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17 Table 25 summarizes benefits of these programs to the cited problems involve administrative complexity and cost. public employer. These are responses from the transit agency Thirty percent of all respondents reported no drawbacks. perspective, not the public employer. The programs provide Again, these are responses from the transit agency perspec- a valuable employee benefit, reduce the demand and need tive, not the public employer. Other issues include lack of for parking, and offer transportation options. Other benefits understanding of the program and its benefits and confusion noted include broadening the pool of job applicants, encour- in programs with multiple transit providers. aging use of transit, reducing congestion and automobile emissions, and doing something positive for public employ- Table 27 ees in a time of wage freezes. Drawbacks of Public Employee Fare Programs for Public Employers Drawback # Programs % Programs Table 25 Primary Benefits of Public Employee Fare None 9 30% Programs to Public Employers Complex to administer 4 13% Benefit to Public Employer # Programs % Programs Cost 4 13% Valuable employee benefit 13 43% Other 10 33% Reduced parking demand 9 30% Total Responding 30 100% Enhanced transportation options 6 20% Note: Multiple responses allowed; no response for 10 programs Easy to administer 4 13% "Green" benefit 3 10% Table 28 presents transit agency ratings of program per- Other 10 33% formance in several areas. "Met expectations" was the most common response for all program elements. Level of partici- Total Responding 30 -- pation and ridership were the elements most likely to have Note: Multiple responses allowed; no response for 10 programs exceeded expectations (29% of the programs). Respondents at well-established programs sometimes reported difficulty Table 26 summarizes the drawbacks of public employee remembering exactly what the expectations had been. fare programs for transit agencies, also representing responses to an open-ended question. The most frequently Respondents were asked, "If you could go back in time cited problems involve administrative complexity, fare and change ONLY ONE aspect in the process of designing abuse, underpricing or limits to revenue, and the lack of and implementing the program, what would you change?" access to riders. One-quarter of all respondents reported no Table 29 summarizes the results. drawbacks. Other issues noted include equity concerns, lack of resources to promote the program, and inability to track Improvements related to administrative requirements and use by public employees in a statistically valid manner. procedures were the most frequently mentioned responses. These improvements included standardizing requirements for employers, making it easier for employees and employers to Table 26 participate, and simplifying options and administration. The Drawbacks of Public Employee Fare Programs administrative improvements target all parties in a public for Transit Agencies employer fare program: the transit agency, the public employer, Drawback # Programs % Programs and a regional agency administering the program. A variety None 8 28% of other responses were also received, including an outreach Complexity of managing a broad packet to deliver the message to employers and employees, array of products (distribution, 5 17% mandated participation by all state agencies, and greater flex- operator confusion) ibility in setting costs and receiving revenues (i.e., no cap on Actual/potential fare abuse 3 10% revenues), and a higher upper limit on voucher amounts. Program underpriced/revenue 3 10% limited by cap LESSONS LEARNED Relies on employer/lack of access 3 10% to riders Twelve transit agencies shared lessons learned from the imple- Total Responding 29 100% mentation of 18 fare programs for public employers. The lessons Note: Multiple responses allowed; no response for 11 programs learned can be grouped into eight broad categories, as shown in Table 30. Lessons regarding relationships with public employ- Table 27 summarizes the drawbacks of public employee ers led the list of topic areas, followed by program procedures, fare programs for the public employers. The most frequently funding, and marketing. Responses are presented by category.

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18 Table 28 Transit Agency Rating of Program Performance Exceeded Fell Below Element Expectations Met Expectations Expectations Don't Know # Programs Level of participation 29% 51% 11% 9% 35 Ridership 29% 47% 9% 15% 34 Revenue 18% 62% 6% 15% 34 Benefits to employers 23% 60% 9% 9% 35 Table 29 Table 30 One Improvement to Designing and Implementing Lessons Learned the Program Lessons Learned # Programs % Programs Improvement # Programs % Programs Relationships with public employers 6 33% Streamlined/simplified administra- 5 22% Program procedures 5 28% tive requirements and procedures Marketing 4 22% Direct access to employees 2 9% Funding 4 22% Integrated program with other 2 9% Data 3 17% transit agencies in the region Smart card for greater flexibility Contract 2 11% 2 9% and ability to track ridership Pricing 2 11% No change 2 9% Program design 2 11% Other 9 39% Total Responding 18 -- Note: No response for 22 programs Total Responding 23 100% Note: No response for 17 programs Program Procedures Relationships with Public Employers Fare integration between transit systems can become a sticking point. Meet with upper management within the employer Do not mail passes directly to employees. Distribute groups at the outset to convince them of the ben- them through the employer. efits of the program. They may not see the benefits Standardize procedures regarding transit passes or immediately. ID cards--how are cards returned or how are stickers Stay in touch with upper management within the removed? employer groups throughout the program and listen to Whenever possible, use your own fare media and avoid their comments and suggestions. flash passes. Be sure to build a good relationship with the client's administering group (human resources, benefits, park- Marketing ing). If the program is set up at higher levels, these people may be initially hostile, and you need their sup- Concentrate on excellent public relations at the rollout port to succeed. of the program, emphasizing the program's contribu- Take advantage of the public employer market--they tion to reducing congestion. love the program. A plan for informing and marketing to employees is Access to employees is important. Be sure that the important at the outset. employers allow this access. Determine cost per parking space accurately and com- Be aware of state-required oversight requirements pare with cost per employee in your program. Not hav- that can become burdensome if you let them. This les- ing to build or maintain expensive parking facilities is son learned was offered by a program in which state a significant selling point to employers. employees' use of transit was restricted to commuting Statewide "commuter trip reduction" laws can provide to and from work. a strong impetus for employer-based programs.