February, being the shortest month of the calendar, is the least beneficial month for purchasing ORCA passes. Add in the President’s Day holiday plus the few extra days off in February for many school’s mid-winter breaks and, suddenly, buying a bus pass in February doesn’t seem all that worthwhile. I don’t know if ORCA pass sales take a noticeable drop in February, but many riders likely recognize that the value of an ORCA pass is lowest when the month is shortest. Many other businesses also suffer from lower sales in February (unless they are helped by Valentine’s Day), so many of those businesses choose to tighten their belts and wait for better days. But other businesses use February as a time to offer good deals to stimulate sales during a slack time of year. Air fares, for example, are usually very low in February to non-sunshine destinations. Could the ORCA card boost sales and reach new riders by offering discounts for February bus passes?
How about a 20% off sale for all February passes or a 33% discount on February passes if purchased in a package deal with March and April passes? The various transit agencies would be able to track the purchases and see how many new riders are enticed by the February deals and how much additional revenue is generated by the February discounts. The discounts would also help to generate goodwill with transit commuters and they almost certainly would be more effective in driving sales than the Voice of Reason/Grandma ads. Most transit advertising seems to be focused on appealing to laudable concepts like environmental preservation and stress reduction in daily life. That’s wonderful, but a 20% off deal might be what finally drives people to get out of their cars and make the effort to find an ORCA vending location and purchase an ORCA pass. And, hopefully, come back for more.