File #: 2016-0286   
Type: Informational Report Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 4/21/2016 In control: Board of Directors - Regular Board Meeting
On agenda: 5/26/2016 Final action:
Title: RECEIVE AND FILE the Chief Communications Officer's Quarterly Report.
Sponsors: Board of Directors - Regular Board Meeting
Indexes: Advertising, Arcadia Station, City of Los Angeles, Construction, Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project, Customer service, Downtown Santa Monica Station, Fairview Heights Station, Grant Aid, Housing, Informational Report, Inglewood, It's Off Limits, Little Tokyo, Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles Union Station, Maps, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Metro Blue Line, Metro Commute Services, Metro Crenshaw Line, Metro Exposition Line, Metro Gold Line, Metro Green Line, Metro Rail A Line, Metro Rail C Line, Metro Rail E Line, Metro Rail K Line, Metro Rail L Line, Mitigation, New Starts Program, Outreach, Partnerships, Pedestrians, Pilot studies, Program, Project, Public relations, Purchasing, Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project, Ridership, Safety, Santa Monica, Shoofly, South Bay Cities subregion, South Bay Service Sector, Students, Surveys, Testing, Transit Pass, Validation, Walking, Westside/Central Service Sector
Attachments: 1. CCO Report with PBM Public Input Summary FINAL 5-26-16



MAY 26, 2016




ACTION:                     RECEIVE AND FILE





RECEIVE AND FILE the Chief Communications Officer’s Quarterly Report.  




The LA Metro Chief Communications Officer provides a quarterly update to the Board of Directors on the efforts of the Communications Department. The report covers accomplishments of the previous quarter and a look-ahead to the coming quarter. This report was held until the May Board cycle so that the CCO can provide an overview of the Potential Ballot Measure Public Input Process.




The Communications Team has had a number of accomplishments in the third-quarter of FY2016, January -March 2016.


Potential Ballot Measure Public Input Process

Upon the Board’s release of the Potential Ballot Measure Draft Expenditure Plan in March, the Metro Communications Team began implementing a multi-faceted public outreach and input process across LA County. 


As a continuation of the overarching Long Range Transportation Plan Education Program, the public input process has occurred through four main sectors of the community: Elected Officials Engagement, Key Stakeholder Engagement, Public Engagement, and Media Engagement.


From March-May 2016, Metro staff has done 100 stakeholder and community presentations and meetings, held nine public meetings and one virtual online meeting, and conducted 13 telephone town hall meetings.


Public meeting outcome

A total of 510 people participated in the 10 public meetings - 452 attended the traditional public meetings and 58 attended the virtual online meeting. During the meetings, Metro asked the meeting audiences a series of five questions and utilized an electronic polling system to get immediate responses from the groups. When asked if they would vote for the sales tax measure if the election were held at that time, an average of 72 percent said they would vote for the tax.


Telephone town hall outcome

As another method to educate the public and get feedback on the plan, Metro hosted 13 telephone town hall meetings - one for each area represented by all Metro Board members. The live telephone forums provided an opportunity for thousands of people to engage with Board members and Metro staff, ask questions and provide input through live electronic polling.


Second Education Rollout

Another education campaign push on Metro’s Plan to Ease Traffic began rolling out earlier this month through a variety of tactics including but not limited to bus and shelter ads; billboards; print advertising; news blogs and articles; press events showcasing project progress, radio spots; web updates; social media campaign; and educational videos.



“It’s Off Limits” Sexual Harassment Campaign

Metro launched its latest campaign against sexual harassment called “It’s Off Limits” on the bus and rail system. Through bus and rail adverting and Take One cards encouraging victims and witnesses to stand up against sexual harassment. In addition, Metro is utilizing digital media to encourage people to stand up and speak up against sexual harassment.  Metro is one of the few transit agencies worldwide that surveys its customers on unwanted sexual contact including, but limited to, unwanted touching, gestures and indecent exposure. In two previous sexual harassment campaigns, Metro has succeeded in driving down reported incidents of sexual harassment from 22 percent to 19 percent, according to the semi-annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. In addition, the campaign has caused a 36 percent increase in reports of sexual harassment to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, comparing the first quarter of 2014 to 2016.

Safety Outreach

From January-March 2016, the Transit Safety Program staff reached people nearly three million times through safety presentations, events, tours, outreach materials and ad impressions. The program conducted VIP Tours in preparation for the Opening of the Gold Line Foothill Extension, supported Media Relations Safety Event in February at the Arcadia Station with interviews of Rail Safety Ambassadors.  In January, TSP participated in the Santa Monica State of the City Address, as well as continuing safety outreach in preparation of the opening of the Expo 2 Extension, including social media outreach using NextDoor to inform residents of rail testing schedules.  The team partnered with Our Authors Study Club, Inc. (OASC) for a Black History Month tour of the Blue Line to promote ridership and rail safety.

