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10 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS: DOWNTOWN CIRCULATORS INTRODUCTION ate a fare-free zone in downtown. Because a fare-free zone is functionally similar to a downtown circulator, these agencies This is the first of two chapters presenting the results of a sur- were asked to complete the survey. Three transit agencies indi- vey of transit agencies regarding the development, deployment, cated that they do not operate or oversee the operation of the and sustainability of downtown circulator systems. The survey downtown circulator, and terminated the survey. was designed to elicit information on the origin of the circulator, target markets, route structure, administration, marketing, day- The remainder of this chapter focuses on the 48 responding to-day operation, barriers, constraints, and obstacles to success, agencies that operate or oversee operation of a downtown and an assessment of how well the program met its objectives. circulator or offer a downtown fare-free zone. Thirty-seven completed surveys were received from BEGINNINGS 42 agencies (almost all were transit agencies) approved by the panel for inclusion in the sample, a response rate of Table 6 shows the primary reason for implementing a down- 88%. In addition, 41 agencies responded to an invitation to town circulator. The transit agency, downtown organizations, all APTA members to participate in the survey, for a total and elected officials can all play a major role in the decision of 78 transit agencies in the final sample. The transit agen- to begin operation of a circulator. Among "Other" responses cies ranged in size from fewer than 25 to more than 2,000 were a combination of these factors, connections to parking fixed-route transit vehicles. facilities, and a nostalgic vehicle for downtown. This chapter analyzes survey results related to the impetus Table 7 illustrates a wide variety of purposes or goals of a for beginning a downtown circulator, target markets, opera- downtown circulator. This question is asked in a slightly dif- tion, administration, and marketing. Chapter four discusses ferent way later, in terms of the primary market served by the survey results related to the responding agencies' assessment circulator (the responses are provided in the next section). of their programs. Multiple responses were allowed to this question and therefore most of the goals in Table 7 were mentioned by a majority of DOWNTOWN CIRCULATORS, respondents. As an agency begins to design a circulator route NOW AND IN THE PAST tradeoffs emerge and the question of the primary market to be Table 3 summarizes survey responses regarding downtown served becomes more important. Among the various goals in circulators. More than 60% of respondents reported that the table, the most frequent response was improving general a downtown circulator is operating within their agency's mobility throughout the downtown area. "Other" purposes service area. included connecting downtown with universities, cruise ships, casinos and resorts, and historic sites. Inadequate funding and cost were the most common rea- sons that agencies did not implement a downtown circulator. The transit agency, downtown business interests, and Table 4 summarizes responses from these 13 agencies. In elected officials were also most likely to be stakeholders in the Table 4 and all subsequent tables where multiple responses downtown circulator. Table 8 indicates that a majority of sur- were allowed, the sum of the number of agencies responding vey respondents included each of these three groups among does not equal the total number of agencies responding. the key stakeholders who played an active role in bringing this concept to implementation and in continuing to support it. Survey respondents included 18 agencies that had discon- "Other" includes convention/visitors bureaus, universities, tinued operation of a downtown trolley. Table 5 presents the state and county governments, regional planning agencies, and reasons for discontinuation of downtown circulators. Low economic development agencies. ridership was cited by a majority of respondents as a reason for discontinuation. Low productivity, loss of funding source, and Stakeholders can build and maintain support for a down- cost were other reasons frequently cited. town circulator. A "champion," someone who leads the effort to begin such a service, plays a critical role in mov- Four transit agencies that do not currently have downtown ing from concept to implementation. Respondents were circulators within their service area indicated that they do oper- asked to name the primary champion for the downtown cir-