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75 APPENDIX B Summary of Survey Results Development and Deployment of Downtown Circulators RESPONDENT INFORMATION 1. Date: 2. Contact Information Name of respondent: Agency name: Title of respondent: Agency address: Agency size (note: this was entered after survey responses were received, based on FY 2008 NTD data) Small (<250 peak buses) 57 73.1% Medium (2501,000 peak buses) 14 17.9% Large (1,000+ peak buses) 7 9.0% Respondent e-mail address: Respondent telephone number: DOWNTOWN CIRCULATORS 3. Is there a downtown circulator currently operating within your agency's service area? Yes 60.3% 47 No 39.7% 31 NO PROGRAM 4. In the past, has there been a downtown circulator within your agency's service area that is no longer in operation? Yes 58.1% 18 No 32.3% 10 Unsure 9.7% 3 5. What are the reasons that a downtown circulator has not been implemented (check all that apply)? Lack of funding 61.5% 8
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76 Cost 53.8% 7 Downtown is too small 30.8% 4 Downtown is well served by existing routes 23.1% 3 Lack of interest from downtown businesses/employers 7.7% 1 Lack of interest within agency 7.7% 1 Other (please specify) 30.8% 4 Other includes: (1) Recession impacted ability to build and launch--delayed, but still breathing. (2) Regional suburban service with multiple suburban downtowns. Our strategic plan identifies local distribution systems, which include downtown circulators as appropriate to connection with regional Arterial Bus Rapid Transit, express routes, and main line corridor services. We do however operate suburban distribution systems in retail/shopping centers, while not "downtowns" serve as distributors from mainline services. (3) Downtown is served by frequent light rail service that runs in a loop through downtown. The downtown redevelopment agency and port district are in the planning stage for a bus circulator required as mitigation for a waterfront development project. (4) We will begin a free downtown circulator in Spring 2010, which has support from the mayor and the business community. NO LONGER OPERATING 6. Why is this downtown circulator no longer in operation (check all that apply)? Low ridership 55.6% 10 Low productivity 44.8% 8 Funding source was discontinued 38.9% 7 Cost of providing service 33.3% 6 Lack of support from private sector 16.7% 3 Other (please specify) 33.3% 6 Other includes: (1) I am not sure why the old circulator is no longer in operation but I believe it is a multitude of reasons. (2) It was a midday shopper shuttle/circulator designed to bring state employees downtown to eat and shop. Over time ridership dwindled. (3) The circulator that formerly operated was a bus circulator that operated through the traditional office/retail core of the CBD. When our light rail system began operating the CBD [central business district] mall, including four stations, attracted most of the ridership that was formerly serviced by the circulator. The light rail headways were more reliable than those of a bus service operating in a relatively congested core area. The reasons for the circulator's demise included: decreasing ridership on the circulator and the recognition, on our part, that the circulator resources could be utilized more effectively. (4) Trolleys used were old and hard to maintain. (5) On two occasions we tried to implement a City Centre Shuttle. At the first go-round, there was private funding behind the service where $1.00 per ride was charged. The service was cut due to lack of ridership. The second iteration, there was no private funding yet the political will was there to try it again. Unfortunately, conditions had not changed greatly since the last iteration and we were once again plagued by low ridership. If interested, I could forward a more detailed Corporate Report which outlines the ridership, cost of service, and the rationale behind the failure of the service. (6) A circulator route was tried twice in the downtown of a suburban city. A ride-free area has been in existence in our primary downtown since the mid-1970s.
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77 DOWNTOWN FARE FREE ZONE 7. Does your transit agency offer a fare-free zone in downtown? Yes 12.9% 4 No 87.1% 27 If Yes, please continue with the survey changing references to "downtown circulator" to "fare-free zone." Such an arrangement is a functional equivalent to a circulator. WHO OPERATES 8. Is the transit agency or its contractor the operator of the downtown circulator? Yes 94.0% 47 No 6.0% 3 If no, please provide the name and email address of the most appropriate person to fill out this survey at the agency that operates the downtown circulator. ASSESSMENT 9. How would your agency rate the downtown circulator? Very successful 36.2% 17 Somewhat successful 36.2% 17 Neutral 17.0% 8 Somewhat unsuccessful 8.5% 4 Very unsuccessful 2.1% 1 10. What have been the primary benefits of the downtown circulator? Responses summarized in Table 38 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here. Many seniors live in the downtown and this service helps them to get around, especially during the winter months. It provides a low cost, easy link, aimed primarily at visitors, between downtown's historic destinations and our cultural attractions, a distance of about 2 miles. Just last year we added a "leg" from the cultural attractions to our Zoo and children's museum west of the downtown area. Getting people to jobs, promoting economic vitality, fun to ride The downtown rail circulator system has been a catalyst for downtown redevelopment. Ridership continues to grow and the system provides additional transportation capacity during peak periods and special events. It was implemented when the Authority moved their downtown location. Making downtown trips reduced the public outcry against "change." Enormous change in public perception toward bus because of frequent service, strong branding, great customer service, and easy to understand routes. Linkages to downtown destinations were vastly improved. Circulator does cross-promotion with business improvement districts so there is an increased positive linkage between local businesses and transit serving those businesses. Previously there were no single routes connecting some of our most important activity centers without having to transfer on multiple buses or from bus to rail--people able to traverse the city more easily with a one-seat ride. Provides high frequent transportation during the winter season for free
