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46 APPENDIX A Survey Questionnaire TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Synthesis Topic SB-09 OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCES WITH FLEXIBLE TRANSIT SERVICES Questionnaire PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND Your cooperation is requested in compiling a synthesis of the current use of flexible transit services. This synthesis aims to help transit systems understand how the appropriate use of flexible service may help them accomplish their missions. For purposes of this project, âflexible transit servicesâ includes all types of hybrid services that are not pure dial-a-ride service (including ADA paratransit) or fixed-route service, but that fall somewhere in between these traditional service models. In other words, the services of interest have some established stop locations and/or some established schedule, combined with some degree of demand-responsive operation. This definition includes route deviation services and other service types. If your agency operates flexible transit service, please complete this questionnaire and return it by mail or fax to: David Koffman Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates 833 Market Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94103 Tel: (415) 284-1544 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (415) 284-1554 An electronic copy of the questionnaire is available at http://www.nelsonnygaard.com/flexible. Person completing this questionnaire Name and Title: Name of Agency: Address: In the following questions, multiple responses are permitted: for each question that calls for choosing a response, circle the letters of all the answers that apply.
47 PART 1âSERVICE DESIGN 1. Briefly describe your flexible service(s). (If you operate more than one type of flexible service, please describe each type of service separately. Attach any brochures or marketing material that may be helpful.) Name(s) of service(s): Description(s): 2. In what year did your agency begin operating flexible service? 3. Which of the following best describes the operating method of your flexible service(s)? (If a service combines multiple methods, circle all that apply.) a. Fixed-route and schedule with limited off-route deviations mainly for passengers with disabilities b. Fixed-route and schedule with off-route deviations on request for the general public c. Demand-responsive operation connecting to conventional fixed-route at a timed transfer point d. Vehicles operating in fixed-route mode switch to some form of flexible operation for a portion of their route or in a designated area e. Fixed-route operated only on request f. Other: 4. Can passengers be picked up without a called-in request or prior reservation? a. No b. Yes, at any established stop along a route c. Yes, at a fixed-route transfer location d. Yes, at a limited number of designated locations within a demand-responsive service area e. Other: 5. Can passengers request demand-responsive pick-ups (i.e., pick-ups at locations away from a scheduled stop or route)? a. No b. Yes, through a dispatch center c. Yes, directly with drivers (e.g., by cell phone) d. Yes, by prior subscription or standing-order reservation e. Other: 6. Where will passengers be picked up for a demand-responsive service request? a At any safe location within the designated area of service b Only at designated points within the area of service c. Other: 7. Compared to the desired time of the pick-up, when are demand-responsive service requests accepted? a. At least before the time of service b. No more than before the time of service 8. Can passengers request demand-responsive drop-offs (i.e., at non-prescheduled locations)? a. No b. Yes, through a dispatch center c. Yes, by prior reservation made directly with the driver d. Yes, with the driver at the time of boarding e. Yes, by prior subscription or standing order f. Other:
48 9. Where will passengers be dropped off for a demand-responsive service request? a. At any safe location within the designated area of service b. Only at designated points within the area of service c. Other: 10. Compared to the desired time of the drop-off, when are demand-responsive service requests accepted? a. At least before the time of service b. No more than before the time of service 11. How is/are the demand-responsive service area(s) defined (e.g., a band around a route, a zone marked on a map, etc.)? 12. At scheduled departure points what is the average headway, in minutes, between vehicles? a. Peak periods: b. Midday: c. Evenings: d. Nights: e. Weekends: 13. During what types of hours does the flexible service operate? a. Similar to fixed-route base level of service b. Midday c. Evening d. Night e. Early morning f. Weekends 14. Is there any difference in fare structure for flexible service and local bus service? a. No b. Yes. If yes Flexible service fare(s): Local bus fare(s): PART 2âSERVICE COORDINATION 15. How is the flexible service coordinated with conventional fixed-route service? a. Scheduled transfers b. Guaranteed transfers based on coordination in real time by drivers and/or dispatchers c. Free transfers d. Other: 16. In the area(s) with flexible service, do you also provide separate specialized paratransit for people with disabilities? (See also next question on this subject.) a. Yes b. No 17. Is the flexible service coordinated with specialized paratransit for people with disabilities in any of the following ways? a. Shared use of vehicles b. Scheduled or dispatched by the same staff c. Trip sharing: individual trips may be traded between services d. Other:
