TravelSmart Special Events Planning Resource Kit
05 - Potential Measures - Part 2
Integrated ticketing systems are a very effective way of encouraging people to use public transport. They tend to suit larger events, because of the complexity of setting up a scheme.
This section provides some information about how you could establish an integrated ticket scheme for your event.
What are Integrated Tickets?
An integrated ticket is a single ticket that provides entry into your event, and also provides travel to the event by public transport.
It is usually cost-effective to offer an integrated ticket for less than the cost of separate travel and entry tickets. In some cases, the travel cost can be completely included in the entry fee.
The preferred option is an entry ticket which includes the cost of public transport either to the event from within a certain radius, or to the event from specific locations.
A second option would be a combined travel+entry ticket, at a fixed price higher than that of an entry-only ticket but lower than the cost of separate tickets.
A third option would be a combined travel+entry ticket, priced at the cost of a discount event entry fee, plus the normal cost of travel by public transport, from any location.
Source: Pedal Power ACT
People who use public transport to travel to your event benefit, because they only have to buy one ticket. They also save money, and they may be able to purchase their event tickets from a public transport ticket outlet closer to home.
Because fewer people drive to the event, those who do drive benefit from reduced congestion, and from easier parking, closer to the event.
Public transport operators benefit from increased patronage and revenue, especially where travel to and from your event is at off-peak times when they have spare capacity.
In some cases businesses near your event may benefit from increased passing trade.
Businesses and residents near your event will benefit from reduced strain on local parking facilities, reduced traffic congestion and reduced pollution.
Not least, your event itself will benefit through reduced car parking costs and increased patronage, and because people may not need to allow so much time for travel to and from the event they may be able to spend more time at the event. Also, you may be able to reduce your overheads by selling tickets through the public transport operator's ticket offices.
Providing what appears to the patron to be 'free' or 'discount' public transport to the event can encourage people to use a service they may have otherwise been unaware of or previously unwilling to try.
Identify potential supporters, including public transport operators
The first step in establishing an integrated ticketing system is to identify potential supporters.
The first supporter is you, because of the benefits that integrated ticketing offers to your event.
The state transport agency can identify public transport operators that operate in the area, and whether they are publicly or privately owned. Some state transport agencies have a special events committee that can help you to establish an integrated ticketing system. These are the people you should seek out.
The public transport companies that will be involved may be willing to cooperate in establishing an integrated ticketing system.
The state government may be prepared to support the cost of integrated ticketing, on the basis of that it will provide community and business benefits such as reduced congestion and pollution, and increased business patronage. This support may be provided through the state-owned public transport agency.
Local governments may provide support, for similar reasons. The local Chamber of Commerce may also provide support, if there are clear benefits to local businesses.
Catchment and Demand
The next step is to identify the catchment area for your special event. You can do this through the site audit and other planning processes for your event, such as the initial financial feasibility studies. It's a good idea to draw this catchment area on a map, with your venue at the centre. Then you can look at the major public transport corridors and identify the most appropriate locations for integrated ticket routes.
For example, ticket holders for the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne obtain 'free' express tram travel between the CBD and the circuit. The selection of the CBD as a hub was made because it provides a focal point for services and because most people can get to the CBD from their local area. You may have a simular 'hub' in your area that will work well.
You also need to work out how many people are likely to use the service. This is information that you will have gathered through the event audit, because it is essential that the public transport system has enough capacity to cater for the levels of demand that you are forecasting.
You can work out the average cost for tickets on the integrated ticket routes through public transport information services. You can contact your local public transport operator or station to find out the typical prices between the two points on the service.
The final cost per integrated ticket will also depend on:
- administrative efficiency of a single ticket
- economies of scale for transport operators
- the level of support offered by other supporters
- extra ticket sales induced by the availability of combined tickets.
