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40 agency's service area are beneficiaries of programs re- buffers. Multiple scenarios are always generated as al- ceiving FTA financial assistance. ternatives, and their effects are also determined. Dispro- The agency's Title VI plan calls for the agency to portionate impact upon low-income or minority popula- examine the impact in particular within census tracts tions is noted in each case.... with a poverty level higher than the community as a The agency also stated that whole. [O]nce a consensus is reached, there is always extensive The agency raises fares in accordance with federal public outreach, public hearings, and opportunity for pub- guidelines, compares its fares with those of other agen- lic feedback. Very often, input from the public will sub- cies of similar size in its state and with nearby cities, stantially modify the original change scenario so that dis- and works with a Citizen Advisory Committee and proportionate effect is mitigated even further. In the case community advocacy groups. of fare changes, multiple scenarios are always tendered, and compromises or least-impact alternatives are what The agency's service changes have been based the agency frequently chooses. As a matter of course, upon performance measures, and the agency has re- whenever fare increases are proposed, an accompanying duced service only on routes with the lowest ridership pass discount of some type is often included as well; this and contract services with the highest costs. gives the public a way to offset the effects of the fare in- The city has conducted an analysis that compares crease. In all cases, ...the public is given ample opportu- the level of service provided to low-income and non-low- nity to comment upon them; the public's input frequently income populations that demonstrated that transit ser- mitigates any disproportionate effect the change might vice was provided equitably and that disparities in ser- cause to low-income riders. Finally, and in all cases, pro- vice did not exist. posed changes are only made, finalized, and approved by The MPO's analysis and mapping of the low- our Board if the changes in question are of substantial income populations are completed for any service reduc- need and would have less of an impact than the status quo or other alternatives. tions or fare increases. The mayor's Transit Rates and Service Commis- The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency sion's membership will include someone from the low- (SFMTA) states that income population. [It employs] various off-setting measures in order to de- Public information sessions are held at the crease the impact of fare changes on minority and/or low- agency's central transfer facility (accessible by all income groups: 1) increases in the Single Ride- routes), as well as in low-income neighborhoods at Senior/Youth/Disabled Fare were designed to continue to community centers and meeting rooms of public hous- offer deep discounts over the full fare via the Single Ride- Adult Fare and the Adult Monthly Passes; 2) the Lifeline ing complexes. Pass, created by SFMTA in 2005 in conjunction with the Human Services Agency in order to minimize the impact Some agencies provided a more detailed description of fare increases being implemented at that time, re- of their practices. For example, Metropolitan Transit of mained an option for qualifying riders (according to an Harris County, Houston, Texas, explained that analysis of the 2000 U.S. Census data, minority commu- [D]uring the FY 2004 System Productivity Program, five nities are the major beneficiaries of the Lifeline Pass pro- weekday routes were identified as being both poor per- gram); and 3) in order to mitigate the effect of fare forming routes with subsidies per boarding in excess of changes to minority and/or low-income youth transit cus- 100% above the average for local routes and lifeline with tomers, SFMTA continued its partnership with the San very low average household incomes. ... Non-lifeline poor Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) to provide at- performing routes were discontinued in fall 2004, but risk minority and/or low-income youth with City-funded these lifeline poor performing routes were retained for an Single Ride-Senior/Youth/Disabled Monthly Passes. additional 6 months to try and increase the ridership In sum, the vast majority of transit agencies report such that their subsidy per boarding would decrease to that they consider the effect of a reduction in service or target levels. None of the five weekday routes met the an increase in fares on low-income populations. The ridership/subsidy per boarding targets at the end of the 6- practices include geographic information system (GIS) month period. With community support, the alignment of one of these lifeline routes, the headway, and the span of mapping and collecting and analyzing demographic, service were shortened, but the route was retained. A new income, and service data; assessing the impact of pro- route was created from the remnants of another lifeline posed service reductions on low-income areas; compar- route, while the remaining three routes were discontin- ing fares with fares in other areas; making efforts to ued due to poor performance. assure that service and fares are equitable; using public According to Omnitrans, San Bernardino, California, information sessions and public hearings; being respon- sive to community involvement and input; and using [The agency] use[s] GIS analytical techniques to model impact of multiple change scenarios in order to determine discounts for low-income populations most affected by the least onerous scenario. ... The effect of any proposed increased fares. change is modeled against the demographics of the area in question. For any proposed service change, for exam- C. Limited-English-Proficiency Persons ple, the new route is compared to the old route, half-mile Fifty-three transit agencies responded that when re- walking distance buffers are placed around the routes, ducing transit service and/or increasing fares they take and by using GIS analysis, the census blocks and block- steps to give notice to and otherwise involve LEP per- groups affected by the change are identified within these