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78 Downtown distribution from rail and other bus services Free connections to ride short distances within downtown area We have been able to provide very frequent service to our downtown riders by providing this added service. We can tell customers that they can board a train as frequently as every 5 minutes. Useful link for tourists and convention goers. Economic development tool The service has been able to link three business districts, three Gold Line light rail stations, and two higher educational institutions. Inexpensive fares (subsidized by the city) for passengers Shuttle for tourists during peak tourism months. Geographic coverage in the CBD. Connects many points of interest with short one-seat one-ride trips; connects regional transit center with downtown. It has effectively replaced more costly dial-a-ride service for routine trips both in downtown and the rest of this city. Increased ridership. Providing a link from a park-n-ride location on the fringe of downtown for workers and access to the train station; plus the local unemployment and training office and new convention center in the downtown. Good connector to outlying routes 30-minute frequency (convenience) No fare to ride Relatively small area of north/south downtown It is a highly visible service that has great downtown and political support. It allowed partnerships to be formed between Intercity Transit, city and state government, other agencies, downtown organizations, businesses, and neighborhood groups. It has been a great "introduction" to public transportation for many members of our community. Built connections to business community and route; is one of the highest productivity lines. Provides added mobility options for travel in downtown area during hours of operation. Lessening of congestion, access to service, and consolidation of parking The circulator transports downtown workers and people called for jury duty to and from downtown parking lots. We operate two circulators in the downtown area: (1) connecting dense employment area with the Metrorail Station, which is reasonably successful; (2) Seaport connection with Metrorail Station which is essentially unsuccessful but there is no alternative transit service. It is a benefit to downtown workers and to tourists who can ride to the various venues in downtown. It helps move people, especially during lunch hours, and thus benefits the restaurant business in downtown. It also adds to the ambiance of downtown with the use of the trolley replica buses that are used on the service. It reduces the need to drive for the business class who go to meetings in buildings other than their own. A new circulator was started on August 31, 2009, to connect the train station with downtown. The service operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The service is free and it provides a connection for visitors and commuters to easily travel between the center of downtown and the train station. The downtown stop is at the pulse point for all regional bus routes. Better access for residents to the downtown area, jobs and recreational activities, and connectivity to the entire transit system at the downtown hub.
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79 The downtown circulator is a vital mobility component for the area. The downtown circulators connect many waterfront points of interest, such as the Aquarium, museums, the Convention Center, Shoreline Village, the Sports Arena, and surrounding hotels and business/government hubs. It is well received by the community and provides an efficient transportation option for visitors and workers in the downtown area. The primary benefits are that it is operated by electric vehicles, which has given the transit agency worldwide positive exposure; that it provides economic benefits to businesses on the circulator route due in part to its frequency (6 minutes) and the fact that no fare is charged to ride. It has provided additional revenue to the transit agency in that it has become a popular mode of advertising. Nine of our electric buses have been wrapped at $20,000.00 per bus annually. Revenue collected from the two parking garages that anchor our DTS as well as parking revenue collected from meters (the transit agency as an authority maintains parking meters and gets the revenue from the meters) fund about 75% of the cost of operating the shuttle. Provides connection for commuters between the downtown transportation center (commuter rail and buses) and the main employment sites in downtown. Provides some internal circulation for the downtown area. Replaced time-consuming downtown loop on all bus routes as they entered and left the downtown--saved bus time on those routes and reduced travel time for passengers who come to downtown only to transfer. Brings people from downtown fringe area parking into the CBD for employment. Connects people in the CBD to our downtown transit center and to routes that do not circulate through the downtown. Better mobility within the central business district. Reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality. Since its introduction in 2003, ridership on the downtown circulator increased monthly at a pace faster than any other route operated by the transit agency. This trend continued until March 2009 when revenue shortfalls required the transit agency to reduce the span and frequency of service. Prior to service reductions, the popularity of the service was recognized by downtown visitors and merchants alike. Many of our passengers were first-time transit users and included people who would not or do not ride the other routes in the system. Provides a premium, easily recognizable service in an area where there is a lot of transit service that is not well- received by "choice" transit riders. Provides a "one-park" solution, so that tourists don't have to drive to multiple destinations in the downtown area. Circulation. Seriously. Two of the three do a very good job of connecting distant parts of CBD that is otherwise quite congested with traffic. Provides circulation around downtown area. Provides distribution from light rail transit to various portions of the downtown area. The downtown Ride-Free Area (RFA) is seen as a convenience and inducement for people to use transit for travel within the downtown free zone between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (fares are charged between 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.). Shorter dwell times for buses has also been a benefit of the RFA, although for outbound buses delays have been transferred to bus stops outside the downtown area on heavily used routes due to time consumed by alighting passengers queuing or showing passes before leaving the bus by the front door. A 2008 assessment found that 3.4 million annual trips were made within the RFA that did not involve a transfer to/from revenue service. Connects activity centers in and around downtown and is free for passengers. Makes connections that the local fixed route bus system does not. Circulator was conceived as a free connection between a new state-owned convention center, hotels, restaurants, and the arts and entertainment districts. Ridership is very strong when there is a convention at the center that uses many downtown hotels for attendees. The existence of the shuttle is a major sales tool for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau to help pitch the city as a site for conventions. It alleviates congestion and parking problems in downtown. It provides a benefit to downtown merchants by bringing potential customers from the beach area hotels.
