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CHAPTER 3 Factors That Affect Transportation Cost and Service Reports Many Agencies Need Better Cost and Service Accounting In these days of rising fuel prices and limited budgets, transportation providers are being asked more frequently to work cooperatively with other agencies to ensure that services are delivered in the most cost-effective manner. This situation is particularly true in the area of human ser- vices transportation, where public transportation providers and human service agencies are being asked to coordinate their efforts to ensure maximum productivity at minimum cost. Although the objectives for coordinated services may differ somewhat from community to community, the fundamental purposes are usually to Avoid duplicative and overlapping services. Reduce service gaps. Increase services. Ensure cost effectiveness and cost savings. Provide safe and reliable transportation services. The administrative and financial complexities involved in coordinating transportation are significant. Agencies with specific client populations and funding sources have their own oper- ating procedures, even their own vocabularies. If these agencies are going to work together, how do they know that they are being treated fairly when it comes to paying for the services that they share? Many transportation providers do have at least a somewhat accurate sense of what it costs them to provide services, but that information is seldom reported in detail. Reports of ser- vices provided and their costs are needed in sufficient detail to allow for comparisons, analy- sis, accountability, and the determination of program effects. Improved cost accounting methods are needed 1. To ensure that all operators are recording all services and costs on an accurate and consistent basis. 2. To ensure that complete information is reported on transportation services and costs and is available to a wide range of decision-makers. 3. To develop a uniform service and cost-reporting methodology that can be used to track and analyze transportation services and costs. 4. To share the costs of transportation services among the users and other beneficiaries of those services, when appropriate. When these objectives are achieved, transportation providers, administrators, and funders will have the information they need to provide the most transportation services they can in the most cost-effective manner. 6