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29 CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDIES Seven transit operators were selected to examine current in the age of the systems. The comparative characteristics of practices of North American off-board PoP fare collection the seven operators are provided in Table 37. in more detail: Buffalo, New York--Niagara Frontier Transportation BUFFALO, NEW YORK--NIAGARA FRONTIER Authority; TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (NFTA) Dallas, Texas--Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Public transportation has existed in Buffalo for more than 170 years. In 1967, NFTA was created by the New York State Los Angeles, California--Los Angeles County Metro- Legislature. Its LRRT (light rail rapid transit, which is the politan Transportation Authority; formal term applied in Buffalo to its line) service followed San Diego as one of the early "new starts" in the United MinneapolisSt. Paul, Minnesota--Metro Transit; States beginning Metro Rail revenue service in May 1985. New York City, New York--New York City Transit; NFTA Metro Rail is unique compared with the other new starts in that the portion of the line in downtown Buffalo is Phoenix, Arizona--Valley Metro Rail, Inc.; and at-grade in a pedestriantransit mall and the outlying por- tion is underground. NFTA Metro Rail is a 6.2-mi (10-km) San Francisco, California--San Francisco Municipal line consisting of 15 stations connecting downtown Buffalo Transportation Agency. to northern portions of Buffalo (see Figure 7). These operators were selected to represent a cross-section Although Metro Rail ridership has generally declined over of regions having a diverse range of conditions, with PoP the past 20 years, there has been a modest upswing in usage fare collection experiences to include bus and rail modes, since 2005. The average weekday ridership in 2010 was 21,585. differing geographical areas of North America, and a range Compared with other U.S. LRT lines, the ridership is low; how- TABLE 37 CASE STUDY OPERATOR SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS Annual Ridership Location Operator PoP Initiated Modes Route Length (mi/km) Stations (n) (1,000s) Buffalo, New York Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority 1984 LRT 6.2/9.9 15 6,216 LRT 72/115 55 17,799 Dallas, Texas Dallas Area Rapid Transit 1996 CR 34/54 10 2,469 BRT 14/22.5 13 7,043 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Los Angeles, California 1990 LRT 61.7/98.7 57 46,650 Transportation Authority HRT 17.4/27.8 16 47,900 MinneapolisSt. Paul, 2004 LRT 12.3/19.7 19 10,322 Metro Transit Minnesota 2009 CR 40/64 6 710 New York City, New York MTANew York City Transit 2008 BRT 17/27.2 69 21,200 Phoenix, Arizona METRO Light Rail 2008 LRT 20/32 28 12,600 Bus n/a n/a 167,333 San Francisco Municipal San Francisco, California 1993 LRT 35.5/57 33 42,447 Transportation Agency Streetcar 6/9.6 8 7,002
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30 A number of factors were considered including, primarily, compatibility with the design of the system's surface section (a transitpedestrian mall) with street-level boarding, capital and operating costs, and the implementation of similar fare collection systems on other new light rail projects. In 1982, the NFTA Board of Commissioners approved the staff recommendation for an off-board barrier-free PoP fare collection system. Prior to construction of Buffalo's LRRT, eastwest cross- town bus routes that crossed Main Street diverted via Main Street into the downtown area to provide direct service. With the new frequent, high-capacity service on the LRRT, it was decided to end downtown service on the crosstown routes and force transfers onto the LRRT to complete these trips into downtown. To avoid forcing these passengers to pay extra for this transfer, NFTA adopted a concept of free trans- fers on and off rail to/from bus. In September 2010, NFTA restructured its routes and fare schedule, resulting in "one zone, one fare, one system." The new plan eliminated zones and transfers, reduced the need for 12 types of passes, and instituted a $4 one-day pass; monthly systemwide passes were reduced from $77 to $64. Day and monthly passes can be used on both rail and bus. Fare Media Used and Availability Metro Rail travels on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, and all passengers who use only this portion travel free. Travel to and from the subway portion (and within) relies on PoP fare collection. Metro Rail tickets and passes are available at all rail stations. Transfers have been eliminated systemwide, but free bus-to-rail PoP tickets (similar to transfers) are available from bus operators and are valid for continuing a bus trip on Metro Rail or Route #8 Main buses to maintain these free transfers. Examination of fare media proportional usage on Metro Rail indicates that 31% of the riders primarily rely on monthly passes (an example is shown in Figure 8). At 29%, single- ride fares make up the second largest category of fare media used. These one-way tickets are good for one ride in one direction within 1 h of purchase and on connecting buses. Other passes that can be used include day passes, round-trip tickets, and student passes. NFTA employees, police, fire, FIGURE 7 NFTA Metro Rail route map. and mail carriers in uniform ride free. ever, this figure masks the line's service productivity as mea- sured in passengers per line-mile, which is relatively high and second to Houston among the new starts post-1980 (13). Basis for Decision to Use Proof-of-Payment Fare Collection As part of the design of Buffalo's LRRT system, a wide array of fare collection systems and technologies was evaluated. FIGURE 8 NFTA Metro monthly pass.
