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This chapter summarizes the results of the best practices of successful flexible public transporta- tion services throughout the country. Using the results of the initial survey of public transporta- tion agencies, candidate flexible public transportation service agencies were identified for a more detailed analysis. The agencies represented a broad cross section of transportation providers that have implemented some type of flexible public transportation service. The following factors were considered in identifying current flexible public transportation agencies for best practices: â¢ Geography (agencies selected from all regions of the United States) â¢ Agency Type (both public and non-profit agencies) â¢ Density (agencies serving both high- and low-density areas) â¢ Number of Vehicles (a standard measure of the size of an agency) â¢ Area Served by Flexible Service (urban, rural, or suburban areas) â¢ Type of Flexible Public Transportation Operated (each of the six major types of flexible pub- lic transportation service should be represented) â¢ Participation in TCRP Synthesis 53 (Koffman, 2004) (further study of selected participants) Twenty-six candidate agencies were initially identified and the following 10 agencies, shown in Table 19, agreed to participate in this research effort: Nine of the agencies were public bodies and one was a private non-profit (South Central Adult Services). Three of the agencies (Mason County Transportation Authority, Pierce Transit, and PRTC/Omniride) had participated in the research reported in TCRP Synthesis 53: Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services (Koffman, 2004). For each participating agency, the following detailed information was collected: â¢ Agency Name â Type of agency, e.g., city or county department, private not-for-profit â Type of flexible public transportation service(s) operated â¢ Overall Service Area Characteristics â Population (transit-related demographics such as youth, income, senior citizen) â Area (square miles, topography) â Population densities (residential, employment) â¢ Flexible Public Transportation Service(s) Area Characteristics â Population (transit-related demographics such as youth, income, senior citizen) â Area (square miles, topography) â Population densities (residential, employment) â¢ Transit System Description for All Modes â Modes operated â Fleet size and type â Ridership 42 C H A P T E R 4 Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services
â Fares â Span of service â Revenue, costs, subsidies, and funding â¢ Flexible Public Transportation Description for All Types Operated â Types operated and how Distance allowed for route deviation Percent of trips that deviate Procedures and requirements for advanced flexible public transportation requests Service coordination elements Scheduling techniques â Fleet size and type â Ridership â Fares â Span of service â Revenue, costs, subsidies, and funding â Technologies employed â Employees/contractors/personnel â¢ Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service(s) â¢ Policy objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service(s) â¢ Marketing Strategies for Flexible Public Transportation Service(s) â¢ Other Issues â Operational challenges â Benefits and costs â Advantages/Disadvantages â Strengths/Weaknesses â Data needs â Factors that inhibit the use of flexible public transportation service In addition to collecting detailed information, several agencies were visited in person: â¢ Mason County Transportation Authority (WA) â¢ Pierce Transit (WA) Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 43 Agency Name Primary Type(s) of Flexible Public Transportation Area Served Website Mason County Transportation Authority (WA) Route Deviation, Zone Routes, Request Stops Rural www.masontransit.org City of St. Joseph (MO) Route Deviation, Request Stops Small Urban www.stjoemo.info/transit/ PRTC/Omniride (VA) Route Deviation Suburban www.PRTCTransit.org Pierce Transit (WA) Route Deviation, Request Stops Suburban www.piercetransit.org Denver RTD (CO) Point Deviation, Demand-Responsive Connector, Route Deviation Suburban www.rtd-denver.com JTA (FL) Route Deviation, Demand-Responsive Connector Urban and Suburban www.jtafla.com CARTA (SC) Zone Routes Urban www.ridecarta.com Mountain Rides (ID)* Request Stops Rural www.mountainrides.org South Central Adult Services (ND) Route Deviation, Zone Routes, Demand-Responsive Connector Rural www.southcentralseniors.org Omnitrans (CA) Zone Routes, Demand- Responsive Connector Suburban www.omnitrans.org *Route deviation service discontinued October, 2008. Information provided for illustrative purposes of services provided in a rural, low-density community. Table 19. Study participants.
â¢ City of St. Joseph (MO) â¢ PRTC/Omniride (VA) â¢ Denver RTD (CO) â¢ JTA (FL) These in-person site visits were conducted to observe firsthand the actual delivery of flexible public transportation service. The visits included observing the service planning and scheduling functions. It also included riding the service to ascertain the actual operations and operating environment. Interviews were conducted with agency staff and riders to better understand the perceived benefits and constraints of flexible public transportation service. The results of the agency evaluations are presented in the remainder of this chapter. 4.1 Mason County Transportation Authority Flexible Transportation Services: Systemwide Route Deviation, Zone Routes, and Request Stops The Mason County Public Transportation Benefit Area is a special purpose district, authorized by the State of Washington in 1975. Mason County voters approved the district in late 1991 and the Mason County Transportation Authority began operating general public demand-responsive transit service throughout the County, with connections to adjacent counties, in December 1992. The following Mason County Transportation Authority staff met with the researchers during an on-site visit to provide the information and background used for this case study: â¢ Dave OâConnell, General Manager â¢ Jay Rosapepe, Operations Manager Overall Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics The Mason County Transportation Authority service area covers 961 square miles of land and 90 square miles of water, with a 2008 estimated population of 57,846 persons. The density of the entire service area is approximately 51 persons per square mile. The racial makeup of the County was 90.8 percent white, 3.6 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native, 1.3 percent Black and 1.2 percent Asian. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 6.2 percent of the population. The median household income in 2007 was $47,200 and 17.1 percent of the population was age 65 and older. The county seat is Shelton, the only incorporated city in the County. The topography ranges from sea level to 6,255 feet at the peak of Mount Washington. In 2006, the County received a near record 81 inches of precipitation. The largest employer in the County is the Squaxin Indian Tribe with 700 employees. Many of the area residents travel outside of the County to jobs in Seattle (via ferry), Brinnon, Olympia, and Bremerton, WA. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics The flexible public transportation service area characteristics are the same as the overall ser- vice area characteristics, since the flexible services are operated countywide. Transit System Description for All Modes According to its Transit Development Plan 2009â2014 and 2008 Annual Report (2009), Trans- portation Authority made 377,706 passenger trips and operated 35,545 revenue vehicle hours on its route deviation services in 2008. Mason County Transportation Authority also provided 57,286 pas- 44 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
senger trips on its dial-a-ride service and 53,114 trips on vanpools in 2008. Mason County Trans- portation Authority operates nine deviated fixed routes on weekdays. One of these routes also oper- ates on Saturday. Most routes operate from 7:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Mason County Transporta- tion Authority offers a number of regional transit connections at the following locations: â¢ Olympia Transit Center â¢ Bremerton Transportation Center â¢ Brinnon Store (with connections to ferries, Amtrak, and Greyhound) â¢ Kimilche Transit Center (connecting to Squaxin Island Transit) Over 54,000 of the deviated fixed-route passenger trips (14 percent) are worker/driver trips, where a worker at the local naval shipyard drives the bus and his/her co-workers to the shipyard. Some riders connect to the Washington State Ferries, while others work in the shipyard. The vehicle stays at the shipyard for the return trip in the evening. Transit service within Mason County is free of charge. Full cash fares to areas outside of the County are $1.00. Annual operating expenses for the entire system were $5.2 million. The primary source of revenue for the service is sales tax revenue. Farebox revenue accounts for less than 10 per- cent of operating costs ($435,577). The bus fleet includes 19 buses ranging in size from 40-foot, low-floor Gilligs to 30-foot high-floor Bluebirds. Twenty-one cut-away vehicles are used for both dial-a-ride and deviated fixed-route service. Thirty-three 12-passenger vans are used for vanpool service. As of December 31, 2008, Mason County Transportation Authority had 66 employees. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Route Deviation Mason County Transportation Authority allows a deviation (up to 1 mile) off of the regular bus routes for those who experience difficulty getting to bus stops. Availability depends on road condi- tions and the number of requested deviations. The Mason County Transportation Authority may suggest alternate pick-up locations if the bus cannot get to the stop initially requested by the passen- ger. Passengers are required to call the Mason County Transportation Authority Customer Service Center a minimum of 2 hours in advance for this service. The dispatcher notifies the driver of same- day requests via two-way radio. The Mason County Transportation Authority does not collect infor- mation on the number or percentage of passengers that request a deviation. Figure 21 presents a graphic of the entire Mason County Transportation Authority service area, and Figure 22 shows an example of a deviated fixed route. Zone Routes In addition to general public dial-a-ride service, the Mason County Transportation Author- ity also operates service that is limited to a geographic area (zone) and is limited to a specific time of day or day of the week. Much of this service is known as After School Activity (ASA) service and operates on weekdays after 5:00 p.m. The Shelton and Pioneer School Districts operate four afternoon general public deviated routes under contract to the Mason County Transportation Authority. These routes have a scheduled start in downtown Shelton and transport the general public (including students involved in afterschool activities), taking passengers directly to their destinations within the zone or to a connecting route. Request Stops At any time of the day, Mason County Transportation Authority passengers may flag buses at any safe location on the same side of the road the bus is travelling. Two of Mason County Transportation Authorityâs deviated routes also have call/request stops located off of the fixed Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 45
route, where customers are required to call the Customer Service Center a minimum of 2 hours in advance to request a ride at the designated call/request location. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service The Mason County Transportation Authority does not have established service productivity standards for any of its transit services. In its 2009â2014 Transit Development Plan and 2008 Annual Report (2009) the Mason County Transportation Authority noted the following produc- tivity data for 2008: â¢ 10.6 passengers/hour for route-deviated service â¢ 2.3 passengers/hour for dial-a-ride service â¢ 1.9 passengers/hour for vanpooling Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service The Mason County Transportation Authority began as a countywide general public dial-a-ride service. As transit ridership increased and as travel patterns became more distinct, the Mason County Transportation Authority made a decision to operate fixed routes, while allowing for the flexibility of the demand-responsive features of deviations off the fixed routes. 46 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Source: Mason County Transportation Authority Figure 21. Mason County Transportation Authority service area.
The flexible services of the zone routes and request stops also allow the Mason County Trans- portation Authority to provide coverage to a large, low-density area and provide service in periods of low demand. The flexible public transportation services also enable the Mason County Transportation Authority to eliminate the expense of separate ADA complementary transit ser- vice by not operating fixed-route service. Marketing Strategies The Mason County Transportation Authority reports that the most effective ways to market the flexible public transportation features are the following: â¢ Inclusion of information in the system schedule or âbus bookâ â¢ Inclusion of information on its website Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 47 Source: Mason County Transportation Authority Figure 22. Mason County Transportation Authority deviated fixed route.
â¢ Presentations to community groups â¢ Targeted mailings Other Issues The top area of concern for the Mason County Transportation Authority is the need for improved technology to allow for better dispatching and scheduling of flexible public transporta- tion services. Current AVL technologies are ineffective given the differing geographic topography throughout the service area. 4.2 St. Joseph Transit Flexible Transportation Services: Route Deviation and Request Stops St. Joseph Transit is the name of the municipal bus company for the City of St. Joseph, Missouri. St. Joseph Transit is an operating unit in the Cityâs Department of Public Works and Transporta- tion. St. Joseph is the largest city in northwest Missouri and is the county seat of Buchanan County. The following St. Joseph Transit staff met with the researchers to provide the information and background used for this case study: â¢ Andy Clements, Assistant Director for Public Works and Transportation â¢ Kurt Janicek, Resident Manager â¢ Michelle Schultz, Operations Manager Overall Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics The St. Joseph Transit service area covers 49.5 square miles with a 2008 population of 75,000 per- sons. St. Joseph Transit serves the downtown business district and city neighborhoods, as well as sev- eral employment centers. The City of St. Joseph is located along the Missouri River, 35 miles north of Kansas City. Interstate 29 runs through St. Joseph, providing a corridor from Canada to Mexico. According to the 2000 Census, there were 29,026 households and 18,460 families residing in the City. The population density was 1,688 people per square mile. There were 31,752 housing units at an average density of 724.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the City was 91.88 percent White, 5.03 percent African American, 0.46 percent Native American, 0.47 percent Asian, 0.03 percent Pacific Islander, 0.69 percent from other races, and 1.44 percent from two or more races. Hispanic or Latinos of any race were 2.61 percent of the population. The median household income in 1999 was $32,663. St. Joseph Transit also serves Elwood, Kansas, a small city with a population of 1,145. Elwood, Kansas, is located just one mile from the city limits of St. Joseph. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics Same as overall service area characteristics, since the flexible services are operated throughout the City. Transit System Description for All Modes St. Joseph Transit operates flexible public transportation service on each of its eight regular routes. The system is known as The Ride and provides a fixed-route system with route deviation and request stops. According to its Riders Guide (2007), in 2007, St. Joseph Transit carried 417, 906 passengers along eight bus routes. The bus fleet includes 20 buses, with 16 in daily use and 4 in reserve as spares. There are three transfer centers, one intermodal transit center, and over 460 bus stops. 48 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
St. Joseph Transit also provides bus service to Elwood, Kansas. In addition to its eight local routes, St. Joseph Transit operates a limited night schedule on three routes. Route deviation is not offered on these three routes. This service is called Nite Ride and provides job access and reverse commute opportunities to St. Joseph citizens living in the U.S. Census designated low-income areas of the City. Nite Ride operates Monday through Saturday from 9:15 p.m. to 5:15 a.m. St. Joseph Transit operates six days a week on its eight fixed routes, and five nights on its three Nite Ride routes. St. Joseph Transitâs FY 2009 Operating Budget projected $246,000 of operat- ing revenue to cover operating expenditures of $4 million. The base cash fare for all routes is $1.00, with a $.50 charge for route deviation. Discounted cash fares are available for seniors, youth, and individuals with disabilities. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Fixed-Route Deviation Each of St. Joseph Transitâs eight local routes operates as a deviated fixed route. St. Joseph Tran- sit implemented this service in 1999 and calls its bus service The Ride. These routes are operated using a fleet of 30-foot, Gillig low-floor vehicles that have a seating capacity of 25 passengers. Prior to 1999, St. Joseph Transit operated a point-deviation system. The point-deviation system oper- ated along with a separate ADA complementary paratransit service. The City surveyed its citizens and determined that a single-route deviation system would provide better service than the sepa- rate point-deviation and paratransit systems. Figure 23 displays the system map for The Ride. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 49 Source: St. Joseph Transit Figure 23. St. Joseph Transit system map for The Ride.
