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Improving Public Transportation Mode Share for Employees 173 Table 8-5. Airport employee parking costs. Transit Subsidy Cost per Employee Parking and/or Airport Size (a) Month Who Pays? Incentives? Birmingham (AL) S $0 n.a. No Boston L $0 to $70 Employer Yes Chicago O'Hare L n.a. n.a. n.a. Dallas/Fort Worth L $0 n.a. No (b) Orange Co. John M $35 Varies by company No Wayne Las Vegas L $0 to $25 n.a. No Louisville M $0 to $12 Employer No (c) Omaha M $12 Employer No Sacramento M $0 to $35 Varies Yes Salt Lake City L $0 n.a. Yes 50% employer, 50% San Diego L $8 to $50 Yes employee (a) FAA hub size: S = small; M = medium; L = large. (b) County employee rideshare program is available. (c) Local MPO sponsors a vanpool program. SOURCE: TCRP Report 83, Jacobs Consultancy, based on data provided by individual airport operators. Key Considerations for Improving Employee Public Transportation Mode Share This section describes the key considerations for improving employee transit mode share at airports. Comparative Travel Time of Transit and Automobile For the large majority of employees, public transportation must compete with the conven- ience provided by the automotive mode of travel. Travel times on transit need to be comparable with, not necessarily equal to or less than, those by automobile. As demonstrated in places such as Denver and San Francisco, express or semi-express service oriented to the airport is an important factor. The Denver SkyRide system provides semi-express service for most routes. The long-standing subscription bus program in San Francisco, operated by United Airlines for employees at its Maintenance and Operations Center, provides travel times fairly comparable with driving. The frequency of service is also an important consideration in travel times. Frequent service not only reduces wait times for passengers, but also increases an employee's flexibility in terms of the timing of the trip to work. Current experience with the light rail line that terminates at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport terminal suggests that the low employee mode share (1% to 2%) may result from the line's 17-minute headways. Comparative Comfort of Transit and Automobile Public transportation not only competes with automobiles in terms of travel time, but also in terms of comfort. The experience at San Diego International Airport helps to illustrate this point. Despite having relatively frequent bus service (four to six buses per hour throughout the day), the employee transit mode share is 2%. The noted automobile-oriented culture of the region is likely a contributing factor. While it is difficult for transit to compete with the comfort that automobiles provide, passen- gers also perceive the need to transfer and wait as a significant "discomfort." Thus, the closer a