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80 Relocation of suburban highway coaches and other buses to peripheral stations. Full access to CBD for Local and Limited routes that cross downtown at right angles to the main streets. Revival of Lower Downtown restaurant district, by making it easy to reach beyond normal walking distance from high-rise offices and major hotels. Service utilized by broad cross section of population, including affluent who otherwise would feel that they gain nothing from transit system. Allowing more people to use the regional rail and bus system and then connect to the downtown circulator (DASH) to get to their places of employment. Allowing those that use the regional public system to get around downtown for meetings, lunch, shopping, etc. Provide those that live in the downtown area with an alternative to driving their personal cars for trips within downtown. It has provided more exposure to transit services to community members who may not ride the bus. Provides alternative transportation options for tourists and downtown workers/residents to move around downtown, work to restaurants, tourist spot to tourist spot, residential to work/eat, etc. 11. What have been the primary drawbacks of the downtown circulator? Responses summarized in Table 39 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here . None Free rides prevent establishment of a true circulator Slow travel speeds on the Main Street portion of the system due to closely spaced mid-block stop locations and traffic signals, despite exclusive right-of-way Perception that entire system operates slowly Victim of its own success--now politicians in every part of the city are clamoring for the same level of service, whether or not the ridership demand may justify it. Decreased ridership on other routes that charge a fare None Very limited stops within downtown area. Still evaluating Low ridership due to a small downtown Insufficient capacity: when we have cruise ships dock with thousands of passenger we couldn't possibly handle the loads. Irregular demand Funding: A small proportion of funding comes from local business, but the majority of the cost is absorbed by the transit agency (service is provided free of charge). Convoluted routing: whenever a new sponsor comes on board, there is a request to change the routing so the new sponsor has direct service. We use a Chance Trolley and the step is high for seniors. Getting others to ride Passenger confusion--circulator routing vs. other downtown routes Equity issue: Same fare as rest of the system but generally shorter trips, arguments for inequity. Circulators beg the question of paying additional fare when we reach the end of the line (terminal) and want to continue trip in the same direction.
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81 Transfer issue: Circulators beg the question of paying additional fare when we reach the end of the line (terminal) and want to continue trip in the same direction. Limited evening service No weekend service None Not enough ridership and revenues Low utilization Frequent utilization without transfer Costly Demand is highly variable, depending on the season Lack of dedicated parking for the circulator High floor, with lifts instead of ramps Trolley-style buses expensive to maintain (wood) Low ridership does not justify cost of operation. None Infrequent service Unimpressive ridership Very costly to operate (over $1 million annually) Start-up costs high (vehicle purchase) High maintenance costs due to frequent stops Higher spare ratio to maintain reliability Not as direct Fast implementation meant no branding--now being resolved Limited capacity due to the smaller vehicle size (30') of downtown circulator. Insufficient funding Infrequent service Private trolley company operates and serves areas other than those we would like to serve Funding--it operates with a hefty subsidy from the state Downtown congestion makes it difficult to maintain headways Only a seasonal service Due to budget constraints and downtown street pattern, circulator is a one-way loop--a major drawback. Additional transfer for many passengers to reach downtown destinations Difficult to schedule (maintain spacing, provide driver breaks, meet trains within customer expectations) Staging can be a problem when buses "bunch up" due to the short distance (3 miles round trip) and the number of vehicles in service. Victim of its own success--other parts of downtown want a "free shuttle" but are unwilling to pay for it. Low ridership and productivity in terms of passengers per revenue hour High cost of the type of frequency needed to operate a successful circulator (10 minutes)
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82 Use at times by transients Maintenance issues (different fuel, electronic message boards, and kiosks) Popularity led to reductions on other routes first and loss of revenue/ridership, while circulator essentially replaced walking trips Cost Congestion and inability to operate reliably Striking the balance between serving numerous destinations and maintaining a high level of service (speed and frequency) Homeless people abusing the free service Long dwell times for outbound buses outside the RFA associated with alighting passengers paying fares or showing passes Loss of fare revenue in excess of city's contribution for RFA Incidence of riding in downtown area by homeless people and transients Encouragement of a lax attitude about paying fares Light rail does not honor RFA Capacity (vehicles used for the Downtown Loop are vans) Hours of operation: only 6:30 a.m.5:30 p.m. Frequency (only every 30 minutes) Ridership very poor when no convention/conferences Not designed to serve regular transit customer, oriented toward hotel guests, convention goers, and lunch crowd None No operating assistance from Business Improvement District, though lots of suggestions/demands for more service(s). A service increase on the Free Mall Ride comes at the expense of service on revenue routes. Easy travel to restaurant district hurts restaurants in heart of downtown Express routes lost ridership when diverted to circulator terminals Complaints from other communities that they should have free shuttles, too Rising operating costs that makes it more expensive to operate service Maintaining reliability on congested downtown streets Slow Began free, but now charges fare due to budget constraints Trying to make the service visible and known throughout the downtown community Keeping it as simple as possible to use Providing a travel time benefit Maintaining routing and stop locations 12. Has the changing role of downtown (a shift from central business district to principal activity center with a mix of retail, jobs, and housing) influenced the design and operation of your agency's downtown circulator? If so, please explain. Responses summarized in Table 40 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here.
