- The city of Santa Monica, CA has opened a transit storefront downtown to sell bus passes and parking permits. The GoSaMo Center replaces a previous transit store.
- Jennie Campos, community engagement officer for the city’s Big Blue Bus, told the Santa Monica Daily Press that the shop is meant to be a "one-stop-shop for taking care of different things in one location in the heart of downtown Santa Monica."
- The storefront will offer help with discounted fares and the Mobility On-Demand Every Day (MODE) program, as well as lost and found. During the summer, nonprofit Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. will also operate an ambassador booth to help tourists.
In the face of struggling ridership, many transit agencies are trying to make their services more accessible and simplified for visitors and residents alike. For some agencies, that’s taken the form of more comprehensive apps and websites, which can offer bus and transit passes and directions all in one place. Some cities with partners like Transit app have even integrated payment directly to their app; others are building in parking and micromobility options.
Santa Monica, however, has taken a more analog approach, allowing potential riders to visit a physical storefront and meet transit employees. The downtown location should especially help tourists who may be unfamiliar with the bus system, figure out how to get passes and navigate the city.
Los Angeles, San Diego and Salt Lake City have all opened in-person transit service centers, according to InTransition Magazine, lending a personal touch to public transportation. That approach can help attract customers at a time when there are more transportation choices than ever, SUNY Alfred State College of Technology professor Alex Bitterman told the magazine. “If someone grew up thinking of public transit as a potential last resort, it’s incumbent upon the operators of public transit systems to help to brand their systems, to change the minds of those choice riders,” Bitterman said.