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41 sons, including the use of public hearings. Nine transit phone interpreter service line offering speedy interpreta- agencies responded that they do not take LEP persons tion assistance in many different languages. In addition, into consideration; two agencies did not respond to the GCRTA's Community Relations Specialist translates as question. needed to provide two-way communication between the Hispanic Community and GCRTA. GCRTA also employs three Customer Service Representatives in the Telephone Table 3. Information Center (Call Center) who are Hispanic and Transit Agencies That Involve LEP Persons speak fluent Spanish. When Reducing Service or Increasing Fares Another agency provided an example of its recent outreach when it discontinued a lightly used branch Transit Agencies That 53 and extended the route to serve a community college. Involve LEP Persons The agency stated that prior to the changes, agency Transit Agencies That 9 staff conducted research regarding languages spoken at Do Not Involve LEP Per- home in the neighborhoods surrounding the route and sons disseminated handouts, brochures, and bus stop infor- Transit Agencies Not 2 mation in four languages (English, Spanish, Korean, Responding and Vietnamese) to communicate successfully with af- fected transit riders. Some of the agencies' responses were: Another agency's practice is to make certain it is aware of the ethnic and linguistic makeup of its service The agency has an "LEP plan in effect that calls population. The agency uses an Attitude and Aware- for us to provide translation assistance and other assis- ness Survey of its service population every 3 years. The tance to individuals identified as LEP." survey provides the agency with a profile of its patrons All prominent information is translated into Span- by age, ethnicity, gender, and income, as well as the ish, which makes up 29 percent of the non-English- typical rider's dependence on transit use. For instance, speaking population in the area as obtained from school only 55 percent of its riders have a driver's license; 14 district and census data, and materials are translated percent of its riders live in a household without a li- into Asian languages even though the 5 percent thresh- censed driver compared to 2 percent of nonriders. old is not met in the community the agency services. Not unlike other agencies responding to the survey, Notices are published in local foreign language one agency stated that because of the linguistic makeup newspapers. of the agency's service area, the agency seeks to im- The agency uses multi-language advertisements prove communication with its Spanish-speaking com- and brochures and has interpreters and signers at all munity by printing materials in both English and Span- meetings with relevance to the riding public. ish, including its Rider Alerts; having bilingual The city staff conducts outreach at "high passen- Information Clerks; providing interpreters at public ger-transfer points such as transit centers or in com- hearings; printing advertisements in both English- and munities known to have high levels of transit passen- Spanish-language newspapers; and making announce- gers"; all notices of public hearings are published in ments on local radio stations that serve listeners who English and Spanish; and information is broadcast in speak English or Spanish. media outlets that specifically serve African-American, TriMet uses a variety of methods to communicate Hispanic, and Asian communities. proposed changes and solicit feedback from the commu- nity, including on-board notification, notification at af- Other transit agencies described their practices in fected stops, notification through a diversity list-serve, more detail. For example, the practice of Greater and public notices in local, minority newspapers and Bridgeport Transit Authority, Bridgeport, Connecticut, community publications. Its proposed changes are is to recognize "that there are more than 50,000 His- posted within buses and shelters, and individual notices panic or Latino residents in its service area, which are mailed to businesses or individuals identified as key translates to roughly 25 percent of the service area's stakeholders. population." The Authority undertakes to make avail- TriMet advises that public hearings generally are able its timetables, newsletters, on-board displays, spe- held at public facilities (schools, community centers) cial notices, and radio advertisements and announce- within the affected neighborhoods. The agency commu- ments to Hispanic or Latino residents. nicates with community-based organizations that rep- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority resent minority or low-income communities; employs (GCRTA) reported that it uses language banks as one of GIS mapping software to identify affected LEP commu- its practices. nities for targeting its materials; and provides inter- [The agency] provides meaningful communication access preters at open houses or public hearings. TriMet has a to LEP persons through the assistance of Cleveland State full-time LEP Outreach Coordinator who solicits feed- University's language bank. The language bank is a tele-