Identify the nominal transport cost
The nominal transport cost for an integrated ticket system is simply the demand multiplied by the average cost of the service. For example, if the average cost of a return ticket is $5 and you expect about 2,000 people to use the service, then the cost will be around $10,000.You will also need to consider other factors, mentioned above, that can affect the average cost per integrated ticket.
You will need to provide a detailed analysis. This should be discussed with the relevant state planning agency.
Cost-sharing and Apportionment
The first source of cost sharing is the event itself. You can calculate the amount that you can 'contribute,' based on the expected increase in attendance and ticket sales, and on your reduced overheads due to integrated ticket sales. This can be expressed either as a total amount, or as a discount on the ticket price that you would otherwise need to charge to generate the same revenue.
One of the reasons that integrated ticketing systems are complex to organise is that they involve a wide range of stakeholders. It can be complicated to apportion the investment and revenue among the stakeholders.
For example, if the subsidised services are provided by two public transport operators, there is a need to agree how much of the return each will receive. This is usually agreed beforehand, based on consideration of the likely demand that each service will have. The state planning agency may be able to help you negotiate the apportionment of returns in situations such as this.
Sometimes public transport operators will recognise the event ticket and permit free travel. This can be simply the entry ticket, the entry number for entrants in a fun-run or cycle ride, or a laminated ticket worn around the wrist or neck.
It is essential that available public transport services are effectively marketed, so that people are aware of the transport availability. It is also important that people understand where and how to use the public transport services, as many will not be regular public transport users and will need to be informed about how the services work.
You will probably find that you capture a new market of public transport users at the special event. This provides the opportunity to keep them as public transport users and to encourage them to use public transport at other times. To do this, the public transport operator will need to make the service work well first time. If the new passenger finds anything disagreeable about the service, for example dirty or damaged seats, or services not running to schedule they may not use the service again and it will be an opportunity lost.
For a large event with thousands of people and clearly identifiable public transport demands, integrated ticketing systems can be a very effective way of reducing car use.
Public transport Facilities
Your event audit will have identified the scale of public transport services that will be required to transport people to and from your event and your local public transport operator(s) will need to be consulted to scale their operations to provide an acceptable level of service during these times.
This could require major transit improvements, changes to service times and frequencies or improvements to queuing facilities and station circulation plans. You will need to work with your local public transport operators to arrange these issues. Remember that there may not be a contractual obligation for public transport operators to provide these levels of service.
Site Plan and Access Map
Use the information you collected through the site audit to develop a site plan showing the location of public transport facilities. Note on the plan whether stops have seats, shelters and timetable information. Also show typical journey times between the venue and key transport hubs in the local area, such as the town centre. Sending this type of information to people with their tickets in an information pack will encourage them to think about their transport options rather than simply jumping in the car and driving, especially if the information is presented in a supportive manner - this is discussed more in Section 6 - Promotion and Awareness.
Integrated or Special Ticket Options
Including the cost of the public transport ticket with the event entry price, so that public transport appears to be free, can be the most effective way of encouraging people to travel to your event by public transport.
This process has four key stages:
- Identify the number of people who would use the service
- Identify the service costs, and the parties with an interest in cost-sharing (e.g. promoter, public transport operators, government, local business organisations)
- Negotiate cost-sharing arrangements, with the interested parties
- Confirm the apportionment of revenue to public transport operators
Integrated ticketing systems have been used for a wide range of events, including the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, the Sydney Royal Easter Show and sports events in Perth and Brisbane.
In Sydney, special events organisers and public transport operators have organised CityRail tickets specifically for travel to events at Moore Park, branded as the Moore Park Ticket. This includes return rail travel to Central Station and a shuttle bus service to Moore Park.
The Melbourne Show allows people to purchase their entry ticket at the railway station with their railway ticket.
It is important to provide suitable facilities for large crowds at public transport stations. The 2000 Sydney Olympics was an excellent example of crowd management at stations, from the complex circulation facilities designed for Central Station in Sydney to the simpler queue barriers at regional stations.
