Have you heard the good word? Chariot, the San Francisco network of shuttle buses that falls somewhere between the jitneys of yesteryear and the tech commuter buses of today, wants to make certain you do. That's why, as the public transportation diarists at Muni Diaries report, they're educating potential riders about their services, hiring "brand ambassadors" to chat up Muni riders at bus stops.
Chariot has around 20 routes now, the most recent of which is a straight shot from NEMA on Market to Caltrain. But to match demand to supply, the group has "successfully deployed BA's" — brand ambassadors, lolol — "throughout the city, at bus stops, venues with large amounts of people, and other locations where potential Chariot users can be approached with flyers or other marketing material. Tools like personal promo codes are used to measure the effectiveness of BA's for follow-up training." According to the company's website, these folks need to have "what it takes to win" including a "persistent, win-at-all-costs attitude." If you see them at a Muni stop, you have been warned of their tenacity.
As Muni Diaries writes, "creative tech solutions are well and fine, but making transportation better only for some people just makes my skin itch." While many others might have a similarly allergic reaction, clearly some welcome the options. But, if I had to guess, which I don't but will anyway, this is brand ambassador business is a mixed sign from the company. One interpretation: They've got the funds to hire walking, talking, full-time advertisements, which is good. Another: They've saturated the existing market they can reach via online ads, and now need to attract more users. If that's so, that's bad, because the folks who are going to use Chariot are the online crowd of Uber/Lyft users anyway, and probably would know by now if the option was for them.
Who knows, though. Someone with a win-at-all-costs attitude might change their mind! Get in the fucking Chariot van!
Related: Private Shuttle Chariot's Latest Route Whisks NEMA Royalty To Caltrain For Free