Press and Special Events

The Communications Team planned and orchestrated 10 special events and news conferences in the third quarter.  When Metro has a milestone, project or program to promote, the Public Relations Team determines the most effective and efficient way to optimize staff and financial resources to generate awareness and publicity for the agency’s accomplishments. While some milestones are more conducive to a special event, others are better positioned to promote through a press event or news release and social media campaign. Major events highlighted include the Gold Line Extension opening, the Expo II opening date, the launch of the 501 express-service, and the expenditure plan.


Earned Media Summary

                     News Releases: 25

                     News Conferences/Special Events: 10

                     Total Tracked News Coverage: 579

                     Sentiment:  424 Positive, 45 Neutral, 110 Negative


Major Announcements: Gold Line Foothill Extension Opening, NoHo to Pasadena Service Launch, Crenshaw/LAX Tunnel Boring Machine, Expo Phase II opening announcement, Division 13 Opening, Industry Forum, Potential Ballot Measure.

Social Media

Social Media continued its strong momentum from 2015 and already generated over 22 million impressions across Facebook and Twitter for Q1 2016. The quick start to the year is due to a big social push promoting the Gold Line Extension opening and the PBM Education Program. Growth continues to trend upward as our fan base on Metro’s Facebook page increased 40% and our follower base on Metro’s Twitter account increased 15%. Implementation of additional Facebook tracking pixels and integration of TAP’s database has increased our custom audience data on Facebook to over 1 million likely riders. More data means greater demographic and behavioral insights on our customers. The most successful social media campaign to date is the Expo Line Phase 2 announcement where we reached 1.2M people and generated almost 400K views of the stop motion graphic with a very efficient cost per view of $0.02. All of our social efforts January-March has helped garner over 960,000 page views on The Source, which already accounts for almost 50% of the total page views in 2015.

Community Meetings and Events

Community  and Municipal Affairs has represented the agency at more than 200 meetings and events so far in FY16, reaching more than 60,000 people, distributing more than 335,000 notices about rail operations and leading 24 tours introducing people to our rail system. The staff continues to keep local elected officials and their staff updated and engaged on Metro programs and projects.


Construction Relations

Community Leadership Council (CLC) Meetings

                     CLC Quarterly Meeting held on February 22 at Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Expo Office. The agenda items included a tree-to-drums presentation, workgroup presentation updates and an update on Crenshaw/LAX Joint Development. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was in attendance.

                     Economic Development Workgroup was held on March 3 at the Crenshaw Project Office. The agenda items included presentations and updates on Business Assistance Programs, East Shop Play, and PLA/CCP & Joint Development.

                     Community Engagement Workgroup was held March 22 at the Crenshaw Project Office. The agenda items included presentations on Walking Maps pilot program, community engagement program recap, Halfway There Community Celebration overview and Eat Shop Play updates. During the meeting we facilitated an activity and brainstorm where community stakeholders provided input on themes, organizations and businesses that should be included in the Walking Maps.


Community Engagement Programs

                     Facilitated Tree-to-Drum donation programs including identifying local performing arts organizations recipients, presentation of drums and live performance during the CLC Quarterly Meeting.

                     Facilitated Inglewood Youth Job Shadow Day on February 25 at Gateway and Union Station. The program matches Inglewood students with a business of their choice for a day in order to give the student a chance to experience first-hand how that business actually operates.  During the job shadow day, these students toured Metro, learned about Metro’s projects, programs, careers, and learned about how Metro’s systems are operated. Select departments provided these students an overview their area of work in a short 10-minute presentations. The students also got a tour of Union Station.


Regional Connector

                     The Mangrove 20-ft. sound wall signage is in place with messaging, Metro messaging, and area parking locations.  The 2nd phase installation which includes “Businesses Are Open” messaging in large scale will be completed shortly.  This shared space design was created in partnership with Metro and Little Tokyo Community Council’s Marketing & Advertising Team and is a unique response to a mitigation requirement addressing area business impacts.

                     Metro Regional Connector’s Business Assistance Center team partner, Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, announced a series of free workshops to assist small businesses advance through on-line marketing and financial planning.   The announcement was made at the Business Assistance Center Open House on February 25th.  The first workshop was held in April with others to come.  Outreach to local businesses to engage them in promotional tactics to sustain their businesses during construction is on-going.

