Dublin Bus’s strategy to introduce more Quality Bus Corridors in Dublin was being seriously undermined and threatened by vandalism and poor passenger numbers on one particular existing Route. So, what exactly was the trouble?
The trouble was that local kids didn’t respect the bus. Our challenge was to reposition Dublin Bus in the minds of young people so that they respected it as a valuable service in their community, and not a place to smoke, slash the seats and practice their graffiti skills. And, in turn, ensure that the rest of the community would perceive taking the bus as a safe and pleasant mode of transport and would be more inclined to do so.
First, Interactions conducted research with residents along the Route. Having established that vandalism and safety fears were inextricably linked we then embarked on extensive qualitative and quantitative attitudinal research with local school children. Applying our specialist eliciting techniques we discovered that the kids fostered a sense of being ‘hard done by’ by figures of authority, from teachers to the Gardai, and crucially bus drivers – which in the children’s eyes justified the vandalism perpetuated on the Route.
Position Dublin Bus as a feature of the local community that treats kids with fairness, exhibits a concern for their safety, and genuinely cares for them – all needs that kids identified in our research. And, in turn, the kids will care for their bus service.
Our other key finding indicated the children’s innate need for validation and recognition; and their desire to ‘Make One’s Mark’
Therefore, we satisfied these needs by creating a campaign that demonstrated Dublin Bus’s commitment to the local community; one where school children could redirect their artistic skills away from graffitiing bus seats and into other areas like poetry or songs, all interpreted through the theme: ‘How the Bus Is Useful To Me’. Not only was there a prize-giving ceremony, but the winning entries featured in the Dublin Bus Corporate Calendar and gracing the limelight by appearing on in-bus posters and on bus shelters.
A lot of very happy kids. And a lot of very happy local residents, who started taking the bus in greater numbers in the knowledge that the kid sitting beside them loved the bus just as much as they did.
Dublin Bus was happy too. Not only were they saving thousands of euro in the costs of vandalism, but passenger numbers on the Route saw a significant increase. And most importantly of all, here was a project that demonstrated the success of the entire QBC project and ensured its future implementation across the capital.