You could also organise for staff to inform and/or entertain waiting passengers, to keep them relaxed. It may also be possible to provide televisions at key points to show relevant information and entertainment. This presents a marketing opportunity and you may be able to gather sponsorship for the installation and maintenance of such a service.
You could also approach local public transport operators to investigate the potential to implement a 'real-time' timetable information service for your event, similar to the system being trialled on the Norwood-Henley Beach corridor in South Australia.
If people are potentially going to be waiting for a long time for a public transport service you should make sure that venue or public transport representatives are on hand to answer questions. People like to know how long they have to wait, so provide ample information about when the next service will arrive.
All queuing areas should be covered with protection from the sun and rain.
If scheduled services will not completely satisfy the demands for public transport, for example because of reduced facilities on public holidays, you could contact local public transport operators to negotiate charter services. You may be able to cover the cost of these services though a ticket surcharge, or through a small fee for using the service. Charter services have been organised for the National Folk Festival in Canberra because scheduled public transport services are reduced or not available on public holidays.
When planning public transport services that you will require, try to identify hubs, such as shopping malls, a city centre, or other focal points that people can get to fairly easily by other public transport services (feeder services). You may then be able to organise express services between the hubs and your venue, for example direct trains to Flemington Racecourse during the Spring Carnival in Melbourne.
The Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne has free express tram services between city hubs and the venue to support greater use of public transport. The cost of travel is arranged through a venue ticket surcharge arrangement. The normal schedule of local tram services is provided by bus services, to allow the use of the tracks for express trams.
Be sure to check travel times if you are planning to organise a similar service, because longer travel times and reduced service frequencies may not adequately support people using the 'local' stopping services, and because local traffic conditions may be affected.
Try to make sure that public transport stops are located close to the entrance to your special event, preferably out the front of the venue. If your venue does not have a permanent public transport stop, you may be able to arrange a temporary stop. Movement priority should be given to public transport operators at all times.
Ride Sharing (sometimes known as Car Pooling)
Ride sharing involves two or more people sharing a vehicle to travel to or from the special event. They may be people who already know each other and have arranged a lift, or previously unacquainted people who have been introduced to each other through a matching system.
The benefits of a ride sharing system is that it reduces the number of vehicles requiring car park spaces, demand on local road networks, congestion and pollution.
Ride share schemes can be as simple as a notice board where people can post messages looking for rideshare partners or drivers. They can be developed through the internet, for example as a page on your event web site. They could also be organised through telephone systems, such as event information lines.
As with any measure, ride share schemes require promotion to ensure that people know the systems exist. You can increase the visibility of the system by including it on your marketing brochures or web site. You could mark the most prominent parking spaces, those closest to the gate or venue access, as ride-share spaces so that everyone coming in to the venue knows that the system exists and so that an advantage is gained by having more than one person in the car.
Ride share schemes can be fairly cheap to establish and implement, although the cost varies depending on the complexity of the system you introduce. These schemes tend to be more appropriate for recurring events where you can build a following over a number of event occurrences.
A system of variable parking fees has been developed in Perth to support ride sharing. Drivers travelling alone or with one passenger to the Mueller Park, close to the Subiaco Oval, are charged $10, with the cost reducing by $1 for every additional passenger in the vehicle, to a minimum of $7. The financial benefits of a scheme such as this are quite significant for people attending the event. For example, it would cost $50 to park five cars with single occupants, while five people travelling together in one car would pay $7, a saving of $43.
Ride sharing can be effective for events such as music festivals, or events in rural areas, where there may be a lack of alternatives to driving.
Trip planners are information services that provide tailored public transport information for specific routes or areas.
Trip planners can take a number of forms - printed, electronic and telephone based. Printed information can become out-of-date fairly quickly if public transport service times or frequencies change. Therefore, providing the information on a website or telephone information line can be better, because these offer the opportunity to provide a 'dynamic' service that can change if required.