                     Successfully implemented a county-wide outreach plan in support of the Little Tokyo Station track relocation (shoofly) which completed one-day ahead of schedule

                     Successfully implemented outreach on four major road closures taking place along different segments of the project alignment:

o                     5-month closure of the intersection at 2nd/Broadway

o                     3 ½ year closure of northbound Flower St between 1st St and 3rd St

o                     Lane reductions on the eastside of Flower St between 4th and 5th St as part of pile installation

o                     Shoofly activities at 1st/Alameda


                     Successfully kept stakeholders informed on the progress of construction project wide with very limited number of complaints; the team has been proactive in coordinating activities with stakeholders.

                     The project successfully cleared the injunction on Flower St for pile installation.

                     The project successfully completed bridge demolition at 2nd/Hope.


Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project

                     Metro celebrated the naming of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project Tunnel Boring Machine (Harriet) with an event on February 1st attended by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and other elected officials.

                     Metro Construction Relations participated in the 2016 Empowerment Congress by hosting a table and disseminating project information on January 16th.  In addition, Metro Construction Relations participated in the 2016 Kingdom Day Parade and Festival with Metro’s antique bus and Director Jackie Dupont-Walker; Metro hosted two tables the festival in Leimert Park and featured information on hiring and outreach on January 18th.

                     Metro Construction Relations used the January 28 Construction Update Community Meeting to focus on the Park Mesa Heights At-Grade Section; the meeting very contentious.  Following the meeting, Metro Construction Relations joined CEO Phil Washington in a meeting with key stakeholders.   Working with Phil Washington, Construction Relations was able to work closely with LADOT and WSCC to resolve several issues and hold a successful follow-up community meeting in February.

                     Metro Construction Relations facilitated a meeting with tenants in the Union Equity Building to inform them of Metro’s intent to purchase their buildings and eventually use them for parking at the Fairview Heights Station.  Following the meeting Metro Construction Relations hosted a community meeting to inform the community about the process moving forward.


Purple Line Extension

                     PLE attended approx. 50 briefings since January 1, 2016, including many to finalize the decision to proceed with 22 weekends for the La Brea decking. Outreach continues with marketing materials and ad buys in the works.

                     Staff continues to meet weekly with LADOT and Elected Officials offices to coordinate traffic plans, street and sidewalk closures and any other disruptions to local traffic. Maintaining driver and pedestrian visibility is essential during major pile operations behind k-rail.

                     Monthly Executive Coordination meetings have been scheduled with mayoral and city council staff along with city agency heads to review construction progress and outreach efforts. These meetings have been very beneficial and project staff has received compliments on our continued communication methods.


Eat, Shop, Play

                     January - Organized Metro’s participation in the 31st annual MLK Parade, 2M TV viewers (ABC).  Metro staff and Director JDW rode in a 1950’s bus to commemorate Rosa Parks

                     February - Developed an exciting new public engagement campaign for 2016 called “Fortune Fridays” (CLAX, PLE, RC), to launch in May

                     March - Recruited 5x new sponsors for the CLAX March cash prize drawing ($500 and $250 levels)



                     Arranged to have  4x project-area restaurants add “The Harriet” to their menus, in honor of the Metro TBM (permanent menu items)

                     Put together x6 Play Meet Up events at Gateway

                     Start of outreach for Metro Red Line Pershing Square Escalator Replacement Project.

                     Completed signage placement discussions for Universal Pedestrian Bridge Project


Mitigations that Attract Regional Interest in Small Area Businesses (January)

Working to ease access to small businesses during construction, Metro initiated a two-hour free parking validation program in Little Tokyo, 1 of 3 remaining Japan-towns in the nation.  The program design was forged by Metro working with Little Tokyo business leaders and local parking operators at the initial phase of the Gold Line service interruption. Today, approximately 200 businesses in the heart of Little Tokyo partner with Metro to promote the validation program with their customers.  The validation program will be in effect through August 2016, the anticipated beginning of the tunneling operation.  Metro’s social media team has also promoted the unique cultural, entertainment and culinary experiences of the area while working with local organizations to attract visitors.  Since January 2016, the Regional Connector’s Facebook audience alone has grown by 46%. 

Business Assistance Center Launches Workshop Series (February)

Metro’s Regional Connector construction and community relations staff and the Regional Connector Business Assistance Center team partner, Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, announced a series of free workshops to assist small businesses advance through on-line marketing and financial planning.   The announcement was made at the BAC Open House on February 25th.  The first workshop will be held in April, with others to follow May and June.  Outreach to local businesses, to engage them in adopting promotional tactics to bolster business during construction, is on-going.