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83 Housing in the downtown increases utilization of the downtown circulator. No. We've always had an active downtown. Not significantly. Downtown has experienced a growth in residential population and mix of retail activities that have contributed positively to ridership growth. Definitely--this is not a weekday lunch shuttle only--it is marketed toward and serves a wide range of travel markets. We operate a lot of late night service (until midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. or 3:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights) at the same 10-minute headway to make the service attractive to residents, visitors, tourists, and workers, not just commuters or a lunch crowd. No No effect Our circulator began service with the opening of our new transit mall. The plan was heavily influenced by the business community as we structured the design and service on the transit mall. Downtown circulator is a streetcar system. Track layout limits operational changes. Have shifted route on many occasions to increase ridership No, our downtown hasn't shifted significantly since the implementation of the service. Yes, we have stops at the main senior living complexes and historic sites. Yes. In the 1980s/early 1990s, a CBD business association sponsored (i.e., paid for) a true downtown circulator with dedicated vehicles (faux trolleys) and a discreet schedule. As retail disappeared from downtown, so did sponsors and funding for the service gradually diminish until the service was discontinued ~1995. About that time the transit agency implemented a timed transfer, pulse system for all routes and the circulator was created with regular transit coaches. Yes. The creation of a regional transit center just outside of the downtown core required us to create at least one route that would continually connect downtown to the center. Three hospitals within the range of the circulator needed to be included as well as a couple of low income housing facilities needing access to the transit center and the downtown core. Yes, we actually now operate a west and east route that serve not only the downtown, but also newer destinations scattered throughout the city (e.g., hospital, school, newer shopping areas, and industrial park). No No Design was solely influenced by destinations of interest (both business and commercial) in downtown area and connectivity to other fixed routes. Not really. The service is in its 4th year and was designed to connect the State Capitol Campus, downtown, and the Farmers' Market area (includes restaurants, offices, and retail as well as Farmers' Market). Not really. Our circulator connects the historic downtown to the two close-in regional malls and the major employers and medical facilities. Use has grown as vibrancy of city has increased. No Yes. Environment is dynamic--routes need to be continually evaluated and adjusted as needed. No No. However, the city plans on a downtown bus circulator using ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] and 1/2 penny surtax funds. No. We find that the business class is the primary user of the system, and the tourist sector is the next primary user. Housing has not resulted in significant ridership since the downtown residents work during the day. The service is not practical on game nights because of gridlocked traffic; it is often faster to walk to the venue than ride. Also, you can't teach the infrequent visitor to downtown how to use the system.
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84 Yes, it has been important to try and link all the major trip generators. No The routings have been extended to connect with other major destinations such as a major university outside of the downtown area. To date, the city is undertaking a study to determine an optimal location for a downtown multimodal center. It is the intent to combine this facility with some retail etc.; so, depending on the type of development and the location, the downtown trolley route would need to be revisited. Not really, but over the years we have adjusted stops to incorporate additional destinations; e.g., a park that was recently renovated as an active children's attraction, opening of a new wing of our art museum, etc. No. We have received some requests from an older neighborhood bordering downtown to add circulator service on weekends to replace the loop removed from the other bus routes. Budget constraints and low evening weekday ridership are the main reasons for not adding that service to date. The route has remained the same since its inception in 1992 serving what was once the CBD but has also become a principal activity center and, as such, the hours of the circulator were extended until 11:15 p.m. Yes, we have redesigned the route to accommodate new downtown condos. As more residents have moved into the downtown core, our agency is looking at expanding the system to connect more nearby residential neighborhoods reducing the need for additional parking. No Absolutely. While the traditional CBD continues to thrive, new major activity centers less than a mile from downtown have emerged. The downtown circulator is designed to connect these areas. No No. The downtown circulator was designed to strengthen the downtown area by providing free and easy circulation. There have been minor adjustments to the Ride Free Area over the years, mainly due to the opening of the downtown Transit Tunnel in 1990. Not yet, but it will when the future modern streetcar line opens. The modern streetcar will serve as a downtown circulator with extended hours of operation and improved frequency. No The basic design and operation has not significantly changed since approximately 1991. Yes. Introduction of peak headways during noon hour (same level as classic a.m. and p.m. peaks) was needed to handle loads. This does not fit with earlier statements that the downtown circulator would save operating costs by diverting suburban buses into the peripheral stations. Similarly, night and weekend service had to be expanded for loads. Yes, it has to a certain extent, but a shrinking budget did not always allow us to respond to the changing nature of downtown as quickly as we would like. However, in the past few years, we have added resources to service entertainment venues and employment centers. We have also extended the hours of operation on selected routes. No Yes, the transit agency made an effort to include emerging residential areas in recent route changes. The transit agency is nearing the completion of a streetcar study that would provide additional downtown circulation and improve economic development to connect live, work, retail in the area. 13. If you could change one aspect in the process of designing and implementing this program, what would you change? Responses summarized in Table 41 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here.
