which are those who take the TTC daily during its peak hours.

“If, for example, you were targeting people and you know you’re targeting people who are retired or never travel in rush hour, maybe that ad would work. The problem is those aren’t the people that are seeing it,” marketing professor David Soberman said.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told Global News in an emailed statement that the agency has “several ads that are designed to do different things. Some are for recruitment, some are to showcase features and safety initiatives, and some are intended to encourage transit ridership and generate revenue for our system.”

“Every transit agency in the world undertakes similar initiatives.”

Click to play video: 'TTC budget challenges for board and transit users'
TTC budget challenges for board and transit users

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