Under the current route-deviation system, buses follow a fixed route and schedule but devi- ate into neighborhoods upon request, always returning to their regular routes. Riders have the option of being picked up at a regular bus stop or scheduling a pick-up at other pre-approved locations. The deviation can be up to 3â4 mile from its designated fixed route, depending upon demand. A maximum of 10 deviations per trip are allowed. All of the buses are ADA compliant. St. Joseph Transit does not operate a separate complementary ADA paratransit service since its entire service is route deviation. St. Joseph Transit reports that of approximately 1,400 daily pas- sengers, 300, or 25 percent of its passengers, actively use route deviation. St. Joseph Transit esti- mates that 4 percent of these passengers are ADA clients. Monthly ridership data for the eight routes are provided in Table 20. Customers requesting pick-up at an off-route designated bus stop are advised to call at least 1 day in advance of the requested trip. St. Joseph Transit will take same-day reservations for pick-ups, but passengers may have to wait at least 1 hour before a pick-up on weekdays and up to 2 hours on Saturday. Once on board a bus, riders can simply inform the driver of the location of the stop where they wish to be dropped off. The driver will honor an off-route stop if schedules allow and the street location is suitable for the vehicle. There is a $.50 sur- charge for on-route or deviated services. The Ride operates on weekdays and Saturdays, with no service on Sundays. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service St. Joseph Transit did not identify specific productivity standards but provided performance indicators (presented in Table 21). 50 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Route Name St. Joseph Avenue Lovers Lane Fredrick Avenue Faraon/Jules MO Western Industrial Park Stockyards King Hill June FY 2007 Monthly Ridership 2,998 3,051 6,923 5,285 4,524 2,499 3,840 1,940 June FY 2008 Monthly Ridership 2,563 2,431 6,127 4,810 4,588 3,193 3,185 1,915 June FY 2009 Monthly Ridership 2,617 2,134 5,736 4,378 4,388 2,280 2,614 1,516 Table 20. St. Joseph Transit ridership. All Routes FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Passengers 417,906 408,696 382,039 Total Expenses $3,820,636 $4,207,971 $3,059,678 Route Deviations 99,939 76,269 52,400 Revenue Hours 70,528 70,272 52,896 Revenue Per Passenger $0.32 $0.35 $0.65 Expense Per Hour $54.17 $57.84 $57.88 Total Expense per Passenger $8.82 $9.75 $10.00 Table 21. Performance indicators.
Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Provide coverage to a large, low-density area â¢ Reduce or eliminate the expense of providing an ADA-complementary paratransit service â¢ Respond to community preferences and geography Marketing Strategies â¢ Specially designed brochures â¢ Television and radio advertisements â¢ Presentations to community groups â¢ Implementation of a Riders Advisory Committee (future) Other Issues â¢ Financial constraints limit the number of routes, and the 1-hour headways mean that a round trip takes 2 hours of travel time for passengers and operators. â¢ There is no service on Sundays, which may leave disabled persons without any means of accessing emergency or social trips. â¢ The flexible public transportation service may be dependable, but it is not convenient for choice or captive riders. 4.3 Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Flexible Transportation Services: Route Deviation The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is a multi-jurisdictional agency representing Prince William and Stafford Counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Fredericksburg. PRTC operates a number of transportation services to meet the needs of area residents. These services are known locally as â¢ OmniRide â¢ Metro Direct â¢ OmniLink â¢ Cross Country Connector â¢ OmniMatch â¢ Virginia Railway Express PRTC provides commuter bus service along the busy I-95 and I-66 corridors to points north (OmniRide and Metro Direct) and bus services in Prince William County and the cities of Man- assas and Manassas Park (OmniLink and Cross County Connector). PRTC also offers Omni- Match, a free ridesharing service. Operated by PRTC in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provides commuter rail service along the Manassas and Fredericksburg lines, connecting to transit providers at sta- tions in Virginia and the District of Columbia. The following PRTC staff met with the researchers to provide the information and back- ground used for this case study: â¢ Eric Marx, Director of Planning and Operations â¢ Joan Martin-Morris, Customer Service Supervisor Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 51
Overall Service Area Characteristics The PRTC transit service area covers 360 square miles with a population of over 425,000 per- sons. PRTC is located in Northern Virginia, about 25 miles southwest of Washington, DC. The PRTC transit system serves two basic demographic groupsâcommuters into Washington, DC, and Arlington, VA, and transit-dependent local services in five jurisdictions that include two counties and three cities. The service area population density is 1,180 persons per square mile. OmniRide and Metro Direct bus riders tend to be choice riders, meaning that although they may have an automobile available to them, they choose to ride the bus to reduce trip times and costs. Conversely, OmniLink, the flexible bus service, tends to serve disadvantaged populations and those without access to an automobile, such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities, youth, and low-income workers. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics PRTC operates OmniLink, a flexible public transportation service on six routes. OmniLink is a local demand-responsive bus service operating through the more heavily populated parts of PRTCâs service area. It is a route-deviation system blended with fixed-route characteristics to provide transit services for all area residents without operating a separate ADA paratransit sys- tem. Prior to 1995, there was no local public transportation in the PRTC area, and OmniLink began as a flex route operation, i.e., there never was fixed-route service with complementary paratransit. PRTC estimates that it achieves a 25- to 50-percent savings by operating one service versus two separate services. Transit System Description for All Modes PRTC operates commuter bus service with its OmniRide and Metro Direct routes between the PRTC local service area and Metrorail stations, local bus service with its six OmniLink flex- ible routes and one Cross County Connector route. OmniRide is a commuter bus service for residents of Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, VA, traveling to Washington, DC, Arlington, VA, and suburban Tysons Corner in Fairfax County, VA (service to Tysonâs corner was added recently). OmniRide operates in both the I-95 and I-66 corridors on weekdays, with service inbound to Washington in the morn- ing and outbound in the evening. Some routes have limited midday service. OmniRide service is provided using 57-seat over-the-road coaches. Metro Direct is a commute and reverse-commute bus service with limited stops from Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park to the West Falls Church and Franconia- Springfield Metrorail stations. Service on two routes operates throughout the day on week- days with increased frequency during the normal commuting hours. The third route runs only in the peak direction during normal commuting times. Service is provided using 45-seat tran- sit buses. Cash and the regional SmarTrip card may be used to board OmniRide and Metro Direct buses. Reduced fares are available for senior citizens and persons with disabilities during off-peak hours. Local trips on OmniRide and Metro Direct can be paid for with cash, SmarTrip card, pre-paid token, or day pass. Commuter bus fares are $4.75 if paid using SmarTrip and $6.50 if paid in cash. Metro Direct fares are $2.40 and $3.00, respectively. OmniLink is a local demand-responsive bus service within Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. PRTC operates six OmniLink routes from around 5:40 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. on 52 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
weekdays on most routes. Manassas area routes end around 8:00 p.m. Eastern area routes operate on 45-minute headways (30 minutes during peak periods), while Manassas area routes operate every 60 minutes throughout the day. Saturday service is provided from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. only in the eastern part of the County with mostly 90-minute headways. The differ- ence between eastern-area and Manassas-area service operating parameters is dictated by local government preference. Passengers may pay OmniLink fare using cash, pre-paid tokens, a local bus day pass, or a regional SmarTrip card. Fares are $1.10 for cash, tokens, or SmarTrip, while the local bus day pass is $2.50 (cash only). Discounted cash fares are available for senior citizens, youth, and persons with disabilities at all times. There is a $1.00 surcharge for off-route deviations for able-bodied customers and those under the age of 60. For all modes for 2009, PRTCâs ridership was 3.1 million with annual vehicle revenue hours of 160,000. During this period, an average of 108 vehicles of varied sizes operated during peak periods. PRTCâs operating budget was $26.8 million, and it had a total of 235 full- and part-time employeesâ45 were PRTC employees and 190 were contracted employees. Flexible Public Transportation Description for All Types Operated Route Deviation The six OmniLink routes operate as local deviated fixed routes. These routes use a fleet of 30-foot Gillig vehicles, which seat 30 passengers each. Buses follow a fixed route and schedule but deviate off route upon request, always returning to the regular route. A deviated bus is not required to return to the route departure point but must serve all stops. In addition to the desig- nated bus stops, riders have the option of being picked up or dropped off at an off-route location if they cannot get to an OmniLink stop or if their destination is not close to a bus stop. Deviation service is provided within a corridor of 3â4 mile on both sides of each route. It is recommended that reservations be made 1 to 2 days in advance. Nonetheless, trips may be scheduled with as little as 2 hours advance notice. Riders can also make a standing order for recurring trips. All off-route trips are subject to availability, which is limited by the need to maintain acceptable on-time per- formance. Additionally, there are a number of designated off-route locations on each route called on-demand bus stops. Riders on board buses may be dropped at on-demand bus stops without prior reservation. Those waiting at on-demand bus stops call PRTC, and the next available bus is routed to pick them up. All of the OmniLink buses are ADA compliant, and PRTC does not operate a separate comple- mentary ADA paratransit service. PRTC reports that annual OmniLink ridership is approximately 960,000, and its annual vehicle revenue hours are 61,000. In FY 2009, approximately 250 daily trips, or 7.4 percent of total OmniLink ridership, used the flexible public transportation feature, with subscriptions accounting for about 40 percent of off-route trips. Figure 24 and Figure 25 show two of OmniLinkâs routes. OmniLinkâs annual budget in 2009 was $8.9 million. Average daily ridership for each of the six OmniLink bus routes is provided in Table 22. OmniLink buses operate on weekdays and Saturdays, with no service on Sundays. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service Selected performance indicators for PRTCâs OmniLink are presented in Table 23. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 53