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31 NFTA Metro's College/University Unlimited Access NFTA Fare Collection Study Pass program allows students of participating colleges and universities unlimited access to the Metro Bus and Rail sys- The Main Street transitpedestrian mall is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) tem. These passes have a magnetic stripe that is swiped on long and its function is under review. An evaluation is being bus fare boxes and is a flash pass on Metro Rail. conducted about opening portions of the street to traffic to bring back more activity to the street. From the begin- The Buffalo Board of Education provides transportation ning in 1985, this downtown portion of the LRRT system for high schools and some charter schools via NFTA Metro has been a free-fare zone. As a transitpedestrian mall, as well. These student IDs are valid only on trips to/from the Metro Rail stations are part of the sidewalk system. home and school using the most direct routing. Each school Thus, any redesign of the street cross-section necessitates issues cards with school name, student photo, and home reviewing the entire station design, its integration with the address. sidewalk, and placement of the associated fare collection system. In addition, the rail car door entrances are above The TVMs that were part of the initial 1985 operation street level, so a boarding platform must be maintained at were very simple compared with today's TVMs. They every station. accepted coins and tokens only. There were three types of machines during those initial years: coins only, tokens only, As part of the redesign evaluation, a parallel consultant and dollar bill change makers. study is under way that will evaluate introduction of smart card technology and involves the following tasks: Some original TVMs are still in use, but the newer TVMs also accept $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. Two or more TVMs · Evaluating the feasibility of a system whereby rail pas- are required at each station in case one should malfunction; sengers will have to pass through turnstiles on entering examples are shown in Figure 9. There are 55 TVMs for the and exiting the rail system, and entire system. In addition, monthly passes can be purchased · Reviewing technology options to "tighten" control in at third-party outlets throughout the region. lieu of eliminating the PoP fare collection system. FIGURE 9 NFTA patrons purchasing fares from TVMs.
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32 Public Information Regarding Proof-of-Payment System to purchase one before you board the train. A token is not accepted as `proof-of-payment.'" Information on fare collection and need for PoP is included "At some time during your journey, you may be in the agency website, on rail timetables, and in each light asked to show your proof of payment to a Metro rail vehicle. Signage in all underground stations indicates Ticket Inspector. If you do not have it, you'll be "Must Have Valid Proof of Payment Beyond This Point." issued a summons, similar to that given for a park- ing violation. To avoid unnecessary expense and On the Metro Rail timetable there is substantial emphasis embarrassment, remember to purchase a ticket, or on PoP information in two places: have your transfer or pass handy before you ride." · Under a box described as "Transfers-Tokens-Fareboxes" Fare Enforcement Function is the following statement: "Free bus-to-rail proof-of- payment tickets are available from bus operators and NFTA created the Transit Authority Police Department are valid for continuing your trip on Metro Rail or #8 (TAPD) in 1984. The TAPD is responsible for law enforce- Main Street buses only." ment on the NFTA Metro system, as well as the NFTA Boat · Under another box entitled "FARE COLLECTION" Harbor, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and there is a list of six advisories, three of which directly Niagara Falls International Airport. The department cur- alert passengers to proof-of-payment: rently has an authorized strength of 86 sworn officers with "Metro Rail features self-service fare collection. To three civilian personnel. Transit police officers have the speed you on your way, there are no turnstiles or authority to exercise police powers and duties, as provided ticket takers, but you must carry proof that you paid for law enforcement, in traffic and criminal matters within your fare. This is called `proof of payment.'" the NFTA's jurisdiction. Police substations are located at all "`Proof of payment' can be a bus-to-rail proof-of- underground Metro Rail stations. payment ticket, Metro day pass, monthly Metro pass or your rail ticket. Tickets may be purchased NFTA police officers in train patrol units inspect the from vending machines at any station, but be sure Metro Rail stations and platforms, enforce rules and regula- FIGURE 10 NFTA Metro fare inspectors checking customers for PoP.