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85 None Require dedicated right-of-way wherever possible Seek political support to insure that city engineers do not hamper the systems' operational effectiveness. More specific criteria on performance levels from the very beginning--our sometimes ad-hoc decision making has led to difficulty as the system has matured. More specific criteria on governance from the very beginning--our lack of governance structure and sometimes ad-hoc decision making has led to difficulty as the system has matured. Develop a fare free zone in the area of the downtown circulator so that there is no competition between regular routes and winter shuttle routes. Expanded coverage area Agree on clear performance targets for the circulator with stakeholders Get agreement that modifications might be needed based on ridership, budget, and traffic conditions. Greater emphasis on an operating plan that would allow an easier transition to extend travel markets beyond the central business districts. Change to political process I would remove it altogether. Most of the links provided by the service are duplications of other regular services. The one segment that is not covered by a conventional route soon will be, pending budget approval. We have just (January 2010) reduced the fare from $1.50 to 25 cents. Seniors 65 and older ride for free and the majority using this service is seniors. However, we want to try and get business workers to use it to get to a restaurant or to get to the other end of town quickly. We believe just having to put a quarter in the fare box will help. We saw a slight increase in passengers in January. Stay tuned! The transit agency is about to start construction on an off-street transit center in the CBD. When finished, bus routes will be assigned to dedicated platforms. I'm hoping that all buses looping through downtown will be able to make a stop at a common platform in the center before proceeding on. This will reduce customer confusion. Give the circulator stops in downtown a unique space--similar to streetcar stations--to set them apart from other routes that pass through downtown. Type and number of vehicles and drivers available for the service, which would in turn allow for expanded evening and weekend service. Eliminate one-way streets Should be supported by businesses and employment centers to make the service free of charge Not sure I think we did this right given the limitations of the service area. The service began with a dedicated parking area but the site has now been developed into state offices. The service is free, runs frequently, has simple routes, and uses a comfortable and reliable vehicle. Improve vehicles; quieter, more comfortable. To improve ability to forecast use of the circulator. Our survey indicated high interest and likelihood of use, but this was not what happened. Level of priority given to transit from a funding and parking pricing standpoint. I'd get an iron-clad agreement for long-term operating support from the business community. It might be to split the service; however, while some of the stakeholders would like more direct service from one point to the other, other stakeholders would then lose their connections. A little more time to develop the branding so that everything was in place at the beginning of the service.
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101 $0.25 Free Free Free $1.25 Free Free Free Free $0.25 Free $0.25 $0.50 $1.10 40. What fare media are accepted on the downtown circulator (check all that apply)? Cash 94.4% 17 Transit agency monthly passes 77.8% 14 Transit agency day passes 66.7% 12 Transit agency other passes 66.7% 12 Transit agency transfers 44.4% 8 Transfers within the circulator system 33.3% 6 Downtown circulator passes 22.2% 4 Tokens 22.2% 4 Other 27.8% 5 Other includes: (1) we also offer an all-day circulator pass and an all-day family circulator pass. (2) Smart card electronic fare media/debit. (3) Local transit tickets and the county-wide transit pass. (4) Regional fare card with built-in electronic transfer or electronic monthly pass. (5) Sometimes a pre-paid fare agreement will be worked out for a particular convention and their convention ID will serve as a transit pass. 41. Has introduction or revision of the downtown circulator allowed the transit agency to make changes to other routes? Yes 32.5% 13 No 67.5% 27 42. Please describe the changes to other routes. Other routes are timed to tie into the downtown circulator. The transit agency opened two bus transfer facilities on either end of the initial main street line in 1993. This resulted in the re-routing of a majority of bus routes to each center away from the heart of the CBD. Other minor route modifications have been made over the years as two additional lines were added.
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102 We took over one transit authority route completely and eliminated one shorter, low-performing authority route and replaced it with a circulator. Restructured duplicated routes to encourage passengers to use these shuttles. We have a radial transit system so every route comes in and out of our downtown transit system. If we change the downtown service, then that impacts the other routes due to transfer issues. Circulator has streamlined other through routes by providing access to the "off route deviation" destination of the now streamlined route(s). Shortened two routes and facilitated transfers to trolleys All of the other routes, except two, intersect the downtown circulator. The impacted fixed route now ends in the Downtown Transit Mall. The remaining service routing is picked up by connecting with the downtown circulator alignment as an extension. Other fixed routes are able to use a portion of the fixed guideway to enter and exit our downtown station. Upon opening of the Mall Shuttle in 198283, suburban Express and Regional routes were cut back to feed into stations at each end of the Mall. Subsequently, Local and Limited urban routes have been modified in some cases to cross the Mall, rather than running the length of downtown. This provides better access for an adjacent urban college campus that is not served by the Mall Shuttle. Routes were modified, new routes were introduced, and weekend service was introduced on two new routes. 43. How has the downtown circulator been integrated with the transit system route pattern (check all that apply)? Connections at major transfer points 80.5% 33 Added stops 26.8% 11 No integration--the circulator is separate from the existing system 19.5% 8 No duplication of existing route segments 17.1% 7 Fewer stops 2.4% 1 Other 7.3% 3 Other includes: (1) there are several stops where one can transfer to a bus in the transit system. Also, the downtown circulator makes stops at downtown's two multi-modal transit stations with access to regional rail, subway, and trolley lines. (2) The circulator runs on the same tracks as our light rail lines in downtown, serving all stops along the line in downtown. (3) There is one stop on the circulator that connects with the rest of the system. 44. Have there been issues regarding complementary ADA service associated with the downtown circulator? Yes 12.2% 5 No--no change to service area/hours of operation 67.5% 27 Unsure 4.9% 2 45. Please describe the issues related to complementary ADA service associated with the downtown circulator. Most issues have been maintenance-related due to mechanical failures. It has been problematic to incorporate ADA requirements with the mixed fleet of vintage rail trolleys and keep the various style mechanical lifts operating as expected.