54 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Potomac River Occoquan Reservoir LAKE RIDGE WOODBRIDGE POTOMAC MILLS The Glen Shopping Ctr. Old Bridge Festival Shopping Ctr. Lake Ridge Commons Shopping Center Woodbridge High School Oakwood Comunity Ctr. Tackettâs Mill Commuter Lot Brooke Center S.C. Marumsco Plaza CVS Market at Opitz Crossing Potomac Library 2200 Opitz McDonaldâs Potomac Mills Mall River Run Apts. Smoketown Plaza Elm Farm Virginia Employment Commission Ikea Potomac Festival Chinn Rec. Center (On Demand stop for Loop A) Car Wash START & END 1 Opitz Blvd. Potomac Hospital Old B ridge Rd. Min niev ille Rd. Smoketown Lake Ridge Commuter Lot Occoquan E.S. Elm Farm Route 123/I-95 Commuter Lot Maryland Old Bridge & Route 123 Commuter Lot Clipper D r. WoodfernOa kw oo d Deepford Cotton Poto ma c Mills Cr. Telegraph Rd. W oo d- ho llo w An tie ta m Ha rb o rD r. Seminole Mil l D r. Gr iffi th Cricket Hedges Run La.Sm oketow n Rd. W or th Reddy Featherstone Rd. Ba ysi de Lon gview Dr. M t. PleasantD r. Occoquan Gordon Col by Westridge Dale Blvd. To uc hs ton e Bel Air Sandra Marys Way Village Dr. Hor ner Rd . PRTC Transit Center Potom ac M ills Daw son Beach Hy lton De vilâ s Re ach Pe nn ing ton Hoffm an Sh op pe râs B es t Hillend ale Te leg ra ph Old BridgeTitania Di lli ng ha m S q. Montgomery Potomac Woods LOOP A LOOP B Loop A only He rnd on Ely sia n Prince William Pkwy. Je ffe rs on Da vis H w y. M oh ica n R d. Prince William Pkwy. 784 95 640 641 123 1 3000 123 1 1 4 6 5b 5a 3a 3b 2 Loop A stops at Potomac Mills before the PRTC Transit Center. Loop B stops at Potomac Mills after the PRTC Transit Center. The solid, colored line indicates the basic route OmniLink vehicles travel. The shaded, colored areas indicate how far OmniLink vehicles may travel from the basic route (up to 3/4 mile) to pick up or discharge passengers. OmniLink Service Area See the other side of this schedule for more complete information on how to use OmniLink services. T T (Route runs a Clockwise and Counterclockwise Loop â See timetable for each direction) NORTH Map not to scale Bus Stop (Bus also stops at the numbered timepoints) On-Demand Stop Transfer Point Commuter Lot Point of Interest VRE Train Station Â©2010, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Design by Smartmaps, Inc. Connecting services: Amtrak, Greyhound (Subject to change without notice) Woodbridge VRE Station Source: PRTC Figure 24. PRTC Woodbridge/Lake Ridge OmniLink route. Welling ton Rd. Sto neho use Bal ls For d Balls Ford Rd. Ashto n Ave. Battleview Wi lliamson Se ym ou rR d. Rosemary Ri xle w Ln . Di gg es Bartlo w Sudley Rd. NovaWayMiram ar Purdue Emera ld Sage Cove rston e Trem ayne Blendi a As hl an d Lomo nd Po rts mo uth Ashton Sudley Rd.Cres two od D r. Su dle y M an or Ba nn er wo od Go dw in Bu rn sid e Ro llin g Plantation La. Liberia Ave. Sudley Ja ck so n GrantSt on ew al l R d. Center St. East W est Po rtn er Liberia Av. Ce nt er vil le Rd . M at hi s A v. QuarryeedebeZ Cent er St. Center Church S. M ain Byrd Grant Hendley Prince William Pkwy 29 234 234 234 28 28 66 3000 MANASSAS MANASSAS PARK Manassas National Battlefield Park Parkridge Shopping Center Northern Virginia Community College (Nova) Oaks of Wellington Wellington Station Quarry Station Senior Housing Courthouse Manassas Senior Ctr. CVS Manassas Shopping Center Canterbury Village S.C. Prince William Hospital Manassas Mall Portsmouth Commuter LotK-Mart Wal-Mart (Promenade at Manassas) Manassas VRE Train Station START & END 2 3 1 5 4 The solid, colored line indicates the basic route OmniLink vehicles travel. The shaded, colored areas indicate how far OmniLink vehicles may travel from the basic route (up to 3/4 mile) to pick up or discharge passengers. OmniLink Service Area See the other side of this schedule for more complete information on how to use OmniLink services. Courthouse is regular stop on southbound trips and on-demand on northbound trips. Stop at Wal-Mart only served by southbound buses leaving NOVA going to Wellington Station. NORTH Map not to scale Bus Stop (Bus also stops at the numbered timepoints) On-Demand Stop Transfer Point Commuter Lot Point of Interest VRE Train Station Â©2010, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Design by Smartmaps, Inc. MANASSAS Source: PRTC Figure 25. PRTC Manassas OmniLink route.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 55 Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Provide coverage to a large, low-density area â¢ Balance customer access and routing efficiency â¢ Provide one service for all riders on more routes, with more frequent service, and for a longer service span than would be possible if operating both fixed-route and ADA-complementary paratransit service â¢ Respond to community preferences and geography Marketing Strategies â¢ Use specially designed brochures â¢ Include information on flexible public transportation services in system maps or âbus booksâ â¢ Provide information on website â¢ Use paid newspaper advertisements â¢ Use presentations to community groups â¢ Distribute targeted mailings â¢ Cross-promoting services through email Other Issues â¢ PRTC has invested heavily in ITS technology for scheduling and dispatching as well as com- municating with bus operators and dispatchers. â¢ PRTC had the first automated flex-route project in the United States. â¢ Annualized ITS investment cost of $165,000 is more than offset by capital savings alone and allows PRTC to provide more service. â¢ Real-time information allows for shorter advance notices, dispatcher knowing location of vehicles, and drivers knowing where they are and whether they are on schedule. â¢ Demand-response riders tend to be more tolerant of late trips than commuter riders. â¢ Current OmniLink policy is to be no more than 5 minutes late due to trip deviations â¢ There is no service on Sundays, which may leave transit-dependent persons without any means of accessing jobs or making other trips. â¢ The flexible service may be dependable, but it is not convenient for choice or captive riders. Route Name FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Dale City 690 667 663 Dumfries 629 691 761 Manassas 331 369 356 Manassas Park 902 329 290 Woodbridge/Lake Ridge 1,193 1,307 1,287 Route 1 300 317 392 Table 22. PRTC OmniLink average daily ridership. All Routes FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Riders per Day 3,433 3,680 3,821 Trips per Revenue Hour 15.4 15.8 16.1 Operating Costs $295,004 $315,600 $329,850 Revenue Hours 70,528 70,272 52,896 Gross Cost per Trip $5.38 $5.42 $5.59 Net Cost per Trip $4.67 $4.71 $4.83 Table 23. Selected PRTC OmniLink performance indicators.
4.4 Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation Flexible Transportation Services: Route Deviation and Request Stops The Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation (Pierce Transit) formed in 1979 and is a municipal corporation with taxing authority. Pierce Transit is the second largest transit agency in Washington State. The following Pierce Transit staff met with the researchers to provide the information and background used for this case study: â¢ Kelly Hayden, Director of Planning â¢ Jean Archer, Senior Planner â¢ Jerri Kelly, Systems Analyst Overall Service Area Characteristics The Pierce Transit service area covers 414 square miles with a population of 767,000 per- sons. The transit system serves the cities and towns of Bonney Lake, Buckley, DuPont, Fife, Fort Lewis, Edgewood, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Graham, Lakewood, McChord Air Force Base, Milton, Orting, Puyallup, Ruston, Spanaway, Steilacoom, Sumner, Tacoma, and University Place, along with some areas in unincorporated Pierce County. Pierce Transit operates on more than 900 miles of city streets, county roads, and state highways from Seattle through Tacoma and on to the state capital of Olympia. The most densely populated areas of the County have densities of over 6,000 persons per square mile and include Tacoma, Lakewood, and University Place. Large portions of Pierce County have population densities of fewer than 1,800 persons per square mile. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics At the time of this study, Pierce Transit operated flexible public transportation on four routes. These routes were located in middle- to low-density areas known locally as Key Peninsula, Parkland/Spanaway, South Hill/Spanaway, and Mid-County. These areas were generally located on the outskirts of the service area. Pierce Transit planned to eliminate one of the routes, South Hill/Spanaway, in February 2010. Transit System Description for All Modes According to its website, in 2008, Pierce Transit carried nearly 19 million passengers along 63 bus routes, including 52 local routes and 11 regional routes, operated under contract to the regional bus operator, Sound Transit. The bus fleet includes 272 buses (77 owned by Sound Transit). Eleven transit centers and stations and over 3,300 bus stops, 626 bus shelters, and 28 park- and-ride lots are part of the overall system. Pierce Transit provides connections for residents of Pierce County to other transportation services in the region, including the following: â¢ Sound Transit (serving Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties) â¢ Intercity Transit (serving Pierce and Thurston counties) â¢ King County Metro (serving the Seattle metropolitan area and cities within King County) â¢ Pierce County ferries (in Steilacoom) â¢ Washington State ferries (at Point Defiance) In addition to local and regional bus routes, Pierce Transit operates public vanpools serving 130 employers with over 13,000 customers in the regional ridematch database. Complementary paratransit service, known as SHUTTLE, serves 7,968 ADA-eligible, registered users. Pierce also operates three express routesâone to downtown Seattle, one to Sea-Tac Airport, and the third 56 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
to the University of Washington in Seattleâall under contract to Sound Transit. Pierce Transit operates 7 days a week, with many routes operating over 18 hours per day. Pierce Transitâs FY 2009 operating budget projects $121 million of operating revenue to cover operating expendi- tures of $115 million. In 2008, Pierce Transit calculated its fully allocated costs for local transit service to be $103.88 per platform hour. Pierce Transit offers a wide range of transit passes and participates in a regional fare card system. The basic cash fare for local routes is $1.75. Express serv- ices are zone-based fares, ranging from $1.50 to $3.00. The cash fare for ADA-complementary paratransit service, the SHUTTLE, is $0.75. Discounted cash fares are available for seniors, youth, persons with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Route Deviation Of Pierce Transitâs 52 local routes, 4 operated as deviated fixed routes at the time of this study. Pierce Transit calls this type of service Bus PLUS. These routes are operated using a fleet of 25-foot, Ford El Dorado vehicles, which seat 14 to 16 passengers. Buses follow a fixed route and schedule but deviate into neighborhoods upon request, always returning to their regular routes. Riders have the option of being picked up at a scheduled stop or scheduling a pick-up at other pre-approved locations. The deviation can be up to 3â4 mile from its desig- nated fixed route, depending upon demand. All Bus PLUS vans are ADA compliant. Pierce Transit does not operate its complementary ADA paratransit service (SHUTTLE) in areas served by Bus PLUS routes. Pierce Transit reports that approximately 300 passengers or 5 per- cent of Bus PLUS passengers actively use off-route stops. Twenty-two percent of these pas- sengers are ADA clients and the rest are the general public. Ridership data for the four Bus PLUS routes are provided in Table 24. Customers requesting pick-up at an off-route designated bus stop must call at least 2 hours in advance of the requested trip. Bus PLUS by request service is limited by space availability. Once on board Bus PLUS, riders can simply inform the driver of the stop where they wish to be dropped off. Bus PLUS can only serve a stop designated with a Pierce Transit bus stop sign. There are no surcharges for Bus PLUS on-route or deviated services. Bus PLUS services operate only on week- days, often only during peak periods. The maps for the Key Peninsula and Mid-County Bus PLUS routes, as operated in 2009, are shown as Figure 26 and Figure 27. Request Stops (Night Stop) Request-Stop service is provided on Pierce Transitâs local bus routes; the service does not apply to Bus PLUS routes. After 9:00 p.m., a passenger may request to be let off at any point along a local bus route, even if it is not a regular bus stop. The passenger must let the operator know at least a block ahead, and the operator will decideâdepending on weather and street and traffic conditionsâwhether the stop can be made safely. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 57 Route Name Passengers per Revenue Hour 2007 Average Weekday Boardings 2008 Average Weekday Boardings Key Peninsula 3.10 56 51 Parkland/Spanaway 4.20 71 72 S Hill/Spanaway 2.60 40 52 Mid County 2.80 31 46 Table 24. Pierce Transit Bus PLUS ridership.
Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service Pierce Transit has established performance standards for Bus PLUS service, shown in Table 25. Reasons for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Replacing fixed-route services with low ridership â¢ Providing transit in a hard-to-serve area 58 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Source: Pierce Transit Figure 26. Pierce Transit Key Peninsula Bus PLUS map. Source: Pierce Transit Figure 27. Pierce Transit Mid-County Bus PLUS map.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 59 Marketing Strategies â¢ Include information on flexible public transportation services in âThe Bus Stops Hereâ (bus schedule book) â¢ Include information on flexible public transportation services on website â¢ Use presentations â¢ Do targeted mailing â¢ Provide complete rider information at each stop Other Issues â¢ Financial constraints required elimination of deviations from one route (Northeast Tacoma) in 2009 and the planned elimination of a second Bus PLUS route (South Hill/Spanaway) in February 2010. â¢ The current scheduling system, Route Builder, is a hybrid of fixed route and paratransit. For deviations, it schedules the bus at the appropriate point along the fixed route to the deviated pickup, then immediately returns the bus to the fixed portion of the route. 4.5 Regional Transportation District Flexible Transportation Services: Point Deviation and Demand-Responsive Connector (on a limited number of routes) The Regional Transportation District (RTD) was created in 1969 by the Colorado General Assembly to develop, operate, and maintain a mass transportation system for the benefit of 2.6 million people in RTDâs district. RTDâs governing body is a publicly elected 15-member Board of Directors, with directors elected by their districts to a 4-year term. Each directorâs dis- trict contains approximately 173,000 residents. The following RTD staff met with the researchers during an on-site visit to provide the infor- mation and background used for this case study: â¢ Jeff Becker, Service Development Manager RTDâs website, www.rtd-denver.com, contains significant data on all services. Overall Service Area Characteristics RTD serves a population of 2.6 million people residing in a 2,377 square mile district includ- ing all or parts of eight counties: the City and County of Denver, the City and County of Broom- Routes Passengers per Vehicle Hour Cost per Boarding Passenger* ($) New Routes (< 1 year old) Satisfactory Unsatisfactory >3.0 <3.0 <11.30 >11.30 Older Routes (1-2 years old) Satisfactory Unsatisfactory >4.0 <4.0 <8.50 >8.50 Established Routes (> 2 years old) Satisfactory Unsatisfactory >5.0 <5.0 <6.80 >6.80 *All costs in 2003 dollars. Table 25. Pierce Transit Bus PLUS performance standards.
field, Boulder and Jefferson Counties, the western portions of Adams and Arapahoe Counties, the northeastern portion of Douglas County, and portions of Weld County annexed by Long- mont and Erie. According to the 2007 Census Estimate, the racial makeup of the RTD service area was 84.1 percent White, 0.7 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native, 4.8 percent Black, and 3.5 percent Asian. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 21.6 percent of the population. The density of the service area is 1,093 persons per square mile. The most densely populated areas of the service area are found in Denver, where the density is 3,616 persons per square mile, and Boulder, where the density is 3,885 persons per square mile. Denver, known as the mile-high city, is located in the Rocky Mountains, and the City is 5,280 feet above sea level. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics RTD operates flexible public transportation service, known locally as call-n-Ride, in areas defined as the following: â¢ A geographic area where residents and employees do not have convenient access to one of RTDâs fixed-route services. â¢ Geographic areas with generally modest population and employment density, poor street connectivity, and poor building access. Table 26 shows the demographics, including population density per acre, of areas served by flexible public transportation. Figure 28 displays a map of the call-n-Ride service areas and the densities. 60 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Flexible Route Gateway Orchard N Inverness Meridian Interlocken S Inverness Superior Brighton Broomfield Evergreen Arapahoe Louisville Aurora Dry Creek N Thornton S Thornton Lone Tree Longmont Arvada Parker Highlands Ranch Population Density Per Acre 2.67 3.61 0.28 1.94 2.76 0.75 2.69 2.57 5.45 1.17 6.09 3.58 9.58 6.13 7.85 8.86 4.79 4.50 6.42 3.17 5.52 Employment Density 0.57 13.72 5.31 11.29 1.35 9.20 2.92 1.04 1.98 0.46 3.08 2.25 6.08 6.64 2.31 2.54 3.83 2.07 3.38 1.68 1.11 Zero Vehicle Household Density 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.21 0.00 0.08 0.03 0.00 0.08 0.16 0.00 0.00 Median Income $54,800 $98,000 $80,000 $46,000 $64,400 $23,000 $79,700 $50,700 $67,600 $84,200 $103,500 $76,600 $50,000 $82,000 $62,800 $47,800 $88,400 $56,000 $45,000 $80,000 $96,600 Senior Density 0.04 0.35 0.05 0.01 0.19 0.01 0.03 0.66 0.54 0.09 0.33 0.26 1.09 0.54 0.45 0.65 0.15 0.70 1.17 0.12 0.23 Youth Density 0.33 1.43 0.50 0.00 2.14 0.00 0.60 1.42 1.68 0.20 1.55 1.07 1.86 1.80 1.93 2.03 1.22 1.67 1.75 0.60 1.43 Source: Transportation Management & Design, Inc., 2008. Table 26. Denver RTD flexible transportation service area demographics.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 61 Source: RTD Figure 28. call-n-Ride service areas and densities.
Transit System Description for All Modes RTD is a multimodal, regional transit system, consisting of three primary categories: fixed- route bus, special services, and light rail. All fixed-route bus and rail services travel 163,987 miles each weekday. RTD serves 10,199 bus stops and 74 park-and-ride facilities. RTD operates a total of 154 fixed bus routes, including 72 local routes, 13 limited-service routes, 24 express routes, 18 regional routes, and 5 routes serving the Denver International Air- port. These routes also include 15 local routes in the City of Boulder and 7 routes in the City of Longmont. Other fixed-route bus services include a free shuttle along the 16th Street Transit Mall in downtown Denver, known as the FREE MallRide. RTD has an active bus fleet of 1,039 buses with a peak requirement of 862 buses. RTD operates six light rail lines. The light rail lines cover 35 miles of track and serve 37 stations, as shown in Figure 29. Approximately 55,717 passenger trips are made on the light rail lines each weekday, with a fleet of 117 vehicles. RTD also operates a number of special services, including its complementary ADA paratran- sit service, known as access-a-Ride, call-n-Ride, special shuttles to sporting events, a service called seniorRide, and vanpools. The call-n-Ride services will be described in more detail in the section on flexible transportation. RTD uses 301 cutaway vehicles for its access-a-Ride services and boards 2,220 passengers per weekday. 62 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Source: RTD Figure 29. RTD Denver light rail transit.
RTDâs annual operating budget in 2008 was $372.9 million. RTD employs 2,500 persons directly and an additional 1,600 private contractor employees. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated In 2000, RTD introduced call-n-Ride service as a supplement to its fixed-route bus service. The service was designed for areas with low passenger density where traditional fixed-route service was inefficient. Today, call-n-Ride features small, wheelchair-accessible, body-on-chassis buses that provide curb-to-curb service in 20 geographic areas. In October 2008, all 20 call-n-Ride service areas combined averaged about 2,150 weekday boardings and close to 500 weekend boardings. Hours of service vary but are generally Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Three call- n-Rides offer Saturday service between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Table 27 presents the call-n-Ride service performance data and service information for 2008. The call-n-Ride routes are listed in descending order based upon boardings per service hour. Passengers wishing to use the call-n-Ride service must first locate the service in their area. Each service area has a designated call-n-Ride phone number that goes directly to the driverâs cell phone during normal operating hours. At a safe time, the driver pulls over to the side of the road and accepts the call and schedules the pick-up time. For same-day service, passengers are requested to call at least 2 hours in advance. Trips can also be scheduled up to 2 weeks in advance. Recurring trips may be scheduled in advance with the call-n-Ride driver. In practice, drivers can pick-up passengers with less than 1 hour notice if time permits. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 63 Performance Data Service Information Number of Connections Route Boardings Per Service Hour Boardings Per Acre In- Service Hours Area Coverage (acres) Peak Headway Miles of Existing RTD Route* Timed Transfer Non- Timed Transfer Number of Connections (weighted) Gateway 19.1 0.113 29.0 4,914 30 2.9 7 â 7 Orchard 9.7 0.024 20.5 1,715 â 1.1 2 â 2 N Inverness 9.5 0.034 26.5 1,414 10 1.2 2 â 2 Meridian 8.7 0.278 21.0 713 15 0.7 2 â 2 Interlocken 7.7 0.036 16.5 3,593 30 3.1 7 â 7 S Inverness 7.4 0.125 20.5 742 10 0.7 2 â 2 Superior 5.7 0.041 14.5 3,699 30 4.7 8 â 8 Brighton 4.5 0.009 14.5 7,340 â 1.4 â 4 1.3 Broomfield 4.5 0.014 14.5 4,752 30 4.4 11 â 11 Evergreen 4.4 0.020 29.0 6,268 â 1.1 â 3 1 Arapahoe 4.4 0.023 14.5 2,766 â 0.7 3 â 11 Louisville 4.1 0.046 16.5 5,469 30 3.9 8 â 8 Aurora 4.0 0.015 14.5 3,962 60 5.5 11(partial) â 3 Dry Creek 3.8 0.017 14.5 3,157 6,044 30 1.2 3 â 3 N Thornton 3.8 0.014 14.5 â 1.8 â 6 2 S Thornton 3.5 0.010 14.5 5,567 â 3.7 7 2.3 Lone Tree 3.3 0.016 14.5 4,235 60 2.4 5 â 5 Longmont 3.0 0.010 32.5 17,599 â 2.5 â 6 2 Arvada 2.9 0.006 14.5 6,716 â 3.9 â â 0 Parker 2.9 0.010 14.5 5,126 â 1.4 â 3 1 Highlands Ranch 2.7 0.008 14.5 4,861 â 1.5 â 9 3 *Miles of route per square mile of service area â = Not applicable to this route. Table 27. 2008 RTD call-n-Ride service characteristics.
