How Public Transit Will Help Black Friday Shoppers

By Sanford Weinberg

Sanford Weinberg
“The greatest boom in Black Friday traffic is in the mid-morning hours from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.” — Sanford Weinberg, vice president for fare collection, Public Transit North America at Xerox.

Black Friday. That single phrase evokes panic and chaos for those in mass transit market. But it doesn’t have to, and a few agencies are paving the way for smoother transport on Black Friday. Whether or not you are prepared to extend service or offer free rides on Black Friday, there are ways you can plan ahead to tackle the onslaught of traffic.

Moving Mall of America’s Traffic

In the heart of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is the Mall of America, which is the largest shopping mall in the U.S. For shoppers, this is the mecca of Black Friday shopping. On the day after Thanksgiving, the indoor rollercoaster is nothing compared to the deep discounts offered at more than 520 stores. That is why Metro Transit is providing service on Black Friday. Metro Transit notes that local traffic decreases on the day after Thanksgiving. However, in order to assist shoppers at the Mall of America, almost all of the lines in and around the Bloomington hotspot will be in operation. Plus, for those lines running the Saturday schedule, fare decreases for passengers on the bus, METRO, and express bus.

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Spokane Transit Authority Saves Shoppers

For one of the most giving transit providers, the award goes to the Spokane Transit Authority. In Spokane, Wash., all bus riders travel for free on Black Friday. They can hop on a bus and travel to their destination while saving money and time with ticketing. This is a fantastic move that shows generosity on a day when most of the bus riders will be out purchasing gifts for the holidays. It is also a nice way to encourage commerce among retailers in Spokane, as a support for local businesses.

Preparing for Black Friday

Every business has a plan for how to handle Black Friday. As a transit provider your business is in transporting shoppers to and from retailers and restaurants on this busy day. You also want shoppers to arrive to their destinations safely. Considering that Black Friday is the third most dangerous day for driving in the U.S., as noted by, you have quite the task ahead of you.

To avoid bottlenecks and traffic jams, take a look at the busiest times for traffic on Black Friday. Early birds aren’t as prevalent as they used to be thanks to extended sales times. That places the greatest boom in traffic in the mid-morning hours from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. This also covers those shoppers who are heading home for a turkey sandwich and to unload their goods at lunchtime. By offering multimodal methods of transport, such as bus, METRO and express bus transport, you increase the opportunities for keeping drivers off of the roads. For auto drivers, tack on carpool and express lanes with discounts to encourage ride sharing.

You can also take notes from the  Twin Cities and Spokane Transit Authority, two examples of public transit systems braced to handle Black Friday traffic.

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  1. David Pickeral November 24, 2015 - Reply

    Great post, Sandy! In countless places around the world with brick and mortar retailers facing more intense competition from online shopping (e.g., Cyber Monday) each year the value in providing increased or reduced fare transit as an option pays dividends to the store owners, their customers, and their communities. When paid premium and/or reserved parking, or even congestion charging is added into the mix the value across the board is increased even further especially when the proceeds are directed towards improving transit

  2. Sanford Weinberg November 25, 2015 - Reply

    Very insightful, David. Making it easier to travel to local shopping areas, and incentivizing public transit is a huge help to the communities we serve.

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