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103 We have to provide fare free complementary ADA service for trips during the circulator operating hours where both the origin and destination of the ADA trip falls within 3/4 mile of the circulator alignment. It's not a big deal, however, because I don't think we have actually received any requests. FTA Triennial mandated free complementary ADA paratransit service. It is unclear legally whether a fare-free circulator service is required to provide complementary ADA service. A lower fare for ADA service is charged in the 3/4 mile zone around the trolley 46. Please characterize the following elements as major constraints, minor constraints, or not a constraint in the start-up and ongoing operation of the downtown circulator. Major constraint Minor constraint Not a constraint Funding in general 56% 18% 26% Cooperation with new partners 8% 41% 51% Use of federal funds 11% 32% 58% Downtownneighborhood tension 0% 18% 82% Difficulty in defining the target market 8% 35% 58% Inability to identify a long-range funding source 40% 25% 35% Maintaining interest among stakeholders 10% 38% 53% Parking policies in downtown 15% 35% 50% Difficulty in defining the route 18% 30% 53% Disagreements on fares/fare instruments 5% 23% 73% Other 33% 0% 67% Other includes: (1) the city has declined to increase its contribution to offset estimated fare revenue loss to the transit agency, but would like the Ride Free Area in downtown to continue. (2) Demand for specially designed buses at considerable cost and added maintenance expense. 47. Please describe the nature of the major constraint affecting the downtown circulator below. Responses summarized in Table 33 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here This service was set up initially as a circulator paid for by downtown businesses. However, they did not want the circulator to run outside downtown so they took away half of the route. You need both a point of origin and a destination. With the vehicle running only in downtown, there was only a destination and most people continued to drive and park, then walk. Operating funding is an ongoing major constraint. The city is the primary funding source for all operating funds. Although costs continue to increase, the funding level from the city has remained constant, but may be reduced in the future resulting in service cuts and less ridership. Ongoing funding and desire for more routes. Lack of capital funds for expansion. Covering the operating cost of the free fare zone. Potential loss in revenue if free fare zone is expanded. Who is the target market? Why are we using this route for this low ridership route? Very expensive. Even with the funding we receive from local businesses through the Downtown Business Commission, the service does not meet cost recovery standards.
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104 Like other properties, our operating funding has declined in the past several years due to limits on state funding. The agency raised fares and reduced service in 2009 for the first time in 14 years and will reduce service further in 2010. The primary culprits have been a reduction is state operating aid and a simultaneous reduction in Mortgage Recordings Tax receipts; our only source of dedicated funding. To be successful the routes need to operate much more frequently. Our system is at capacity. We need more buses and funds to operate to expand this service or we take it away from other areas. Currently these routes are not particularly high producers, so there is no logic in taking from others to increase these. Transit funding in general is constrained, and since the city also operates an express commuter service that is more costly, available funds long term are constrained. Used CMAQ funds to start the service and then incorporated into regular budget. Federal operating dollars are limited. If funding is tight and reductions are needed, this is likely the first reduction. The entire route is served by other routes--not as conveniently, but no one completely loses service if this route is eliminated. Free and available parking limits market for trolley. Two hour limit for street parking encourages employees to drive for lunch and errand trips. Identifying the market was difficult because there were elements that could be useful for all shoppers, lunchtime, evening events, or commuters. However, there was limited funding, so it was impossible to serve all those markets effectively; settled on lunchtime trips as primary market. The city does not receive any regional money from the regional transit agency and must use local funds for the services. There are high expectations from our stakeholders for services, and these cannot be met with our current funding levels. It is difficult to get all the stakeholders to agree on the purpose of the service. Conflict of interest on valet parking for restaurants vs. bus stop parking zone. Given the loss of property values over the last few years, the transit agency has lost a significant amount of ad valorem funding, which means that any subsidies for contractual services become more costly when in this case the service provided by the contractor only cost 25 cents per trip. The transit agency is working on a long-term sustainable funding source such as a Measure, but we are several years away and this can always impact our ability to provide downtown circulator service. How to sustain funding, especially when our major champion will be leaving office at the end of this year. Zero local (i.e., city and county) funding available. Trolley funding must be from agency general fund and is at the expense of other, more productive services. Routing tends to stretch in order to cover more destinations. Stretching the route creates a longer ride, which discourages ridership and also creates the need for additional vehicles in order to maintain frequency. More vehicles = more cost. Funding for such projects is always a major constraint or factor. Also, taking right-of-way from general use lanes can be a difficult sell. Use of a contra-flow lane required additional treatment and protection. Keeping general use vehicles out of the fixed guideway route can be problematic for people unfamiliar with downtown roadways. On-going funding for a free fare service The major constraint was identifying a vehicle sufficiently unique and appealing (not a trolley) to choice riders. Once we identified the desired vehicle, taking delivery from the vendor was a huge ordeal. As a small agency, we don't have much leverage/buying power in this regard. Too many conflicting interests within the TMAs The estimated annual fare revenue net loss within the Ride Free Area exceeds the annual city financial contribution by a range of $0.6 million to $1.0 million. The transit agency currently is facing a multiple-year fiscal crisis due to a decline in transit sales tax revenues. Funding Transit agency would need further assistance from the city to expand circulator service. Increasing operational cost. Not all of the routes are covered equally by outside funding source.
