COLUMBIA — The first challenge for the new marketing specialist for Columbia's bus system is helping students understand and encouraging them to use the FastCAT bus route, which started service Aug. 13.
Christa Holtzclaw started working for Columbia Transit as a marketing specialist Aug. 27. She is focusing first on marketing FastCAT, a student-centric route with two buses going through downtown and the MU and Stephens College campuses.
"My job is to market and promote Columbia public transit," Holtzclaw, 24, said. "FastCAT, being the newest route and an exciting addition for the students and others who frequent the downtown area and campus, is the project I am diving into first."
Before starting her job for the city, Holtzclaw, who is originally from Oklahoma City, was a catering manager at Westminster College for Fresh Ideas, a Columbia-based food service management company. She has a bachelor's degree in marketing, public relations and advertising from Stephens College.
During her first 11 days on the job, Holtzclaw has learned the ins and outs of the transit system to adjust to her new job, from the background information to the production side of things.
"I've learned quite a bit about city infrastructure going through orientation," she said. "That helps me communicate."
One problem Holtzclaw has encountered so far on the job is changes to GPS technology, which Columbia Transit hopes to use for an app for iPhones and Android-powered smartphones. The app would allow students to track when and where the next FastCAT bus is arriving at a bus stop.
"We're working through it, and there are a lot of people putting in hard work to the effort," she said.
Last month, the city co-sponsored a FastCAT trivia challenge with Columbians for Modern, Efficient Transit to help introduce the new route. There were five questions — one each day from Aug. 20 through Aug. 24.
No one answered all five questions correctly, so no one was eligible for the prize drawing, Holtzclaw said.
"That's good news for everyone who missed the contest," said Holtzclaw, who is helping create future trivia challenges. "It means there is another chance to win a free semester FASTPass or an iPad 3."
Holtzclaw said she plans to work for Columbia Transit "indefinitely." Her starting salary is $36,833 per year.
"I think this is a great place to live," Holtzclaw said. "I want to help in its evolution and continued improvement."
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