When preparing trip planners for special events it is important to identify the public transport hubs, such as interchange stations, bus stations, or taxi ranks that will be used to access your event. You can then obtain information about the services that will be running on those routes and present it in an easy to understand form - try to use times wherever possible because people tend to relate better to times rather than distances when planning their trips.
You may need to involve stakeholders such as the public transport operators or operators of existing information services, such as your local public transport information line.
You may also be able to create a special page for your event on your local public transport information service website, to highlight the services that will be running to your event.
Taxis are often a very important component of transport arrangements at special events.
You should liaise with taxi groups or your local taxi council in the lead up to your event to make sure that they are aware of the event and so that taxi drivers can be informed of any temporary transport measures that may be in place around your event.
It may be necessary to create a temporary rank for taxis near to the front of your event. It is a good idea to put the rank in a prominent position close to the entrance to the event. You should make sure that private vehicles are not allowed in the taxi area and that pedestrians have a safe route to and from the rank.
Remember to make sure that effective signage is in place to guide people to the rank from the event exit points.
For larger events you may need to have staff to guide people to taxis (rank managers). Remember to make sure these people stand out - you could include your branding on their uniforms! In very busy circumstances, you could organise for people to share taxis going to common destinations, or on longer journeys.
If your event is smaller, such as a conference, convention or seminar, you may be able to provide information about taxi rank locations and typical fare prices between the venue and local rail stations or public transport hubs.
Don't forget to provide enough taxis designed for people with mobility or visual difficulties.
Car Park Management
An effective car park management scheme will be as important as any other measure you implement at your special event.
If your event is being held in an established venue, it is likely that the local council will have developed a special events parking strategy for the area around the venue. This is in recognition that parking is one of the most sensitive issues for local residents. It is important that you work with the local council to develop an appropriate parking management strategy for your event.
You will need to make sure a sufficient amount of parking is provided for people who are less mobile. You should also install ride-share spaces in a high visibility area close to the entrance to increase visibility and awareness.
If parking is limited at your venue, or the local road networks do not have enough capacity to get people in and out of the car park when you need to, think about establishing remote, or satellite parking areas around the venue and linking these to the special event with safe walking routes or public transport services.
To select appropriate sites for remote parking look for key corridors to your event and then identify cinemas, shopping centres, train stations or other sites with car parking facilities that you may be able to use. Remember to negotiate an agreement with the owner of the site to make sure that increasing the demand for car parking facilities will not affect their day-to-day business.
It is critical that overflow parking is well managed to prevent local areas becoming affected by your event. This is particularly important in residential areas, where overflow parking can block roads and cause congestion problems. In Sydney, the RTA develops special event clearways in the major entertainment districts to prevent people from parking in unauthorised areas. Similarly, in Victoria, special event parking controls are implemented using temporary signs that have a time limit of less than the length of the event to prevent people attending the event parking in unauthorised areas.
Electronic information systems can be used to direct cars to suitable parking areas and inform drivers of waiting times. This tends to be a fairly technical area and most suitable for permanent venues because of the specialist expertise, installation costs and maintenance needs involved.
If your event is large enough to require the provision of staff vehicles, try to select economical vehicles that will have low fuel use and emissions, and are small enough to fit in the amount of parking space available. Low emissions are particularly important for vehicles used in crowded areas.
The Fuel Consumption Guide, published by the Australian Government through the Australian Greenhouse Office is a useful reference for further information: www.greenhouse.gov.au/fuelguide/index.html
You could also provide bicycles for staff to use to get around the site - remember to provide helmets, lights and locks. Bicycles should have "quick-release" seat posts, so that they can be adjusted to suit individual riders. Ideally, they should either accommodate a wide range of sizes of rider, or should be chosen to suit each staff member. Luggage baskets can be used to allow transport of small items. Provision of bicycles will reduce the number of car journeys for short trips and can often be quicker than starting a car and negotiating car parks.
Provide bicycle racks near all special event offices to allow people to lock their bikes up close to their destination. If they have to walk long distances at the end of their journey they are likely to choose another mode.