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Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey Results

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25425.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25425.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25425.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25425.
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13 C H A P T E R 3 This section summarizes findings from the 38 surveys completed by transit agency staff. The goal of this survey is to collect new details about transit agency–TNC partnerships, particularly information about the process of forming such relationships. The responses facilitate the creation of the Partnership Playbook—specific and practical guidance for other transit agencies inter- ested in developing programs of their own. Responses received varied by engagement status: • 14 exploration or active procurements • 14 active pilots • 5 active permanent service offerings • 4 concluded or eliminated projects • 1 invalid response Although 38 surveys were completed, not all questions were answered, particularly those related to data sharing. This pointed to a disconnect, at least in early partnerships studied in this report, between transit agencies’ and TNCs’ data needs. The following chapter summarizes results from the transit agency survey. Full results can be found in Appendix B. Basic Partnership Information The survey asked transit agencies a series of questions related to basic information about their partnership(s) with TNC(s). The intent of these questions was to establish a baseline understand- ing of the most common types of partnerships and the conditions in which they operate. These questions focused on partnership goals, exchange of funds (if any), the TNCs involved in the partnership, local political and/or financial factors that supported the partnership’s development, and any challenges encountered as a result of the partnership. • Partnership goals. The top three respondent goals for developing a partnership are to provide first mile/last mile connections (75%), demonstrate innovation (69%), and improve customer experience (61%). See Figure B-4. • Exchange of funds. As shown in Figure B-1, 78% of responding transit agencies’ partner- ships involve direct transactions between respondents and TNCs and 22% do not involve any exchange of funds. • TNC partners. As shown in Figure B-2, transit agency respondents to the survey more com- monly partner with Lyft than Uber for both single customer and carpool options. Overall, among respondents, partnerships with Lyft and UberX are more common than carpool options (Lyft Line and UberPOOL). It is not known if this is reflective of the partnership market overall. Transit Agency Survey Results

14 Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) • Local opportunities that made specific transit agency–TNC partnerships possible include transit agency champions, political support, unique funding sources, and unsolicited proposals from TNCs (Figure B-5). • Challenges. According to respondents, the top three challenges that respondents face in pre- paring for TNC partnerships are providing access for wheelchairs or over-sized mobility devices (88%), providing access to non-smartphone users (79%), and limiting liability to the transit agency (64%). See Figure B-6. Operational Characteristics The survey asked transit agency respondents several questions about the operating environ- ments in which their partnership(s) with TNC(s) took place. These questions related to the transit agency’s existing service offerings apart from the partnership(s), the type of service area in which they operate (e.g., urban, suburban, or rural), the partnerships’ target customers, and the marketing/outreach efforts that supported the partnerships’ implementation. • Service area. Most respondents indicated that their partnerships operate in suburban (69%) and urban areas (61%), as opposed to rural or campus areas (Figure B-7). • Target customers. Respondents’ partnerships most commonly targeted people with disabilities (57%) and people in areas with limited transit access and/or service (51%) (Figure B-8). • Marketing/outreach. The top three marketing methods/media among respondents are website, social media, and local news media (Figure B-9). Regulatory Considerations Transit agency respondents were asked about the regulatory conditions under which their TNC partnership(s) operated. The regulatory considerations included drug/alcohol testing, criminal background checks with fingerprinting, and liability insurance. While the transit agency survey does not directly address Title VI and ADA compliance, these issues were often a topic of discussion during case study interviews and are discussed at length in Chapter 4. Regulatory considerations are particularly relevant for transit agencies that seek to use particular funding sources to operate partnerships with TNCs, as the funding agreements may be contingent upon additional regulatory requirements. It is important to note that the following survey responses indicate only transit agency perceptions of the regulatory considerations; actual requirements of federal, state, and local authorities may differ. A summary of transit agency perceptions of these regulatory consider- ations is provided here: • Drug and alcohol testing. Over half of respondents indicated that TNC drivers are not required to undergo drug/alcohol testing. Nearly one-third are required to due to existing local or state requirements (Figure B-11). • Fingerprinting. More than half of respondents do not require fingerprinting for TNC driver criminal background checks. Nearly a quarter are required to conduct fingerprinting due to local or state requirements (Figure B-12). • Liability insurance. Fifty-three percent of partnerships do not require partners to obtain additional liability insurance, whereas 29% do (Figure B-13). To legally enter into partnerships with TNC(s), transit agencies must ensure that TNCs comply with any existing regulations on for-hire vehicles in their respective jurisdictions. TNCs have their own policies on drug/alcohol testing, criminal background checks, and liability