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105 The trolley routes are a "nice to have." The resources devoted to the trolley routes may be more effectively spent on other routes. I identified downtown parking policy because it is very low and encourages more auto travel. The city owns approximately 60% of the downtown structured, surface, and on-street parking and charges below-market rates. This promotes more auto travel within downtown. 48. Who markets the downtown circulator service, and who has overall responsibility for marketing? Overall Responsibility Participates in Marketing Transit agency 73% 18% City 19% 33% TMA 3% 18% Downtown businesses 3% 44% Downtown employers 0% 26% Agencies promoting tourism 3% 62% Convention center 0% 41% Hotels 0% 51% Other 0% 10% Other includes: (1) Many of the destinations along the route promote it in their own marketing materials. Also, the contractor promotes the service. (2) County. (3) Ski resort. (4) Navy base and city parks department. 49. What type of marketing activities are undertaken for the downtown circulator? Responses summarized in Table 35 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here. Newspaper ads, Internet, and presentations Nothing active at this point. The circulator was a failure. Overall marketing is very limited; however, there are various special event promotions, system anniversaries, etc. Website, cross-promotion with area BIDs/business improvement districts where the buses have ads featuring local businesses, brochures, partnerships with hotels, and conventions Brochure, posters, meeting with hotel lobby desk attendants, website We have been subtle in our marketing strategy with the circulator. We have characterized it as a part of our rail service, branding it in the same family. Flyers, free ride promotion. No marketing in the last three years. Flyers, print media advertising, on-board advertising, bus branding, and bus stops are separately branded. We include it in our overall marketing approach. However, with the new 25 cent fare we are planning additional marketing promotions this Spring. We will be adding large decals on the bus that say 25 cent fare...hop on. Plus, getting the local historic attractions more involved in the promotion of it. None beyond our normal marketing efforts; i.e., web page, pocket schedules, etc. Our marketing budget is fluctuating too. Season promotions, unique flyers for businesses and employers, ads on buses, consumer timetables, transit fares for CTR employers None specific to fare-free zone
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106 Wide-range including state agency websites, signage, advertisements, and direct mail. Free fare promotions, schedule distribution, flyers, inclusion in out of area marketing, free ride coupons to tourists, business sponsorships Webpage, signage at stops, giveaway promotion Special stop flag treatments, wayfinding maps, and service flyers The buses themselves are the best marketing. Other than that it is typical signage, timetables, information to downtown entities. The city's DOT staff works with the TMA to promote services through a special outreach effort that rotated between members, whereby one member could have employees ride for free for a one-month period. We also participate in rideshare fares. We have participated in a multi-district Art nights where attendees visiting various museums can ride for free. Similar with a "Colorado Street Bridge" party, where attendees can ride the buses free from various parking lots along the route or other transit. Distribution of schedules/brochures to downtown hotels and businesses. Information on the city website and local tourism sites. Information at the train station. Very low budget promotion to date. Transit guide book, downtown shuttle service guide, website, special event promotion package. Ongoing marketing of the daily service is undertaken by the contractor including the marketing of downtown special events and promotions of the service. Widely distributed printed brochure ads in WHERE magazine; video in hotel rooms; video on the circulator showcasing the destinations; website promotion; special events throughout the season; issuance of occasional press releases; Park `n Ride discount at various parking facilities TMA flyers Advertising on buses, special events celebrating milestones of the circulator, Downtown Development Board maps and promotional materials. Conventions, university sporting events, local media We set aside 5% of operating budget for marketing and do everything from events and promotions (coupons, admission discounts, etc.) to guerilla marketing (flashmobs, etc.) to web/e-mail ads to radio. Special timetables handed out at multiple/extra locations. Special vehicle branding. Maps and schedules included in the regional "Transit Book." Brochures distributed by major employers, convention center, hotels, retailers, restaurants. The Ride Free Area (RFA) in downtown is identified in transit route timetables and other information materials produced by the transit agency. Also, the RFA is identified in private materials produced for tourists. Website, brochures Circulator brochures are provided to the hotels, convention center, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and to convention planners for distribution to their customers/clients. The transit agency places ads in downtown- oriented publications that are geared to visitors and convention attendees. Passenger information cards with detachable, perforated pocket-sized schedules are distributed at 36 locations along the route, including lodging establishments and the Visitors' Center. Transit agency staff attends hotel staff meetings to conduct individualized marketing regarding the DowntownWaterfront Shuttle. The shuttle route is featured in all "Car Free" collateral. Flyers are available on all Amtrak trains. The "Car Free" brochure for the transit agency's Line 22 service to "City Highlights" features the DowntownWaterfront Shuttle as a connection from the beach to Line 22. The DowntownWaterfront Shuttle route is featured on the map in the explore section of Seasons magazine. Partnership website links are provided by "Car Free," Amtrak, the Conference and Visitors Bureau and Film Commission, and the Downtown Organization. The DowntownWaterfront Shuttle route is featured in the "Cultural Arts" brochure produced by the Downtown Organization. The transit agency is an active member of the Conference and Visitors Bureau and Film Commission, the Downtown Organization, and the Chamber of Commerce, and works with these organizations to publicize the shuttle.