At the time of the case study site visit, RTD was phasing in a computerized system that allowed passengers the opportunity to book call-n-Ride trips online. This new technology will be described later in this case study. call-n-Ride services cost the same as cash fares for local bus services, with free transfers allowed. Riders can also present RTD passes and tickets when boarding. In 2008, RTD conducted a survey, RTD Call-N-Ride Customer Satisfaction & Travel Character- istics (The Howell Research Group, 2009), of all of its services, including call-n-Ride. Some of the key findings of the survey relating to call-n-Ride are presented below. With regard to evaluation of service, some of the surveyâs key findings were the following: â¢ call-n-Ride service was rated exceptionally high. More than 7 out of 10 riders (71 percent) rated overall service as excellent, while 23 percent rated it good. A very small percentage of riders (4 percent) rated the service as fair, and only 1% rated it poor. â¢ In addition to overall service, there were 24 specific dimensions of service in 8 performance categories that were evaluated by call-n-Ride passengers. Seven of the eight performance cat- egories received an average rating of better than good. The composite ratings for five perfor- mance areas approached a rating of excellent: bus driver performance, security, comfort, reservations, and customer information. Convenience received a composite rating slightly below good due to relatively lower ratings regarding availability of weekend service and avail- ability of evening service. â¢ When asked which performance category was most in need of improvement, 31 percent of the call-n-Ride passengers said none. The most frequently selected area for improvement was pricing/fares (21 percent), followed by convenience (13 percent), and travel time (10 percent). â¢ The majority of specific service dimensions (15 of 24) received average ratings that approached excellent. Only two service dimensions received an average rating below good: availability of weekend service and availability of evening service. Only a few call-n-Rides offer service on Saturday and/or Sunday, and there is no call-n-Ride service after 8:00 p.m. on any day. With regard to trip characteristics, some of the surveyâs key findings were the following: â¢ Nearly three out of four riders (74 percent) rode call-n-Ride for commuting to/from work. The largest percentage of work commuters were traveling to/from the Southeast business parks (30 percent of all riders). â¢ The remaining passengers rode call-n-Ride for a variety of non-work purposes: shopping/ eating out (8 percent), school/college (7 percent), personal business (5 percent), social/recreation (3 percent), and medical appointments (3 percent). â¢ In 2008, two-thirds of the call-n-Ride riders (67 percent) paid their fare with some form of prepayment, and 28 percent paid by cash. Monthly pass/ValuPass (36 percent), Eco Pass (13 per- cent), and 10-Ride Ticketbook (11 percent) were the most frequently used types of prepayment. â¢ A large portion of call-n-Ride passengers (19 percent) used a special fare discount: primarily a senior discount (8 percent) followed by disabled (7 percent) and studentâ19 and under (4 percent). â¢ The vast majority of riders caught their call-n-Ride bus either at home (44 percent) or at an RTD park-and-ride, rail station, or bus stop (42 percent). â¢ On average, call-n-Ride passengers traveled 11.9 miles one way (including all modes of travel) and took 32.5 minutes to reach their final destination when using call-n-Ride service. â¢ The majority of call-n-Ride passengers (62 percent) made one or more transfers to/from a reg- ular RTD bus for their trip, while nearly one-half (49 percent) used light rail for a portion of their trip. 64 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services
â¢ In 2008, call-n-Ride riders had taken, on average, 6.1 one-way trips on RTD call-n-Ride during the past week. â¢ It appears that call-n-Ride has been successful in introducing RTD to new riders (those who have ridden RTD for 1 year or less). Nearly one-third of the call-n-Ride passengers (32 percent) were new riders. With regard to rider characteristics, some of the surveyâs key findings were the following: â¢ RTD call-n-Ride passengers represent all demographic and socio-economic segments of the Denver Metro Area, and their characteristics are comparable to regular RTD bus riders. As a whole, call-n-Ride passengers are more likely to be female, single, 45 years or older, have some college education or higher, be employed in a professional/managerial occupation, be a non- minority, have an annual household income under $50,000, and be transit dependent. â¢ While 12 percent of all call-n-Ride riders were Hispanic, only 3 percent of all riders spoke Spanish and had difficulty with English. â¢ The majority of all call-n-Ride riders (56 percent) are classified as âcaptiveâ or transit depend- ent. Captive riders are defined as those who do not have a car available at the time they ride RTD or have a physical/mental disability that prevents them from driving a car. âChoiceâ riders (those who have a car available and are able to drive it) account for 44 percent of all call- n-Ride passengers. â¢ call-n-Ride riders were heavy users of other RTD services. Nearly two out of three (65 per- cent) had ridden a regular RTD bus during the past week (an average of 5.2 one-way trips), while 74 percent had ridden a regular bus at least once in the past 12 months. The majority of all call-n-Ride riders (52 percent) had ridden RTD light rail during the past week (an average of 4.2 one-way trips), while 71 percent had ridden light rail at least once in the past 12 months. â¢ The majority of call-n-Ride passengers (62 percent) had used one or more of RTDâs special services within the past 12 monthsâprimarily the 16th Street Mall Shuttle (51 percent) and skyRide (20 percent). â¢ Consistent with the high percentage of transit-dependent riders, 51 percent of all call-n-Ride passengers said âno car available/do not driveâ was their most important reason for riding call- n-Ride. The second most frequently cited reason was âcheaper than drivingâ (21 percent). Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service According to RTDâs 2008 service performance report, RTD routes that fit into the following parameters need to be evaluated for marketing, revision, or elimination: the least productive 10 per- cent of routes by the measure of subsidy per boardings or the measure of boardings per hour and/or routes for which both of these measures have fallen below 25 percent of the average for all routes. The performance charts illustrate the acceptable performance domain containing all routes meeting the 10-percent minimums for each class of service. The calculation of the 10-percent and 25-percent standards are made from the annual, unweighted data (assuming the data have a normal distribu- tion) and by using the appropriate formulas for standard deviation and confidence intervals; how- ever, the standard deviation is applied to the weighted average. Table 28 gives the current year weighted averages and standards by class of service. Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service As previously mentioned, RTD introduced call-n-Ride service in 2000, as a supplement to its fixed-route bus service. The service was and is designed for service in areas with low passenger Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 65
density, where traditional fixed-route service was less cost-effective. While a few routes were introduced to replace poorly performing fixed routes, most of the routes were designed to reach members of RTDâs service area without service. According to its 2008 passenger survey, call-n- Ride is frequently a personâs first encounter with RTDâs family of services. It therefore serves an additional objective, to bring riders to transit for the first time. Marketing Strategies RTD does extensive market research and outreach with community groups prior to imple- menting call-n-Ride or any other services. RTD generally relies on its website, printed brochures, direct mail, local promotions, and other standard marketing strategies to inform the public of its flexible public transportation services. Other Issues In early 2008, in order to meet budget constraints and to ensure that services are evaluated in accordance with the service standards, RTD made a decision to eliminate the Arvada call-n-Ride service, effective May 4, 2008. This route was implemented in 2005 when the City of Arvada applied for and received a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. The grant covered 80% of all operating costs. The City of Arvada and RTD each contributed 10 percent to cover the call-n-Ride costs. The minimum service standard is three passenger boardings per hour. The Arvada call-n-Ride had averaged 2.5 passengers per hour since its implementation. The CMAQ grant expired in May 2008, and the service was discontinued. The Gateway call-n-Ride became so successful that ridership warranted higher-capacity fixed-route service. It was replaced by extending two bus routes into the service area in May 2009. At the time of the site visit for this case study, RTD was in the process of implementing a new technology system for trip booking and vehicle scheduling. The system, marketed as Mobility DR, is intended to manage demand-responsive transit operations for different service types. According to its literature, Mobility DR encompasses the following: â¢ Automated reservations and vehicle scheduling â¢ Mobile driver manifest management with automated data collection â¢ Real-time operations supervision â¢ Extensive data analysis and reporting 66 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Subsidy Per Boarding ($) Boardings Per Hour Service Class Average 10% Max 25% Max Average 10% Min 25% Min CBD Local 2.68 5.70 4.26 38.5 18.6 28.1 Urban Local 3.51 9.14 6.46 30.5 17.6 23.8 Suburban Local 6.92 13.49 10.36 17.6 9.0 13.1 Express 4.53 10.10 7.45 46.7 19.6 32.5 Regional 5.28 18.08 11.98 27.1 16.0 21.3 skyRide 3.91 5.68 4.83 23.3 17.7 20.3 call-n-Ride 11.14 18.19 14.83 4.9 2.7 3.8 Mall 0.66 â â 261.7 â â Light Rail 3.77 â â 129.7 â â access-a-Ride 45.76 â â 1.4 â â Vanpool 1.84 â â 3.5 â â System 2008 3.52 â â 33.7 â â System 2007 3.70 â â 31.8 â â â = services not subject to the threshold. Table 28. 2008 RTD service standards.
â¢ Web booking and real-time customer notifications â¢ A true mobile Internet solution, with fully integrated Web and server-based applications The system uses Internet-connected mobile (tablet-sized) computers to continuously inform drivers of changes in the trip manifest. The application includes map-based navigation, collects operational data for reporting, and handles direct-to-driver telephone trip requests. During the site visit, the tablet computers were observed on board vehicles, with drivers making the expected adjustments from the previous routine of making scheduling decisions independently. Additional information on this technology is available from RTD. 4.6 Jacksonville Transportation Authority Flexible Transportation Services: Route Deviation and Demand-Responsive Connector The Jacksonville Expressway Authority was founded in 1955 and funded by toll revenues to build bridges and expressways in Duval County, Florida. In 1971, a merger of the original Expressway Authority and several private bus companies created what is now known as the Jack- sonville Transportation Authority (JTA). JTA provides public transportation services for resi- dents and visitors throughout the Jacksonville area. Approved in 1988, a half-cent sales tax ref- erendum was passed to eliminate the original toll funding. An additional voter-approved half-cent sales tax was passed in September 2000 to fund The Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.2 bil- lion infrastructure and quality-of-life improvement initiative. Overall Service Area Characteristics JTA is an independent state agency created by the state of Florida. JTA designs and constructs bridges and highways and provides public transportation services in Duval County, Florida, which includes the City of Jacksonville. The Jacksonville metropolitan area is located in the northeast corner of Florida, with three beach cities to the east bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Nassau County is located to the north, Baker County is located to the west, Clay County is southwest, and St. Johns County is southeast and borders the Atlantic Ocean. According to the 2000 Census, the area has a population of 795,566 and has three major Inter- state highways: I-295 around Jacksonville, I-95 north and south, and I-10 west. There are eight major bridges in the metropolitan area that span the St. Johns River, a waterway that flows through downtown Jacksonville and splits downtown into the Northbank and the Southbank. There are numerous other bridges that span the rivers that are located in the area. The City of Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County to encompass a land area of 841 square miles, making it the largest city in the continental United States in terms of land mass. Jacksonville ranks as the 14th largest city in the United States in population, with more than 850,000 residents. Jacksonvilleâs topography is flat, with a considerable amount of water, includ- ing the St. Johns and Trout Rivers, the Intercoastal Waterway, the Atlantic Ocean, and other creeks and marshlands. Jacksonville also has numerous railroad tracks that have impacts on liv- ing patterns and travel. CSX Transportation has its headquarters in downtown Jacksonville. Sev- eral military installations, including Mayport Naval Base on the northeast side and NAS (Naval Air Station) on the southwest side, are located in and around Jacksonville. The population density of the City of Jacksonville is approximately 1,000 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the City, as shown in Table 29, was 65.8 percent White, 27.8 percent African American, 0.3 percent American Indian, 2.7 percent Asian, 0.1 percent Pacific Islander, and 2.7 percent from other races. Hispanic or Latinos of any race were 4.1 percent of the population. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 67
Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics The demand-responsive connector service areas are large in land mass and are in the suburban areas to the north and south of downtown. The population densities in these areas are low, and there is a considerable amount of water and a number of Interstate highways and railroad tracks that affect travel. To the north of downtown, the Oceanway and Highlands-Airport Ride Request area, as shown in Figure 30, is bounded by water to the south (e.g., St. Johns and Broward Rivers, Dunn Creek), contains an island (Blount Island) and the Jacksonville International Airport, is traversed by Interstates I-95 and I-295 and numerous railroad tracks, and is far less dense than average for the Jacksonville area. To the south of downtown, the Avenues South Ride Request area has water to the south (Jul- ington Creek), also is traversed by Interstates I-95 and I-295 and numerous railroad tracks, and is far less dense than average for the Jacksonville area. The adjacent connector service, San Jose Ride Request is bounded by water to the west and south (St. Johns River and Julington Creek), is tra- versed by Interstate I-295 and numerous railroad tracks, and is far less dense than average for the Jacksonville area. The route deviation service, the Arlington Community Shuttle, is bounded by water to the north and west (St. Johns River), an airport to the east (Craig Muni), and a major highway to the south (Route 90). The service area is less dense than average for the Jacksonville area. The second route deviation service, the Baldwin Commuter Shuttle, parallels I-10 and railroad tracks to the west of downtown Jacksonville along Route 90 and services two low-density communities. Transit System Description for All Modes With its 762 employees, JTA operates several public transit services, including express and reg- ular bus service, the downtown 2.5-mile Skyway, trolley services, a Stadium Shuttle for various sporting and entertainment events at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and Coliseum, JTA 68 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Racial/ Ethnic Group Duval County Number Duval County Percent White 512,469 65.8 Black 216,780 27.8 American Indian and Alaska Native 2,598 0.3 Asian 21,137 2.7 Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 466 0.1 Other Race 10,170 1.3 Hispanic Origin* 31,946 4.1 Total Population 795,566 Source: 2000 U.S. Census. *Per the 2000 Census, people of Hispanic origin can be, and in most cases are, counted in two or more race categories. Table 29. Racial/ethnic breakdown of the City of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
Connexion for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, and Ride Request, which provides flexible public transportation service in several areas throughout the region. JTA operates a network of 47 fixed bus routes and four trolley routes that provide service weekdays from 3:34 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday service is operated from 4:27 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. JTAâs Connexion operates during the same days and hours as the fixed-route service. Additionally, JTAâs Skyway service is provided from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays. Service on the Skyway is only provided on Saturdays and Sundays in connection with special events. JTA operates a fleet of 162 buses for fixed-route service. The current peak requirement is for 135 vehicles. JTA has a fleet of 12 trolley buses for its trolley services and 9 vehicles for Ride Request service. JTA also has a fleet of 102 vans that are operated by its contractors for the Con- nexion. JTA has a fleet of 10 vehicles for the Skyway service. JTA operates the fixed-route service from the facility located at 100 Myrtle Avenue in the City of Jacksonville. Its fixed-route bus service is oriented to downtown Jacksonville and to six transfer stations. The Skyway system has eight stations. The Skyway operations and maintenance facilities are located at 725 Leila Street and 312 Bay Street in Jacksonville. The basic adult fare for fixed-route bus service is $1.00. Reduced fares are offered to senior cit- izens, persons with disabilities, and Medicare Card holders. Senior citizens ages 60 and older ride free with a Senior Identification Card or Medicare Card. Persons with disabilities pay $0.25 with Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 69 Source: JTA Figure 30. Oceanway and Highlands-Airport Ride Request area.
a Reduced Fare Card or Medicare Card. The fare on the Skyway system is $0.50 with a reduced fare of $0.10 for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. The fare for ADA paratransit ser- vice is zone-based but does not exceed twice the regular fixed-route fare. Table 30 shows the following financial and operating statistics for its fixed-route and paratransit service, as reported in JTAâs National Transit Database Report for FY 2008: JTA reported an annual ridership of 473,927 and annual vehicle revenue hours of 259,491 for its demand-responsive service. Table 31 shows key performance measures for all JTA services for FY 2007, 2008, and 2009. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Demand-Responsive Connector Ride Request is JTAâs demand-responsive connector service available upon reservation or request within a defined area and timeframe. Each Ride Request area has a telephone number for passengers to call to let the service know where to pick up and drop off and the time of travel. Customers requesting a trip are advised to call at least 2 hours in advance and are limited to no more than three grocery-sized bags. The rider must be near the curb at least 5 minutes prior to the arranged time. JTA also takes subscriptions for recurring trips. JTA operates all three of its demand-responsive connector services on weekdays and the Oceanway and Highlands Ride Request on weekdays and Saturdays. JTA offers a wide range of transit passes and tickets. The base cash fare for Ride Request is $2.00 each way per person. The fare is $1.00 for persons over 60 years of age and persons with disabilities. Children, ages 5 years and under, or less than 42 inches tall, ride free with an accompanying adult. All of the route devi- ation connector vehicles are ADA compliant. 70 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Finance and Operation Categories Fixed-Route Service Fixed Guideway Paratransit Service Unlinked Passengers 10,290,987 502,364 347,088 Revenue Hours 630,403 17,430 204,747 Operating Expenses $65,639,903 $6,249,168 $18,620,626 Table 30. 2008 National Transit Data Report for JTA. All Routes FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 (Estimates) Passengers 10,174,120 10,290,987 8,502,824 Total Expenses $60,981,288 $65,639,903 $65,639,903 Revenue Hours 633,474 657,530 549,790 Passenger Per Revenue Hour 16.1 15.7 15.5 Expense Per Hour $96.26 $99.83 $119.39 Total Expense per Passenger $6.00 $6.38 $7.72 Table 31. Selected performance measures for JTA.
