Mashable.com reports that the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) in San Francisco has just made history as the first transit agency to partner withFoursquare, the location-based application and game that we think has the potential to be as important as Twitter (they also just launched 15 new cities).
We’ve already seen local businesses take the plunge, offering up special location-based deals that Foursquare automatically serves up to users as they check-in, but now BART is getting in on the action to encourage more public transit use.
BART’s presser has the following interesting info: Foursquare combines social networking elements with game mechanics, urging users to explore neighborhoods and recommend places to others. You can check in from different venues and earn badges and points for doing different types of things – like a “gym rat” badge if you check in 10 times at a gym during a 30-day period. As part of the partnership with BART, Foursquare will offer a BART-themed badge that can be unlocked by regular riders of BART, which provides train service in the San Francisco Bay Area. BART will award $25 promotional tickets each month for the next three months to riders chosen at random from all the riders who have logged Foursquare check-ins at BART stations, starting in November.
One popular element of Foursquare is a competition to become “mayor” of different places. If you check in more than anyone else, you claim rights as “the mayor” of that place. Regular BART riders already are trading back and forth as “mayors” of the 43 stations. Foursquare updates are shared across other social networking and microblogging sites such as Facebook and Twitter, announcing who has ousted whom as mayor. BART also will look at other ways to coordinate promotions with new and existing venue partners, through www.mybart.org, its free service offering contests and discounts for entertainment, sports and other events. BART is listing tips for things to do near BART stations on its Foursquare profile page (www.foursquare.com/user/SFBART).
Note: As a transportation nerd, Transportgooru thinks this is a bloody brilliant idea. Hope other transit agencies around the country take note (at least the ones in the 15 cities that Four Square currently has a lock).