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107 Transit website and TMA website; brochures produced by both. Downtown directory signage produced by TMA. Transit system includes Mall Shuttle in trip planning software on line and through Telephone Information Center. Special events produced by TMA, which is the downtown business promotion agency, and also some special events for anniversaries, new vehicles, etc., by transit system. Brochures, rider alerts, promotional materials, website, etc. Schedules, maps, on-street displays, unique shelters Very little; the transit agency distributes downtown circulator brochures to the hotels and some businesses downtown. The Downtown Alliance employs workers (Amigos) in the PID area that provide information on the circulator to visitors that ask. The vehicles and stops (with downtown maps) provide the most visibility. RIDERSHIP AND PRODUCTIVITY 50. What is the average daily ridership on the downtown circulator (including all routes, if more than one route is operated)? Responses summarized in Table 36 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here. Weekday Saturday Sunday 442 3,112 4,447 1,460 13,541 8,966 6,463 900 1,900 1,600 7,140 881 384 550 62 61 37 9 524 225 151 200 450 250 575 600 35 500 500 300 350 6,000 5,000 7,500 7,500 203 434 231 1,381 1,921 1,656 190 4,376 1,357 1,115 800 600 600 1,200 500
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108 Weekday Saturday Sunday 2,250 150 100 1,300 2,000 1,900 47,519 25,492 17,345 24,800 8,100 2,700 1,000 4,000 5,200 3,250 Weekday Saturday Sunday 4,287 3,551 2,917 Average all 850 1,119 1,530 Median all 35 37 9 Minimum all 47,519 25,492 17,345 Maximum all But See Next Page--Larger Circulators Are More Likely to Operate on Weekends! 4,680 3,147 1,839 Average employee-focused 688 1,119 1,115 Median employee-focused 190 225 151 Minimum employee-focused 24,800 8,966 6,463 Maximum employee-focused 2,033 1,937 1,741 Average tourist/visitor-focused 1,300 1,911 1,656 Median tourist/visitor-focused 150 100 300 Minimum tourist/visitor-focused 6,000 5,200 3,250 Maximum tourist/visitor-focused 5,322 5,343 5,862 Average multiple/other-focused 446 434 231 Median multiple/other-focused 35 37 9 Minimum multiple/other-focused 47,519 25,492 17,345 Maximum multiple/other-focused Weekday Saturday Sunday 1,108 -- -- Average weekday only 396 -- -- Median weekday only 35 -- -- Minimum weekday only 6,000 -- -- Maximum weekday only 594 363 -- Average weekday and Saturday only 513 375 -- Median weekday and Saturday only all 150 100 -- Minimum weekday and Saturday only
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109 1,200 600 -- Maximum weekday and Saturday only 7,197 4,348 2,917 Average seven days a week 2,247 1,911 1,530 Median seven days a week 61 37 9 Minimum seven days a week 47,519 25,492 17,345 Maximum seven days a week 51. What is the average number of riders per revenue hour on the downtown circulator (including all routes, if more than one route is operated)? Responses summarized in Table 36 of report. Verbatim responses are provided here. Weekday Saturday Sunday 18 26 23 35 20 15 14 19.2 16.1 118 9.8 10 18 8 8.9 8.4 5.4 Weekday Saturday Sunday 10 15 15 19 19 6 45 45 37 30 65 36 42 42 17 17 19 25 39 29 10 50 33 35 35 30 30 25 185 9.4 12.5 34.2 38.5 38.3 261
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110 40 58 45 2.5 21 28 23 Weekday Saturday Sunday 41 28 26 Average all 23 26 26 Median all 3 8 5 Minimum all 261 58 45 Maximum all But See Below--Larger Circulators Are More Likely to Operate on Weekends! Weekday Saturday Sunday 34 28 26 Average employee-focused 30 26 27 Median employee-focused 9 8 5 Minimum employee-focused 118 58 45 Maximum employee-focused 31 30 29 Average tourist/visitor-focused 25 33 29 Median tourist/visitor-focused 9 13 16 Minimum tourist/visitor-focused 65 45 38 Maximum tourist/visitor-focused 59 17 15 Average multiple/other-focused 15 17 14 Median multiple/other-focused 3 15 8 Minimum multiple/other-focused 261 18 19 Maximum multiple/other-focused Weekday Saturday Sunday 48 -- -- Average weekday only 10 -- -- Median weekday only 3 -- -- Minimum weekday only 185 -- -- Maximum weekday only 17 16 -- Average weekday and Saturday only 17 15 -- Median weekday and Saturday only all 9 13 -- Minimum weekday and Saturday only 25 19 -- Maximum weekday and Saturday only
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111 Weekday Saturday Sunday 43 30 26 Average seven days a week 34 29 26 Median seven days a week 9 8 5 Minimum seven days a week 261 58 45 Maximum seven days a week 52. Would you be willing to participate further as a case study, involving a telephone interview going into further detail on your agency's experience with downtown circulators, if selected by the TCRP panel for this project? Yes 78.9% 30 No 21.1% 7 53. Is there another transit system that you suggest we contact for this synthesis project? If you know of a contact at that system, please list the name also. Various responses.