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19 TABLE 35 MARKETING ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF THE DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR No. of Agencies % Agencies Activity Responding Responding Website (agency and other) 13 35.1 Brochures 10 27.0 Cross-promotions with Downtown Groups/Others 9 24.3 Special Events Promotions 8 21.6 Schedule Distribution 8 21.6 Print Media Ads (newspapers, hotel publications) 7 18.9 Flyers 7 18.9 Signage at Stops/in Downtown 7 18.9 General Promotions 7 18.9 Partnerships with Hotels/Conventions 6 16.2 Vehicle Branding 4 10.8 Wayfinding Maps 4 10.8 Total Responding Agencies 37 100 Note: Percentages do not necessarily add to 100% due to rounding. schedules, direct mail, video in hotels and on vehicles, unique operate on Saturday and Sunday. Table 37 presents median shelters, and guerrilla marketing (flash mobs, a Twitter phe- ridership and productivity by the number of days per week that nomenon in which a message is sent out to meet at a certain the downtown circulator is in operation. Weekday-only circu- place and time). lators have the lowest median ridership and productivity, whereas 7-day-a-week circulators have the highest. RIDERSHIP AND PRODUCTIVITY Table 38 reports on downtown circulator ridership and pro- ductivity by day of the week and primary market for circulator Ridership and productivity numbers can be broken down in a service. Agencies reported the primary market for the circula- variety of ways. Table 36 presents ridership and productivity tor, but the large majority indicated that the primary market by service area population (used as a proxy for size of down- was not the sole market served. Downtown circulators ori- town). The table shows median ridership and productivity fig- ented toward tourists and visitors had the highest median rid- ures because averages can be unduly influenced by a few very ership and productivity. Circulators in Charlotte, Long Beach, high ridership systems. Median ridership and productivity is Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Santa Barbara ranked highest generally proportional to service area population. It should in this category in terms of ridership. also be noted that reported productivity figures sometimes implied an unusually high or low number of revenue hours; it is possible that some respondents misinterpreted the question. SUMMARY In Table 36, higher median ridership and productivity on A total of 78 agencies reported on their experiences with weekends compared with weekdays is unexpected. The expla- downtown circulators. Sixty percent currently operate a circu- nation is that circulators with high ridership are more likely to lator, whereas 23% discontinued and 17% never implemented TABLE 36 MEDIAN RIDERSHIP AND PRODUCTIVITY OF DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR BY DAY OF THE WEEK AND SERVICE AREA POPULATION Service Area Measure Population Number Weekday Saturday Sunday Ridership All 30 850 1,119 1,530 Under 500,000 13 450 550 450 500,000 to 8 1,100 500 1,460 1,000,000 Over 1,000,000 9 4,376 5,200 2,700 Productivity All 30 23 26 26 (riders per revenue Under 500,000 13 15 19 23 hour) 500,000 to 8 18 22 23 1,000,000 Over 1,000,000 9 45 33 29

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20 TABLE 37 MEDIAN RIDERSHIP AND PRODUCTIVITY OF DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR BY DAY OF THE WEEK AND DAYS OF OPERATION Measure Days of Operation Number Weekday Saturday Sunday Ridership All 30 850 1,119 1,530 Weekday only 10 396 -- -- Weekday/Saturday 4 513 375 -- 7 days a week 16 2,247 1,911 1,530 Productivity All 30 23 26 26 (riders per revenue Weekday only 10 10 -- -- hour) Weekday/Saturday 4 17 15 -- 7 days a week 16 34 29 29 TABLE 38 MEDIAN RIDERSHIP AND PRODUCTIVITY OF DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR BY DAY OF THE WEEK AND PRIMARY MARKET Measure Primary Market Number Weekday Saturday Sunday Ridership All 30 850 1,119 1,530 Employees 12 688 1,119 1,115 Tourists/Visitors 8 1,300 1,911 1,556 Multiple/Other 10 446 434 231 Productivity All 30 23 26 26 (riders per revenue hour) Employees 12 30 26 27 Tourists/Visitors 8 25 33 29 Multiple/Other 10 15 17 14 a downtown circulator. Inadequate funding and cost were the responsible for the original design of and any changes to the principal reasons for never implementing a circulator. Low route, as well as for day-to-day operation. ridership was the major reason for discontinuation. Low pro- ductivity, loss of the funding source, and cost also played a The most common funding arrangement (41% of respon- role in discontinuation. dents) is for the transit agency to pay all costs; however, there are a variety of other funding situations. The private sector par- In most cases, the impetus to begin a downtown circu- ticipates in circulator funding primarily through downtown lator came from the