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17 Table 7 How Do You Determine If the Amount Spent on Ridesharing Is Worthwhile? Response Count Percent Through the number of people subscribed to/signed up for the ridesharing 17 63 program Through the number of successfully matched rides 13 48 Through achievement of our goal to increase mobility in our service area 12 44 Through customer satisfaction surveys or other customer feedback 11 41 Through environmental measurements, such as decreased carbon emissions 10 37 By closing a service gap 10 37 By avoiding the need to add another bus or train 2 7 Through adherence to regulations 1 4 Through cost savings to the agency 0 0 Other 9 33 Total Responses 27 100 Answers exceed 100% because respondents could choose multiple answers. on ridesharing is worthwhile (see Table 7). Agencies use a range that they compare the two transportation modes by looking of factors from customer satisfaction surveys (11 responses) at operating and capital costs. to environmental measures (10), to accomplish this. Accord- ing to survey results, the most common way (17) is to look This profile of DART illustrates how one agency uses at the number of people who have subscribed to the rideshar- vanpooling as a conscious strategy in its cost-effectiveness ing program. One agency, for example, examines whether it is calculation. "maintaining and increasing the number of vans operating with a sustainable number of riders (70% full approximately)." Profile: Des Moines Area Regional Transit Of those who answered "Other," one said that the agency Agency (DART) Captures Vanpool Miles to Maximize Revenue is discontinuing the program after determining it is not worth- while and another said evaluation was discontinued because DART's vanpool program in Des Moines, Iowa, is valued funding for the annual marketing survey was removed. A third not only for its contribution to mobility but also for its ability agency implied that no evaluation was done because the agency to maximize revenues for the transit agency. DART gener- does not spend any money on ridesharing. ates nearly $3 million in annual FTA Section 5307 formula funds by reporting the mileage of its 103 vanpools. (See Cost-Benefit Comparison of Ridesharing inset for explanation of Section 5307.) It uses $400,000 to and Transit Services $600,000 of that amount to replace aging vans each year. The rest is converted from capital to operating funds to cover As mentioned earlier, many transit agencies see ridesharing needs such as maintenance of its 155-vehicle bus fleet. as a supplement to, but not a substitute for, traditional transit service. In other words, ridesharing is considered part of an The vanpool program, which started in 1996, primarily agency's range of mobility services. The majority of tran- serves commuters from outside DART's service area of Polk sit agencies surveyed (17) said this is why they do not try County. Vanpools can travel from 30 to 90 miles away to to prove that ridesharing is cost-effective compared with a the 80,000 jobs in the state capitol of Des Moines. Because transit route (see Table 8). Five agencies, however, reported the Section 5307 formula awards DART a grant of $3.17 Table 8 How Do You Prove that Ridesharing Is Cost-Effective Compared to a Transit Route? Response Count Percent We do not attempt to prove it is cost-effective, because it is 17 68 considered part of our mix of mobility services By comparing the operating and capital cost of transit versus the cost 5 20 of a ridesharing program (e.g., cost per hour and subsidy per hour) With ridership measurements, actual or projected, for a transit route 4 16 (e.g., riders per hour) Other 6 24 Total Responses 25 100 Answers exceed 100% because respondents could choose multiple answers.