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25 Factors Contributing to Success seniority at Tobyhanna and lobbied successfully for expan- sion of the voucher program to include transit. Why did King County Metro build this array of products and why does it allow employers to obtain these products virtu- It can be difficult in a large, rural county to design an ally free of charge? express route that can provide direct service and serve neigh- borhoods where employees who work similar shifts reside. King County Metro can achieve higher ridership and rev- Fortunately, a number of employees live in East Stroudsburg enue by improving ease of access to the transit system. and others are within a reasonable distance of State Route Employer-based programs are more successful in terms (SR) 611, the major northsouth artery in the county. The of ridership and revenue if the employer provides a high long commuting distances also worked in MCTA's favor: a subsidy to employees and widespread availability. typical roundtrip commute is 40 miles to and from Toby- Using CMAQ and local funds encourages employers to hanna. Most major employers are along or within 1 mile of design programs that are more attractive to employees. SR-611, resulting in traffic congestion during the morning Revenue foregone in early years is recouped in later and afternoon peak periods. years by higher program participation. MCTA designed The Tobyhanna Express route with Today, King County Metro credits partnerships with employ- stops in East Stroudsburg, Stroudsburg, Tannersville, and ers as the cornerstone of its presence in the marketplace. Tobyhanna on SR-611. Stop locations provide ample park- ing. The morning trip leaves East Stroudsburg at 5:35 a.m. Lessons Learned and arrives at Tobyhanna 1 hour later. The return trip in the afternoon leaves Tobyhanna at 4:40 p.m. Monday through King County Metro offered a single lesson learned: Keep it Thursday and 3:40 p.m. on Friday. The route is not scheduled simple, for the customer and for internal administration. as a standalone route but is interlined with other local routes to maximize operator usage. MCTA works with Tobyhanna to adjust the time of the afternoon trip in the event of an early MONROE COUNTY closing caused by inclement winter weather. TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Ridership is higher in warmer months. In the period MONROE COUNTY, from March through October 2008, ridership averaged 375 PENNSYLVANIA trips per month. In November 2009 through January 2009, monthly ridership fell off to 250 trips per month. MCTA Monroe County Transportation Authority (MCTA, known attributes this to a preference among some riders not to wait locally as The Pocono Pony), provides transit service through- for the bus in the dark in cold weather. out Monroe County. The county is large (611 square miles) and primarily rural, with Stroudsburg and East Strouds- Tobyhanna employees obtain transportation vouchers burg as its largest boroughs. The service area population is for either the carpool/vanpool program or the Tobyhanna 165,000. MCTA operates 11 peak buses. Annual ridership is Express. The employees then purchase 20-ticket books from 382,000, including all services operated (FY 2008). MCTA MCTA. Typically, an employee will purchase ticket books uses the GFI cents-a-bill farebox. worth $300 at one time. This may be the result of how Toby- hanna distributes vouchers to its employees (quarterly or MCTA reported one employer-based fare program for possibly bimonthly). federal employees at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. The coun- ty's biggest employer, Tobyhanna Army Depot is located in MCTA has tried to expand this program to other employ- the northwestern part of the county. ers in the county through an employer voucher program. As a small agency, MCTA does not have as much staff time as it The Tobyhanna Express would like to devote to this effort. MCTA did work on a shuttle with the Pocono Commuter Group, which was asking for a One of the MCTA board members worked at Tobyhanna and route from a gated community to a park-and-ride lot served by raised the idea of express commuter service to this location. a commuter bus to New York City. After several meetings with The board's question was, "Would we have enough riders to the group's board of directors, MCTA agreed to a 3-month fill a bus?" MCTA found that more than 30 carpool/vanpool pilot project with the understanding that 11 riders were needed arrangements were funded through the federal commuter in each direction to break even. The shuttle was discontinued benefits program for Tobyhanna employees living in nearby when ridership fell far below the group's projections. counties (Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties to the north and Lehigh County to the south). The board member had As part of MCTA's vision as a mobility provider, the agency is looking for opportunities to build commuter ser-