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34 to riders. One-quarter of all respondents reported no tant. Responsibilities for marketing the program needs drawbacks. The most frequently cited drawbacks for to be defined in the initial agreement and ideally will the public employers (as reported by transit agencies) allow direct contact between the transit agency and involve administrative complexity and cost. public employees. Agency-developed fare media can Improvements related to administrative requirements be used if the fareboxes cannot read employee passes; and procedures were the most frequently mentioned use of flash passes is a less desirable option. In the end, aspects of the process of designing and implementing factors outside the transit agency's control (primarily public employee fare programs that transit agencies parking availability and cost) play a critical role in the would like to change. These improvements include success of the program. standardizing requirements for employers, making it King County Metro in Seattle, Washington, offers an easier for employees and employers to participate, and array of employer pass programs at low cost to employ- simplifying options and administration. ers to increase ridership and revenue. The U-pass pro- gram with the University of Washington was the first program of this type. One of the cities in King County LESSONS LEARNED--SURVEY RESPONDENTS then became interested, and the statewide Commute Trip Reduction law spurred further interest. The tran- Twelve transit agencies shared lessons learned from sit agency developed a standardized formula (based on the implementation of 18 fare programs for public transit use in specific areas of the county) to calculate employers. Lessons regarding relationships with pub- cost per employee. King County Metro uses grants and lic employers led the list of topic areas, followed by local funding sources to encourage employers to pro- program procedures, funding, and marketing. vide a high subsidy to employees and widespread avail- The involvement of multiple levels of the public ability. Revenue foregone in early years is recouped employer's organization in program design and mar- in later years by higher participation levels. Ease of keting is important. Senior-level management makes administration, relatively low cost for an attractive the decision to participate in the program, but mid- employee benefit, and an emphasis (especially effec- level managers are typically responsible for implemen- tive for public employers) on putting proenvironmental tation. Their commitment to the program is needed for goals into practice have encouraged participation. The it to succeed. primary lesson learned through years of offering this Frequently, the transit agency uses its own media program is to keep it simple, both for the customer and and relies on the public employer for distribution. An for internal administration. important exception is for employee identification (ID) The Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Transportation cards with a magnetic strip that can be read by the fare- Authority is an example of a very small system that has box. The ability to implement an employer pass pro- implemented a successful employer voucher program gram that uses employee ID cards and thus does not with the largest employer in the county, the Tobyhanna require the transit agency to issue special fare media is Army Depot. A long-time employee of Tobyhanna who a distinct advantage for the transit agency. Use of flash serves on the MCTA Board of Directors was the initial passes can be successful but is not the best option. proponent of the program. MCTA notes the importance A strong marketing and public relations campaign at of paying attention to the diversification of a transit the outset to spread the word among employees and agency's board. The recommendation to those seeking other employers is important. A successful rollout can to replicate its success is to find a champion within the generate broader interest among employers in the pri- public employer. Many public employers are commit- vate and public sectors. ted to reducing the number of single-occupant auto- Size of the system and the amount that can be invested mobiles traveling to and from work, but a champion in the program are limiting factors. The transit agency within the public employer is instrumental in convert- must be able to fund the program sufficiently at the ing this commitment to action. outset. The Nashville, Tennessee, Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides an example of successful pro- grams for both the state and Metro Nashville as well LESSONS LEARNED--CASE STUDIES as private-sector employers like Vanderbilt University. Building on its early success was vital: the Vanderbilt Capital Metro in Austin, Texas, has implemented a program sparked state interest through positive stories successful employee pass program at the University of in the media, and the state program encouraged Metro Texas, building on its U-pass program for students, and Nashville to become involved. MTA emphasizes the a less successful program with municipal employees. need to find a champion, a corporate leader who will Establishing a strong relationship with the department pave the way. Flexibility that allows the employer to responsible for administering the program is impor- tailor the program to meet its needs is also important.