Route Deviation JTA operates two route deviation routes, known as Shuttle routes. One of the routes, the Baldwin Commuter Shuttle, shown in Figure 31, operates as a deviated fixed route, with service between two areas, Macclenny and Baldwin, and downtown Jacksonville. The Arlington Community Shuttle operates primarily as a loop route in the Arlington com- munity, with route deviations in a specific area around the route. The Shuttles follow a fixed route within zones but may deviate off route upon request, always returning to their regular routes. Riders have the option of being picked up at a regular bus stop or scheduling a pick-up at other pre-approved locations and by advanced reservations. Off-route drop-offs are made by reservation, and locations are negotiated between the dispatcher and cus- tomer, as necessary. All of the route-deviation vehicles are ADA compliant. JTA reports that less than 1 percent of its total passenger trips involve the flexible or route-deviation feature. Customers requesting pick-up at an off-route designated bus stop are advised to call at least 2 hours in advance of the requested trip. JTA also takes subscriptions for recurring trips. Once on board a bus, riders can simply inform the driver of the location of the stop where they wish to be dropped off. The driver will honor an off-route stop if schedules allow and, in the case of the Baldwin Commuter Shuttle, will deviate one-half mile off Beaver Street. The base cash fare for the Baldwin Commuter Shuttle is $2.00 each way per person. The fare is $1.00 for persons over 60 years of age and persons with disabilities. There are $12 weekly passes and $40 monthly passes. There is not a surcharge for the Baldwin Commuter Shuttle off-route deviations. The base cash fare for the Arlington Community Shuttle is $1.00 each way per per- son. The fare is $0.25 for persons with a Connexion ID and free for persons 60 years of age and older. All route deviations are $0.50 per deviation. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service JTA provided draft service design standards for its Request Ride service, shown in Table 32. In areas of high density and low automobile ownership, JTA would operate fixed-route service within 1â4 mile of most residences. However, as densities decrease, JTA would operate more flex- ible service or no service. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 71 Source: JTA Figure 31. Baldwin Commuter Shuttle.
Ridership for flexible public transportation service routes are increasing annually, as shown in Table 33: Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Provide coverage to a large, low-density area â¢ Reduce or eliminate the expense of providing an ADA-complementary paratransit service â¢ Serve low demand times â¢ Balance customer access and routing efficiency â¢ Lay the groundwork for future fixed-route service â¢ Respond to community preferences and geography Marketing Strategies â¢ Ride Request information is included in system maps or âbus booksâ and on JTAâs website â¢ Specially designed brochures are used â¢ Presentations are made to community groups â¢ Specially designed print ads for Ride Request are posted 72 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Flexible Route Name FY 2007 Average Daily Ridership FY 2008 Average Daily Ridership FY 2009 Average Daily Ridership (to July 2009) Highlands Airport 96.4 108.6 120.3 Oceanway 16.4 62.5 45.3 Northside Weekend (Started Oct. 2007) 31.6 27.6 28.5 San Jose 23.3 24.5 26.5 Avenues South 39.4 52.4 60.2 Baldwin Commuter Shuttle 3.3 16.6 24.5 Arlington Community Shuttle (start Aug. 2008) N/A 101 96.0 Total Daily Ridership by Year 210.4 393.2 401.3 Table 33. JTA ridership for flexible transportation routes. Population Density (Persons Per Square Mile)Average Number of Automobiles per Household 4,000 and above 2,500â 3,999 1,000â 2,499 Under 1,000 Under 1.0 Fixed-route (1/4 Mile) Fixed-route (1/4 Mile) Connectors/ Loopers Ride Request 1.0â1.5 Fixed-route (1/4 Mile) Fixed-route (1/4 Mile) Connectors/ Loopers No service 1.6â2.0 Fixed-route (1/4 Mile) Fixed-route (1/2 Mile) Ride Request No service Over 2.0 Fixed-route (1/2 Mile) Fixed-route (1/2 Mile) Ride Request No service Table 32. Draft JTA service design standards.
Other Issues JTA did not report any other issues associated with its flexible public transportation services. 4.7 Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority Flexible Transportation Services: Zone Routes The South Carolina Electric and Gas Company operated the bus system in Charleston, South Carolina, until 1997 when the City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, Town of Mount Pleasant, and Charleston County joined together to create the Charleston Area Regional Trans- portation Authority or CARTA. CARTA provides public transportation services for residents and visitors throughout the Charleston area. In November 2004, a half-cent sales tax referendum was passed, providing CARTA with the revenue source to relaunch many of the services that had been eliminated or consolidated due to a lack of funding. CARTA added new routes and services such as CARTA Express and CARTA at Night, a premium zone route flexible transportation service. Operation and maintenance of CARTAâs fleet of vehicles, including the staffing and manag- ing of drivers as well as bus scheduling, is contracted out to two for-profit companies. Overall Service Area Characteristics The CARTA service area covers 73 square miles with a 2007 service area population of 630,100 persons. The CARTA system serves the downtown business district of the City of Charleston as well as neighborhoods and employment centers in North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and Charleston County. According to the 2000 Census update, there were 207,957 households and a population density of 996.5 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the CARTA service area was 65.1 percent White, 30.8 percent African American, 1.30 percent Asian, and 2.8 percent from other races. Hispanic or Latinos of any race were 2.40 percent of the population. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics CARTA operates four flexible zone routes that serve distinct areas in the Charleston Area. Zone Route 1, shown in Figure 32, is operated in North Charleston, which is a primarily suburban area bounded by the Ashley River on the west and the Cooper River on the east. CARTA at Night, Zone Route 2, shown in Figure 33, operates in an area known locally as the Peninsula. This area serves the original Charleston peninsula that includes the downtown area and extends to the Zone 1 boundaries. CARTA at Night, Zone Route 3, shown in Figure 34, operates in an area known locally as West Ashley. This area serves the city area west of the Peninsula and across the Ashley River from downtown. CARTA at Night, Zone Route 4, shown in Figure 35, operates in an area known locally as Mt. Pleasant. This area serves the area east of the Peninsula across the Cooper River and includes Mt. Pleasant, Sullivanâs Island, Fort Moultrie, and Isle of Palms. Transit System Description for All Modes CARTA operates local, express, and neighborhood routes from North Charleston to his- toric downtown Charleston and Mt. Pleasant to West Ashley. CARTA operates 24 fixed routes, two Express routes, and four flexible transportation routes known as CARTA at Night. CARTA Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 73
74 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Source: CARTA Figure 32. CARTA at Night Zone Route 1âNorth. Source: CARTA Figure 33. CARTA at Night Route 2âPeninsula. Source: CARTA Figure 34. CARTA at Night Zone Route 3âWest Ashley. Source: CARTA Figure 35. CARTA at Night Zone Route 4â Mt. Pleasant.
operates an ADA paratransit service known as Tel-A-Ride for passengers unable to get to a reg- ular bus stop. Tel-A-Ride operates a curbside service in a defined service area for those who meet the requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The agency also operates CARTA at Night, a flexible transportation service in four zones only during nighttime hours on week- days and Saturday. The regular fare is $1.50 for the fixed-route buses and the downtown area shuttles. The Express fare is $2.50. The CARTA at Night fare is $2.00 cash, or a CARTA Express Pass may be used. All other passes can be used with a $0.75 surcharge. Low income discount fares are available for those who qualify through an eligibility determination. Senior citizens aged 55 and above pay $0.75 for fixed-route and downtown shuttle services during off-peak hours on weekdays and all day Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Disabled patrons may ride fixed-route buses for $0.40 all day, every day of the week. Tel-A-Ride fares are $3.00 per trip. For all modes for 2008, CARTAâs ridership was 3,023,403, with annual vehicle revenue hours of 250,000. CARTA operated 57 peak-hour vehicles of varied sizes. CARTAâs operating budget was $12,263,988, and it had a total of 212 full- and part-time employees. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Zone Routes CARTA uses a fleet of six buses on its four flexible zone routes that operate after most regular bus service has ended. These routes serve urban and established suburban neighborhoods pri- marily in hard-to-serve areas in Mount Pleasant, the Peninsula, downtown, West Ashley, and North Charleston. Passengers may be transported to any point within the same zone or transfer to a vehicle serving another zone. All buses meet downtown at the Meeting and Saint Mary Street bus stop. The CARTA at Night service starts at 9:30 p.m. and ends at 1:00 a.m. Round trips take 60 to 90 minutes depending on the route. The buses meet and depart at set prescribed times at the downtown bus stop. CARTA at Night service is operated weekdays and Saturdays. CARTA At Night riders pay a single cash fare of $2.00 or use the CARTA Express Pass; all other passes may be used with a $0.75 surcharge. For 2008, CARTA at Night reported 32,239 in total ridership, 12,792 annual vehicle revenue hours, and an operating budget of $767,520. Passengers may ride within a zone or transfer to another vehicle serving a different zone. Pas- sengers may call and make a reservation for service or board at any established stop along the route. Passengers may also board any of the flexible route (zone) vehicles at the downtown transfer point without a reservation and just tell the driver where they wish to be taken. CARTA at Night does not serve off-route requests; pick-ups and drop-offs are only at established bus stops. Reservations can be made in advance to a reservation agent, and the agent can communicate with the driver via radio for pick-ups on short notice. CARTA uses small body-on-chassis vehicles for its late night zone flexible service. All of the buses are ADA compliant. CARTA operates a separate complementary ADA paratransit service. CARTA reports that it averages three riders per vehicle revenue hour on its flexible zone route service. Ridership has steadily increased, as shown in Table 34. CARTA at Night operates on weekdays and Saturdays, with no service on Sundays. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service CARTA did not report specific productivity standards for its flexible public transportation service. Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 75
76 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Route Name North Charleston Downtown West Ashley Mount Pleasant Totals FY 2007 Ridership 6,886 6,886 5,008 3,130 21,910 FY 2008 Ridership 10,955 6,573 6,573 8,138 32,239 FY 2009 Projected Ridership 11,894 10,955 6,260 7,512 36,621 Table 34. CARTA at Night ridership. Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Provide coverage to a large, low-density area â¢ Serve low demand times â¢ Lay the groundwork for future fixed-route service â¢ Respond to community preferences and geography Marketing Strategies â¢ Include information on CARTA at Night in system maps or âbus booksâ and on its website â¢ Use specially designed brochures â¢ Use presentations to community groups Other Issues â¢ Funding has been an issue but seems to be solved with the half-cent referendum for public transit. â¢ Comprehensive performance standards have been lacking. â¢ There are low ridership numbers on flexible routes. â¢ Reduced fares and farebox recovery ratios may hurt prospects for expanding fixed and flexi- ble routes. 4.8 Mountain Rides Transportation Authority Flexible Transportation Services: Request Stops (Service Discontinued) Mountain Rides Transportation Authority (Mountain Rides) is the merged entity that was formerly known as Kart/Peak Bus and Wood River Rideshare, located in Blaine County, Idaho. Mountain Rides provides public transportation services for residents and visitors throughout Blaine County and its adjacent communities. Mountain Rides provides a commuter bus route, a town bus route, ADA paratransit service, and a vanpool service. Mountain Rides previously provided a flexible transportation service but discontinued this service in October 2008. Even though Mountain Rides no longer provides a flexible transporta- tion service, this case study has been included for illustrating services provided in a rural, low- density community. Overall Service Area Characteristics The Mountain Rides service area covers 30 square miles with a 2008 population of 15,000 per- sons. The Mountain Rides system serves portions of Blaine County and the surrounding areas
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 77 of Ketchum, Bellevue, Hailey, Shoshone, Twin Falls, and Sun Valley. According to the 2000 Cen- sus, Blaine County had a population of 18,991 (2007 estimate: 21,560). The county seat and largest city is Hailey. There were 7,780 households and 4,839 families residing in the county. The population density of the service area was 500 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 90.73 percent White, 0.13 percent Black or African American, 0.33 percent Native American, 0.73 percent Asian, 0.07 percent Pacific Islander, 6.43 percent from other races, and 1.57 percent from two or more races. Nearly 11 percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics The area served by the request stop service was a sparsely populated mountainous area with winding roads. Transit System Description for All Modes MountainRidescurrentlyoperates two fixed routes, a vanpool service, and ADA-complementary paratransit service. The Valley Route is a commuter bus route that provides service between Bellevue and Sun Valley, with connecting stops through Ketchum and Hailey. The Valley Route operates weekdays, weekends, and holidays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The Town Route oper- ates fare-free service serving Warm Springs, Ketchum, Dollar, Elkhorn, Sun Valley, and River Run. The Town Route operates year round from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mountain Rides also operates a vanpool service in Blaine County for employees commuting into the Wood River Valley, including Ketchum, Twin Falls, Hailey, Shoshone, Jerome, and Sun Valley. Monthly fares range from $60 to $190. Mountain Rides also operates a door-to-door ADA paratransit service for residents in Ketchum and Sun Valley city limits. This service is provided free of charge to those who qualify under the Americans with Disability Act of 1991. The agencyâs fiscal 2009 budget is about $2.3 million, provided by Blaine County and local municipalities, federal grants, rider fares, and Sun Valley. For all services in FY 2008, Mountain Rides reported an annual ridership of 320,000, annual vehicle revenue hours of 24,000, and an operating budget of $2,023,500. Mountain Rides operated 11 peak-hour vehicles with 29 full- and part-time employees. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types OperatedâRequest Stops In 2008, Mountain Rides operated two summer bus routes, River Run and Warm Springs. The Warm Springs bus service operated at half-hour service frequencies from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 7 days a week. On the end of the Elkhorn Village portion of the route, passengers could request service to and from the Morning Star loop/Harker Center area. For pick-ups, passengers would call a telephone number in advance and the bus would be dispatched to the loop. To return to the loop, riders would request that the bus driver take them to the requested stop. There was no additional fare for the request stop service. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service Selected performance indicators for Mountain Rides are presented in Table 35.