transit agency, downtown organiza- businesses or business improvement districts. Half of the tions, and elected officials. These agencies and groups respondents indicated that the transit agency does not use fed- were the major stakeholders in the circulator. Improving eral funds for the downtown circulator. mobility throughout downtown was most often cited as the purpose of the circulator, although several other goals were Several different types of vehicles are used as downtown also reported by a majority of respondents. The champion circulators. Replica trolleys and historic streetcars are very of the circulator was typically either the transit agency gen- appealing; however, many agencies use regular transit buses. eral manager, a member of a downtown interest, or an These are often differentiated with a special paint scheme or elected official. other means of branding. The transit agency is most likely to purchase and maintain the vehicles. Employees and tourists/visitors are the most common pri- mary markets for a downtown circulator, but nearly all agen- The most common start time is during the 6:00 a.m. hour on cies reported that the circulator was designed to serve more weekdays, during the 9:00 a.m. hour on Saturday, and during than one market. Close to half of respondents indicated that the 10:00 a.m. hour on Sunday. The most common end the market for the circulator had changed over time, suggest- time (defined as the start time of the final trip) is during the ing the need for flexibility in designing service. Almost 75% 6:00 p.m. hour on weekdays and Sunday and at or after mid- of respondents have changed the routing of the circulator to night on Saturday. Span of service is longest on weekdays and serve new markets. shortest on Sunday. Median prevailing headways are 15 min on weekdays and Saturday and 12 min on Sunday (this is Slightly more than half of respondents have a downtown owing to less frequent circulators not operating on Sunday). circulator network with more than one route. A single loop route and a combination of different types of routes were the Most respondents do not charge a fare on their downtown most common responses. The transit agency is typically circulator. When a fare is charged it is a nominal amount (20 or

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21 25 cents) for 6 of the 16 systems that specified a fare. A wide A majority of respondents named the transit agency as variety of fare media is accepted on the downtown circulator. having overall responsibility for marketing. Agencies pro- moting tourism, hotels, the convention center, and downtown Introduction of, or revisions to, a downtown circulator route employers are likely to participate in marketing efforts. A might offer the opportunity to restructure other routes in the wide variety of marketing activities are undertaken for down- downtown area. Most respondents noted that introduction of town circulators. the circulator did not result in changes to other routes. Agencies that did change other routes typically streamlined routes in the For all circulators in the sample, the median ridership was downtown area and facilitated transfers between regular routes 600 on weekdays (30 circulators), 1,100 on Saturday (20 cir- and the circulator. Agencies have taken different approaches to culators), and 1,500 on Sunday (16 circulators). Median the integration of the downtown circulator with the transit net- productivity (measured as riders per revenue hour) was 23 work. Connections are provided at major transfer points for the on weekdays and 26 on both Saturday and Sunday. These majority of circulators, but almost 20% of respondents indi- results are misleading, because circulators with high rider- cated that there is no integration and that the circulator is sepa- ship are more likely to operate on Saturday and Sunday. rate from the rest of the transit system. More than 80% of After controlling for the number of days per week of oper- respondents reported no issues related to complementary ADA ation, median ridership and productivity are highest on service associated with the downtown circulator. weekdays. Median ridership and productivity is generally proportional to service area population; downtown circula- Survey respondents described various elements in terms of tors in larger cities have higher ridership and are more pro- whether they were constraining factors in the start-up and ductive. Downtown circulators oriented toward tourists ongoing operation of the downtown circulator. Funding issues and visitors had the highest median ridership and productiv- are the only elements characterized as major constraints at a ity. Circulators in Charlotte, Long Beach, Philadelphia, San majority of agencies. Operating funding dominated the list of Antonio, and Santa Barbara ranked highest in the tourist/ major constraints. visitor category in terms of ridership.