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19 Funding SUMMARY Size of the system and the amount that can be invested This chapter described agency assessments of public in the program can be limiting factors. employee fare programs. Findings include the following: If you cannot fund the program sufficiently, do not cre- ate embarrassment. Do it right if you are going to do it. Results regarding agency satisfaction with the public Know and make sure others know who pays for the employee fare programs are positive. Fifty-seven percent program upfront. were very satisfied and 35% were somewhat satisfied. Do not put an artificial cap on program revenues. This The primary benefits of these programs to the transit lesson learned was offered by a program in which the agency include ridership increases, revenue increases, municipal government set a maximum contribution and increased awareness of transit. Primary benefits level. When the program proved to be more popular to public employers (as reported by transit agencies) than expected, the agency accepted a revenue loss. include a valuable employee benefit, reduction in the demand and need for parking, and ability to provide Data transportation options to their employees. Drawbacks to these programs to the transit agency It is helpful to have a way to measure ridership changes. include administrative complexity, fare abuse, under- Be sure you have a way to count program ridership. pricing or limits to revenue, and the lack of access Develop and share ongoing or readily available perfor- to riders. One-quarter of all respondents reported no mance reports. drawbacks. The most frequently cited drawbacks for the public employers (as reported by transit agencies) Contracts involve administrative complexity and cost. Transit agency ratings of program performance are It is important to address scenarios contractually, generally positive ("met expectations" was the most even though it can result in complex administrative common response for all program elements). Level requirements. of participation and ridership were the elements most Add flexibility in the contract to increase the cost to likely to have exceeded expectations. the employers in the event of extreme situations (e.g., Improvements related to administrative requirements dramatic gas price increases). and procedures were the most frequently mentioned aspects of the process of designing and implementing Pricing public employee fare programs that transit agencies would like to change. These improvements include stan- Develop a pricing mechanism that can be applied to all dardizing requirements for employers, making it easier public employers rather than be negotiated individually. for employees and employers to participate, and simpli- Maximize flexibility by working with individual public fying options and administration. The administrative employers to design a program that meets their needs improvements target all parties in a public employer fare and budget. Individual negotiation may be more appro- program: the transit agency, the public employer, and a priate at start-up, but as additional employers sign on, a regional agency administering the program. consistent pricing mechanism becomes important. Twelve transit agencies shared lessons learned from Offer a pretax option and a quantity discount to the implementation of 18 fare programs for public employers. employers. Lessons regarding relationships with pub- lic employers led the list of topic areas, followed by Program Design program procedures, funding, and marketing. Balance the desire to offer a broad array of products Chapter five describes findings from six case studies that and services with the need to limit administrative explore issues related to employer pass programs in greater requirements. detail. Simplify the program design wherever possible.