78 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service There was only one policy objective, to serve low demand times. Marketing Strategies â¢ Included information about flexible transportation in system maps or âbus booksâ â¢ Used presentations to community groups â¢ Used targeted mailings Other Issues The primary reason Mountain Rides discontinued its flexible transportation service in Octo- ber 2008 was that they did not have the dispatch services to support the calls for pick-up. Requested drop-offs were fine once a passenger was on board, but having customers call to request a pick-up was cumbersome and ineffective for their organization, which has a limited administrative staff. Handling pick-up requests was especially hard after hours, when no one was in the office. Passengers were calling the driverâs cell phone, which was unsafe, and the calls did not always get answered. 4.9 South Central Adult Services Council, Inc. Flexible Transportation Services: Route Deviation, Zone Routes, and Demand-Responsive Connector South Central Adult Services located in North Dakota, is a not-for-profit corporation that has been in operation since May 1983. Its purpose is to create public awareness of elderly persons and their needs; to create an atmosphere in which elderly persons, with help, solve their own problems and meet their own needs; and to coordinate existing services and agencies. Overall Service Area Characteristics South Central Adult Services provides its transportation services to residents in the counties of Barnes, LaMoure, Foster, Logan, McIntosh, and Griggs. The population of the South Central Adult Services service area is approximately 28,687 and covers over 5,950 square miles for an overall density of less than five persons per square mile. Table 36 lists selected demographic char- acteristics of each county. Flexible Public Transportation Area Characteristics The flexible public transportation area characteristics are the same as the overall service area characteristics since the flexible services are operated throughout the entire service area. All Routes FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Passengers 321,157 305,086 355,431 276,672 Total Expenses $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,920,000 $1,750,000 Table 35. Mountain Rides performance indicators.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 79 Transit System Description for All Modes Transportation services are available throughout the counties served by South Central Adult Services. Transportation is available to take the general public to and from meal sites and for other purposes including medical appointments, shopping, recreation, schools, and personal needs. Figure 36 shows a sample of how information on the South Central Transit Network is provided to the public. South Central Adult Services provides several types of flexible public transportation services including demand-responsive connector, zone routes, route deviation for persons with disabil- ities, and route deviation for the general public in the counties served. South Central Adult Services provides rides on a first-call-first-served basis. Riders must schedule trips in advance since some vehicles will not operate service if there are no reservations or passengers. Riders are asked to call for reservations as far in advance as possible. Fares vary by trip type (medical, within cities, within zones, etc.) and county. The flexible service features are provided mostly in rural, hard-to-serve areas, with senior citizens and persons with disabilities as the primary users. Route deviation is allowed without any distance restrictions within the ser- vice area of a particular route. South Central Adult Services averages between one and four pas- sengers per revenue hour for its flexible service, depending upon the route, day of week, and loca- tion of service (county). Passengers desiring flexible transportation service must have a prior reservation or a called in request. Unscheduled transportation needs may be accommodated upon request by contacting a county outreach worker. In Barnes County, South Central Adult Services operates a demand-responsive service in Valley City weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a fare of $1.50 each way. There is also service from Valley City to Jamestown, Oriska, Sanborn, Rogers, Leal, Nome, Hastings, Fargo, and other locations on alternating days of the week and month. Fares range from $3.00 to $15.00 per round trip. In addition, taxi services are provided through South Central Adult Services in Valley City every day, 24 hours a day. InFosterCounty,demand-responsive service is provided within Carrington on weekdays only for $1.00 per trip. Demand-responsive connector service is provided to Fargo on the first Wednesday and third Tuesday of the month for $15.00 per round trip and to Bismarck on the third Wednesday of the month for $15.00 per round trip. Demand-responsive zone service is provided within Foster County for $5.00 per round trip, to Jamestown on various weekdays for $8.00 per round trip, and to New Rockford every Monday upon request for $5.00 per round trip. In Griggs County, demand-responsive service is provided within Cooperstown weekdays only for $1.00 per trip. Demand-responsive connector service is provided to Fargo every Thursday for $8.00 per round trip; to Valley City every second Tuesday for $6.00 per round trip; to Jamestown on the first and third Tuesday of the month for $3.00 per round trip; to Grand Forks, Mayville, County Population 2008 Estimates Households Land Area Square Miles Population Density Per Square Mile Barnes 10,282 4,884 1,4921.6 7.9 Foster 3,447 1,540 635.2 5.9 Griggs 2,358 1,178 708.5 3.9 LaMoure 3,986 1,942 1,147.2 4.1 Logan 2,308 963 992.6 2.3 McIntosh 2,639 1,467 975.2 3.5 Table 36. Selected South Central Adult Services area demographics.
80 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services and Hillsboro every fourth Tuesday for $8.00 per round trip. In addition, upon request, service is provided between Cooperstown and Binford, Sutton, and Hannaford for $3.00 per round trip. In LaMoure County, demand-responsive zone service is provided in LaMoure City weekdays only for $1.00. Demand-responsive connector service is provided to Fargo (second and fourth Thursdays) and to Bismarck (third Thursday) for $15.00 per round trip. Demand-responsive service is also provided to Valley City, Oakes, and Jamestown on alternate weekdays for $8.00 per round trip. Service is also provided to Aberdeen upon request for $10.00 per round trip. South Central Transit Network Transportation services are available throughout the counties served by South Central Adult Services. All vehicles display the name South Central Transit Network. Transportation is available to take the general public to and from meal sites and for other purposes which include: medical appointments, shopping, recreation, schools and personal needs. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available. Please make the dispatcher aware of this need when scheduling your ride. Normally, transportation services will not be available on legal holidays. Rides are provided on a first-call-first-served basis. You must schedule in advance since some trips do not go if there are no passengers. Call for reservations at the following numbers as far in advance as possible. Charges for each trip are posted in each vehicle. Barnes County DESTINATION SCHEDULE RESERVATIONS Jamestown Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 845-4300 Fargo Thursdays 845-4300 Local route to Rogers, Wimbledon, Sanborn, Leal, & Dazey 2nd & 4th Fridays. Reservations required 845-4300 1-800-472-0031 Local route to Kathryn, Nome, Fingal & Oriska 1st & 3rd Fridays. Reservations required. 845-4300 1-800-472-0031 Valley City (Local Service) Monday through Friday - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturday & Sunday - 9:00 am to 1:45 pm 845-4300 All Barnes county routes originate from Valley City. For special transportation needs, contact the Valley City Center at 845-4300. LaMoure County DESTINATION SCHEDULE RESERVATIONS Jamestown Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Reservations required. 742-2885 or 710-0745 Fargo 2nd & 4th Thursdays. Reservations required 742-2885 or 710-0745 Bismarck 3rd Thursdays. Reservations required. 742-2885 or 710-0745 Aberdeen, Ashley, Oakes, Wishek & Valley City, etc. 1st Thursday or each Monday or Friday of the month upon request. Reservations required. 742-2885 or 710-0745 Meal Sites: LaMoure, Kulm, & Edgeley Monday through Friday on serving days. 742-2885 or 710-0745 For special transportation needs, contact the outreach worker at 883-5088. Source: South Central Adult Services Council, Inc. Figure 36. South Central Adult Services sample schedules.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 81 In Logan County, demand-responsive service is provided within Napoleon every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for $1.00 per round trip. Demand-responsive connector service is provided to Bismarck every Wednesday and Friday for $8.00 per round trip and to Jamestown every Monday and the second and fourth Thursday for $10.00 per round trip. Service is provided to Wishek and Linton every Tuesday and Thursday upon request for $5.00 per round trip and to Aberdeen as needed for $10.00 per round trip. In McIntosh County, service is provided within Ashley every Monday, Wednesday, and Fri- day for $1.00 per round trip and within Wishek every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for $1.00 per ride. Demand-responsive connector service is provided from Wishek to Bismarck every Monday for $15.00 per round trip and from Wishek to Jamestown every Monday and third Thursday for $10.00 per round trip. Service is provided from Ashley to Bismarck every Thurs- day for $15.00 per round trip and between Ashley and Zeeland upon request for $3.00 per round trip. A shuttle service is provided to Zulm for connections to Jamestown and Fargo every Tues- day and the second and fourth Thursdays for $5.00 per round trip. Upon request, service is pro- vided to Aberdeen as needed for $10.00 per round trip. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated South Central Adult Services estimates that approximately one-third of its total ridership stems from the flexible service. South Central Adult Services reported annual ridership for flex- ible services at approximately 16,900 and annual vehicle hours of 10,400. For the flexible services provided, South Central Adult Services operated 11 vehicles (vans and small chassis buses) with an annual budget of $166,900 and 16 full- and part-time employees. Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service In FY 2008, South Central Adult Services reported an annual ridership of 62,738, annual vehi- cle revenue hours of 30,680, and an operating budget of $650,853. South Central Adult Services operated 22 vehicles with 33 full- and part-time employees. Table 37 shows selected operational statistics for transportation services provided by South Central Adult Services in FY 2008. In FY 2008, average passengers per hour were 1.1, which is comparable to many purely demand-response services in urban areas. Reasons for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service â¢ Provide coverage to a large, low-density area â¢ Respond to community preferences and geography County Name Ridership Vehicle Miles Average Cost Per Ride ($) Barnes 38,981 182,074 7.02 Foster 4,041 23,369 19.29 Griggs 4,014 41,719 14.01 LaMoure 3,420 45,837 16.48 Logan 3,647 58,264 24.51 McIntosh 8,635 72,894 7.67 Table 37. Selected FY 2008 South Central Adult Services operational statistics.