Supporting Business & Sustaining Culture through Public Messaging (March)

The first phase of the Mangrove 20 ft. Sound wall signage design is in place with “culturally appropriate” messaging, Metro transit accomplishments and area parking directional signage.  The second phase installation which includes “Business Are Open” in large scale will be completed shortly.   This shared space design was created in partnership with Metro and Little Tokyo Community Council’s Marketing & Advertising Team and is a unique response to a mitigation requirement addressing area business impacts.

Government Relations

Federal and State

                     Metro Government Relations is closely tracking several major federal grant opportunities - including the new FASTLANE grant and the existing TIGER grant program, among others. Metro will be vigorously competing for these valuable federal grants by working with key stakeholders, including members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation.


                     Metro Government Relations is closely tracking the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations process - where we are working to secure $375 million in New Starts funding for our rail transit projects.


                     Metro’s Government Relations staff has effectively worked to thoroughly brief our State Legislative Delegation and our Congressional Delegation and partners in the Administration through a number of legislative briefings on details related to our Potential Ballot Measure for public comment. 


                     Metro’s Government Relations staff has reviewed over 2,000 bills introduced in the Senate and Assembly for the CA State Legislature and will be bringing bills forward for Board consideration throughout the coming months.


Expo II Extension Grand Opening

The grand opening of Metro’s Expo 2 Extension on Friday, May 20 kicks off with a VIP train ride for Metro Board Members, staff, elected officials and community leaders to the opening ceremony at the Downtown Santa Monica Station at 4th and Colorado. After the official opening of the line, the public will be able to ride the Expo Line for free through Friday night.


Staff collaborated with communities along the new extension for the station parties on Saturday, May 21. The local communities planned their own station parties with Metro support to showcase the unique characteristics of their communities. Free rides for the public will continue throughout the day and evening on May 21.


Customer Service

Customer Relations and Customer Programs and Services

                     Answered 484,391 calls in 3rd quarter on 323.GOMETRO compared to 581,105 2nd quarter calls answered); NOTE: 3RD quarter FY16 is low due to missing statistical data from 1/28 - 2/16/16 on server side; compared to 3rd quarter in FY15 total was 599,714 calls answered)  

                     Average wait time for customer calls from January - March 2016 was 15 seconds

                     Processed 34,404 reduced fare orders in 3rd quarter (student/college/seniors/disabled)


Net TAP Revenue Sales

                     FY16 2nd quarter for ALL Customer Service Centers - $1,705,778.

                     FY16 3rd quarter for ALL Customer Service Centers - $1,623,092.


Customer Commute Services

Annual/Business Transit Access Pass (A/BTAP) Sales Update

Metro Commute Services started 30 new accounts this quarter, 29 BTAP accounts and 1 ATAP account.  A direct link to the Employer Programs page has been added to the home page, along with an online form to collect information on potential leads electronically.  9% of new leads came via the online form in during the first week that it was operational.



Initial Internal Stakeholder and External Task Force meetings were held in March and April. Eighteen (18) schools attended the External Task Force Meeting.  Staff has identified the first step as transitioning current ITAP participants and schools reloading monthly College/Vocational (C/V) passes onsite via CPOS into a pilot program.  Metro and the schools agree that the elimination of the full-time unit requirement and the use of TAP chip sticker technology to transition away from the C/V application process would be beneficial to increase program participation.  Also, a one-time purchase agreement was made with Los Angeles City College (LACC) to purchase 1,000 pre-loaded 12-week student TAP cards for participants in their Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOP&S).  A similar program is being discussed for a 10-week student internship program at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).


Promotional Employer Pass Program

Staff has designed a short-term Promotional Employer Pass Program (PEPP), which, if approved, will boost ridership on new lines, while providing employers a chance to “test drive” employer pass programs without making a long-term commitment.  Passes would be made available for a reduced fare rate for a 3-month trial period.  The one-time promotional program would only be open to new employers along new service corridors, and the employers would be required to make a one-time payment upfront for 10% of their employees.  The employers would also be required to collect TAP registration data and Title IV analysis aggregate data.  The goal is that employers will get a better understanding of the benefits of providing transit passes to employees and will ultimately transition into an Employer Annual Pass Program (EAPP).




No financial impact.




The Communications Team will continue the education program for the potential ballot measure including reporting the results from the public poll being conducted in May. The team will also share the outcome of the first Measure R Quality of Life Report highlighting the benefits being realized through current local investment in transportation.


Prepared by: Pauletta Tonilas, Chief Communications Officer, (213) 922-3777


Reviewed by: Phillip A. Washington, Chief Executive Officer, (213) 922-7555