49 PART 3âPLANNING AND MARKETING 18. In what types of areas is flexible service provided? a. Urban b. Established suburban c. Low-density or recently developed suburban d. Small town e. Rural 19. Describe the role of the flexible service in your overall service plan. a. Primary service in a large area b. Primary service in limited âhard-to-serveâ areas c. Replaces conventional service during low-demand times in a large area d. Replaces conventional service during low-demand times in limited areas e. Other: 20. What types of riders are the principal users of the service? a. Commuters b. Students c. Seniors d. Youth e. People with disabilities f. Other: 21. Please describe the circumstances that first led to introducing flexible service (e.g., financial circumstances, ridership trends, development, construction, service expansion, local politics, etc.). 22. Currently, what are the objectives or goals served by flexible service? 23. Please describe any special methods you have used to market this service and to educate the public about how it works. PART 4âPERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS 24. Basic service statistics: Flexible Conventional Annual ridership (unlinked boardings): ____________ ____________ Annual vehicle revenue hours: ____________ ____________ Peak vehicles operated: ____________ ____________ Time period of these data: ____________ ____________
50 25. What is the productivity, measured as boardings per vehicle revenue hour, on your flexible services? (If this measure is not available, provide another measure and state what it is.) a. Poorest performing service: b. Best performing service: c. Average: 26. Is there a minimum ridership level that you consider necessary for retaining a flexible service? If so, what is it? (If possible, please state ridership in terms of boardings per vehicle revenue hour.) 27. Is this minimum level different from your minimum threshold for local bus services? If so, in what way is it different? 28. Is there a maximum ridership level above which you would not consider flexible service to be a viable alternative to conventional fixed-route service? If so, what is it? 29. What is the average operating cost for your flexible services, and how does this compare to similar measures for other services? (If possible, please state operating cost as operating cost per vehicle revenue hour.) a. Flexible: b. Conventional fixed-route, local, bus: c. General public dial-a-ride: d. Specialized paratransit: 30. Are any of the following used to control the operating cost of your flexible services? Used for flexible? (mark if yes) Used for other services? (please indicate which) a. Contracting b. Special driver wage provisions c. Sharing vehicles with other services PART 5âOPERATIONS 31. Please describe how any of the following types of equipment or materials are used to manage demand-responsive operations. (Mark each item that is used and describe briefly the procedures that apply to it.) a. Voice radio b. Digital communications to/from mobile data terminals c. Cell phones d. Printed manifests or trip sheets e. Manual mapping aids for planning vehicle tours f. Scheduling and dispatch software g. Interactive voice response telephone system h. Internet i. Automatic vehicle location
51 32. In a typical hour (60 minutes) of vehicle operation in flexible service, approximately how many minutes are allotted for: a. Traveling between scheduled stops, including serving passengers at these stops: b. Serving demand-responsive service requests: c. Recovery time: 33. Please describe any special training provided to personnel that operate flexible services that are different than the training provided to staff that operate other services. a. Drivers: b. Schedulers or dispatchers: 34. How are drivers selected to operate the flexible service? 35. What type(s) of vehicles is/are operated in flexible service (e.g., make, model, seating capacity, lift/ramp equipped, wheelchair capacity)? 36. Why were these vehicles selected? Do you consider them appropriate? 37. Which of the following describes the use of vehicles for flexible service? a. Specific vehicles are dedicated to flexible service. b. Vehicles used in flexible service are also used in other services. Which services? PART 6âBARRIERS AND OPPORTUNITIES 38. Have you encountered any barriers that may have prevented you from implementing flexible service in places where it appeared to be appropriate? a. No b. Yes. Please describe: 39. Do you see any further opportunities to implement flexible services? a. No b. Yes. Please describe: 40. Do you foresee any barriers that would have to be overcome in order to implement these services? a. No b. Yes. Please describe:
52 41. Have you had to discontinue any flexible services? a. No b. Yes. To what do you attribute the failure of this service? 42. To what do you attribute the level of success that you have had with flexible service? 43. Is there anything else you would like to add that may be helpful to other transit systems considering flexible services? Thank you for your help.