82 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Marketing Strategies â¢ Information on flexible services included on website â¢ Information on flexible services presented to community groups Other Issues South Central Adult Services did not report any other issues. 4.10 Omnitrans Flexible Transportation Services: Zone Routes, Demand-Responsive Connector Omnitrans was created in 1976 by a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) among the County of San Bernardino and the cities of Chino, Colton, Fontana, Loma Linda, Montclair, Ontario, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Upland. Since that time, five additional cities (Chino Hills, High- land, Grand Terrace, Rancho Cucamonga, and Yucaipa) have joined and make up the current JPA. Omnitrans was created primarily to provide a standardized system of fares, a universal sys- tem of transfers, and expanded transit services and facilities for the benefit of the residents of its member cities. Overall Service Area Characteristics San Bernardino County can be divided into three distinct regions. The High Desert represents approximately 90 percent of the county area. The Mountain region encompasses the San Bernardino National Forest and portions of the San Gabriel National Forest to the south of the desert regions. The San Bernardino Valley encompasses the valley south of the Mountain region, bordered by the Los Angeles County line to the west and the Riverside County line to the south. Orange County also borders San Bernardino County at the southwestern end of the county at Chino Hills State Park. The Omnitrans service area covers over 456 square miles and serves the urbanized area of the San Bernardino Valley region of the county with a population close to 1.3 million. The service area includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa in the East Valley (east of I-15) and Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Upland in the West Valley (west of I-15). The overall population density of the service area is 3,070 persons per square mile. According to the 2000 Census, the racial makeup of the San Bernardino Valley was 55.4 per- cent White, 9.7 percent African American, and 5.5 percent Asian. Hispanic or Latinos of any race were 44.6 percent of the population. The City of San Bernardino has a high percentage of per- sons that live below the poverty level (27.6 percent) and have limited access to private vehicles. On the other hand, Chino Hills has the lowest rate of poverty (5.1 percent) and a higher rate of multiple private vehicle ownership per household when compared to other areas. Yet the pro- portion of public transportation use is not as low in Chino Hills (2.0 percent) as it is in other areas in the Valley. Both Yucaipa (0.7 percent) and Grand Terrace (0.8 percent) residents tend to use public transit less and tend to drive alone to work. This is the result of numerous trans- portation options (e.g., commuter rail, express bus service, etc.) into job-rich destinations to the west and limited transit options and job opportunities to the east. The demographics of the Omnitransâ member cities are presented in Table 38.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 83 Flexible Public Transportation Service Area Characteristics Omnitrans currently operates flexible public transportation service on two routes in the com- munities of Chino Hills and Yucaipa. As shown in Table 38, Chino Hills encompasses 44.88 square miles with a population of 71,849 persons. The population density is 1,600 persons per square mile. The median age in Chino Hills is 32. Eighty-five percent of residents live in owner-occupied homes, and residents have an average median income of $93,133 per year. Yucaipa is a comparable com- munity of 27.5 square miles with a population of 49,388 and densities of 1,796 persons per square mile. The median age of Yucaipa residents is 36. Seventy-six percent of residents live in owner- occupied homes, and residents have an average median income of $45,044 per year. Over 90 per- cent of residents in both communities have access to at least one vehicle. Transit System Description for All Modes According to its Short Range Transit Plan: FY 2008â2013 (IBI Group et al. 2007), Omnitrans carried nearly 15 million passengers and operated nearly 800,000 revenue hours. It used a fleet of 273 vehicles and employed 719 persons with a total operating budget of $72,279,817. The basic cash fare was $1.35. Omnitransâ fixed-route transit system provides scheduled, general public service along planned, predetermined routes in accordance with established frequencies. Those frequencies are generally based on passenger volumes: enough people have to ride each bus so that produc- tivity and farebox recovery standards are met. Based on the 2006 Omnitrans On-Board User Intercept Survey (Omnitrans, 2006), the typical Omnitrans fixed-route rider is between the ages of 20 and 49 (66 percent), has an income less than $20,000 (52 percent), and is equally likely to be male or female. The typical user is classified as transit-dependent, meaning they do not have access to an automobile to complete the needed trip. Only 15 percent of those surveyed reported that an automobile was available for their trip. Only 36 percent of users are in possession of a driverâs license; of the remainder, 73 percent have at least one licensed driver in their household. City Square Miles 2006 Population Density (persons per sq. mile) Median Income ($) % >65 Years % With No Vehicles Chino 18.59 73,343 3,945 68,705 5.4 4.8 Chino Hills 44.88 71,849 1,600 93,133 6.3 1.4 Colton 15.90 51,045 3,210 42,362 10.8 10.8 Fontana 35.78 160,015 4,472 58,481 3.0 3.0 Grand Terrace 3.60 12,227 3,396 64,552 10.7 3.5 Highland 13.62 50,236 3,688 48,050 6.5 9.9 Loma Linda 7.80 21,592 2,767 43,856 15.4 11.2 Montclair 5.20 34,679 6,669 47,026 8.3 8.6 Ontario 36.76 170,373 4,635 46,344 7.5 5.0 Rancho Cucamonga 37.70 141,586 3,755 71,967 7.1 4.9 Redlands 35.98 70,324 1,954 52,111 9.9 4.9 Rialto 21.80 97,524 4,473 50,446 4.5 5.8 San Bernardino 59.85 198,322 3,313 33,915 6.9 10.5 Upland 15.01 73,697 4,909 57,194 11.1 4.7 Yucaipa 27.50 49,388 1,796 45,044 15.5 8.4 Table 38. Selected demographics of Omnitransâ member cities.
84 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services Omnitrans operates 29 fixed bus routes, including 17 routes in the East Valley (east of I-15), 11 routes in the West Valley (west of I-15), and one regional express route to the City of River- side. TransCenters are a key component of Omnitrans service. Omnitransâ service is designed on a hub-and-spoke principle where the TransCenter functions as the hub and routes radiate out to major destinations. Transfers typically occur at these hubs but also occur at timed transfer points throughout the region. There are two types of TransCenters: on-street facilities and off-street facilities. TransCenters are located near major destinations, downtowns, and civic centers. With the opening of the Chino TransCenter in FY 2005, Omnitrans has a total of 13 TransCenters, including TransCenters located in Pomona, Montclair, Ontario, and South Fontana, and the Fourth Street Transit Mall located in downtown San Bernardino. The remaining TransCenters include Montclair Plaza, Redlands Mall, Inland Center Mall, Ontario Mills Mall, Chino Trans- Center, Fontana Metrolink Station, Ontario Airport, and the Arrowhead Regional Medical Cen- ter. Each TransCenter varies in size and amenities. Omnitrans operates complementary paratransit services known as Access, in accordance with ADA requirements. Flexible Public Transportation Service Description for All Types Operated Zone Routes and Demand-Response Connector OmniLink is a general public dial-a-ride service designed for low-density service areas. OmniLink was introduced as a new Omnitrans program in Yucaipa in 1993 to provide coverage in low-density and low-demand areas that are difficult to serve with fixed-route transit. Service in Chino Hills was started in January 2002. Both OmniLink services are described below. Chino Hills OmniLink. This is a dial-a-ride service for Chino Hills west of SR-71 to the county line. Chino Hills OmniLink is pulsed (formally scheduled) to meet OmniLink Route 65 at the Chino Hills Marketplace. Chino Hills OmniLink provides demand-response service within the corporate boundaries of Chino Hills (see Figure 37). A shuttle service is operated on weekdays between Chino Hills and the City of Chino to provide access to the Chino Senior Center. The weekday service is scheduled to depart outbound from Chino Hills at 10:00 a.m. and inbound from the Chino Senior Center at 1:00 p.m. and only operates if requested in advance. Yucaipa OmniLink. Yucaipa OmniLink serves Yucaipa and Calimesa (areas served origi- nally by the Yucaipa/Calimesa Dial-A-Ride, which started in 1993). Yucaipa OmniLink provides demand-response service within the corporate boundaries of Yucaipa and for trips between Yucaipa and neighboring Calimesa (see Figure 38). Service is provided for Calimesa trips that either originate or end in Yucaipa. Service is not provided for trips that begin and end within Calimesa. In both Chino Hills and Yucaipa, service is provided Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Service is not provided on New Yearâs Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Trip bookings can be made 30 minutes before and after service start and end times. Advance reservations can be made up to 3 days in advance. âRepeaterâ subscription bookings can be made for one calendar month for trips that occur at least 3 days a week (same time between the same origin and destination). Same day bookings are accommodated on a space-available basis. All advance and repeater bookings are confirmed at the time of the booking and entered into Trapeze PASS as an unassigned trip (not assigned to a run). There is no route optimization using Trapeze PASS. OmniLink route optimization can be implemented in conjunction with Access
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 85 operating procedures. Additional Trapeze PASS training may be required for those First Tran- sit staff responsible for OmniLink scheduling and dispatch. A single scheduler/dispatcher handles both OmniLink services. The scheduler/dispatcher is responsible for booking, scheduling, and dispatching each trip. With Yucaipa OmniLink, all trips are assigned to a run on the day of service. With Chino Hills OmniLink, most assignments are made the day before service is required. For Chino Hills, driver manifests are posted at 5:00 p.m. the night before. Same day bookings in Chino Hills are assigned by the dispatcher on the day of service. Trip assignments are made via Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) and cell phone voice dispatch. Trip assignments are often made 1 or 2 hours out from the pick-up time. A 40-minute pick- up window is used for trip assignment. Using Trapeze PASS software and a split screen, the schedulers/dispatchers drag individual trips from the unassigned list to a particular route. Trip assignments appear on the MDT screen. Drivers update the electronic dispatch lists via the MDTs and maintain a paper trip sheet as backup. Although vehicles are equipped with Auto- matic Vehicle Locator (AVL) technology, this technology is not fully used in the trip assignment process. Both service areas are rather compact, and the dispatchers assign trips based on their knowledge of the service area. OmniLink is a general public, dial-a-ride service. No preregistration is required. Trip book- ing information is recorded when a passenger books the first trip. Source: Omnitrans Figure 37. OmniLink Chino Hills service area.
86 A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services In addition to providing policy-based service coverage in low-density areas, OmniLink ser- vice is designed to provide feeder service to/from Omnitrans fixed-route bus service. Currently, only Chino Hills is pulsed to make connections with fixed-route service. Both OmniLink ser- vices are operated under contract, currently with First Transit. Under the terms of the service agreement, Omnitrans is responsible for service vehicles and the provision of facilities, schedul- ing hardware and software, service and policy planning, administrative oversight, customer rela- tions, and budget planning. First Transit is responsible for hiring, training, and supervising all scheduling/dispatch and operations and maintenance staff; processing all trip requests; and maintaining and operating all service vehicles in accordance with Omnitrans specifications. The cash fare for OmniLink routes is $3.00, with 10-ticket booklets available at a 10-percent discount. Farebox recovery ratios in FY 2009 were 7.66 percent for the Chino Hills OmniLink and 8.91 percent for the Yucaipa OmniLink. A total of eight vehicles are used on the Yucaipa and Chino Hills OmniLink routes during peak periods. According to the 2007 Short-Range Transit Plan, OmniLink dispatchers identified school, shopping, and medical trips as the key trip purposes for both OmniLink services. The dispatch- ers identified students and senior citizens as key market segments. The data suggest a high use by seniors (over 59 percent for Chino Hills and 52 percent for Yucaipa). A review of an OmniLink trip report produced by Trapeze PASS in November 2006 strongly suggested the underrepresen- tation of general public passengers and a possible overrepresentation of senior citizen ridership. From the review of November 2006 data, 59 percent of Chino Hills OmniLink trips and 21 percent of Yucaipa OmniLink trips were made by students. Source: Omnitrans Figure 38. OmniLink Yucaipa service area.
Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 87 Productivity Standards and Measures for Flexible Public Transportation Service Omnitrans has established the following performance standards for OmniLink routes, shown in Table 39. A schedule of liquidated damages and incentives has been established for each OmniLink ser- vice based on productivity and on-time performance. Policy Objectives for Implementing Flexible Public Transportation Service OmniLink was introduced as a new Omnitrans program in 1993 to provide coverage in low- density and low-demand areas that are difficult to serve with fixed-route transit. Marketing Strategies â¢ Include information on OmniLink in system map or âbus bookâ â¢ Use specially designed brochures â¢ Use presentations to community groups Other Issues Omnitransâ 2007 SRTP identified a decrease in farebox recovery ratios for both OmniLink routes, even as ridership increased. Omnitrans did not decrease service, but hopes to make pro- ductivity enhancements through scheduling improvements. Passengers Per Revenue Hour Route Goal Minimum FY 2009 Actual Chino Hills 3.00 2.30 2.91 Yucaipa 4.20 3.5 3.12 Table 39. Omnitransâ OmniLink performance standards.