Transit Agency Survey Results 15 insurance. Local municipal policies might be more stringent than TNC’s standard policies, such as in New York City. Contracting and Data Sharing The survey asked respondents to describe the types of contract agreements they created with TNCs, if any. These agreements warrant careful consideration because they control the respondents’ access to data from the partnerships. The range and specificity of data available to respondents may, in turn, affect respondents’ ability to report key performance metrics from the partnership(s) as well as secure funding from local, state, and federal sources. Findings from respondents’ experience with contracting and data sharing are provided here: • Legal agreements. The majority of respondents (82%) entered into some form of legal agreement with a TNC(s). Most agreements were full contracts (84%). More than 40% included non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and 16% included data-sharing/use agree- ments (Figure B-14). When asked to provide a copy of their TNC agreements, only five respondents uploaded a copy, likely due to signed NDAs. • Contract templates. Nearly half of respondents (42%) used a contract template provided by the TNC(s). The remaining used their own template or used a combination of both (Figure B-15). • Data sharing. Over 60% of respondents have access to data from all partners, 16% receive data from some partners, while 21% do not receive any data (Figure B-16). When asked specifics regarding the type of data, frequency of data received, and if data could be shared, many respondents did not provide a response. Third-Party Providers In addition to TNCs, many respondents partner with third-party transportation providers11 to supplement the needs of the partnership(s) they operate. Third-party providers often fulfill mobility needs that TNCs are unwilling or unable to meet, such as wheelchair-accessible trans- portation for people with disabilities, telephone-based dispatch services for people who lack access to smartphones, and cash fare payment options for unbanked riders. The survey asked respondents to describe the nature of their contracts with third-party providers, if any. Just seven of 37 respondents answered these questions, and the results are summarized here: • Other transportation service providers. In addition to TNCs, respondents also partner with taxi operators (39%), human services transportation providers (13%), and non-emergency medical transportation providers (13%). About one-third of partnerships involve only TNCs (see Figure B-3). • Legal agreements. All respondents who reported partnerships with third parties (n = 9) entered into a legal agreement with the TNC partner and involved an exchange of funds between the transit agency and the TNC. Seven of nine had formal data-sharing agreements with the third party. • Data sharing. The majority of respondents (78%) indicated that they receive access to data from third-party providers. As shown in Figure B-18, all respondents receive data on total program costs and total trips. The majority also receive data on the number of unique cus- tomers, disaggregated data on trip time of day/day of week, and average fare per trip. Most respondents (86%) report a formal agreement/contract provision to provide certain datasets and receive data at least once a month (Figure B-19). When asked if they were able to share data with third parties or the general public, all indicated “yes,” and 57% were able to do so with some restriction (e.g., rider information is confidential).

16 Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) Program Evaluation The survey asked respondents to report on how they are evaluating their partnership(s) with TNCs, and results are summarized here: • Formal evaluation. Only 27% of responding transit agencies have developed a formal evalu- ation process for their partnership (Figure B-20). • Evaluation metrics. Common evaluation metrics include customer satisfaction, cost per trip, overall cost, and overall ridership (Figure B-21). • Feedback methods. Transit agencies are reliant on TNCs to collect customer feedback, with 87% of responding transit agencies indicating this as a source; 47% developed an online survey distributed to known participants. (Figure B-22).

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Research Report 204: Partnerships Between Transit Agencies and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) is designed to help transit agencies that have decided to pursue partnerships with one or more TNCs. The report provides information on where, when, and how partnerships between transit agencies and TNCs should be considered and pursued.

As new mobility service providers emerge, many public transit agencies have partnered, or are in the process of partnering, with such providers. Among these providers are TNCs. While partnerships between transit agencies and private mobility providers are not new, partnerships with TNCs create unique opportunities and challenges as both parties work toward mutually beneficial program models.

TCRP Report 204 provides 20 in-depth case studies of partnerships between transit agencies and TNCs. Its Partnership Playbook synthesizes lessons learned from these case studies and provides step-by-step practical guidance for transit practitioners on how they should be considered and pursued.

The report provides an up-to-date guide on partnerships between transit agencies and TNCs in all stages of development and realization. It covers partnerships developed with several target markets in mind, including:

  • First/last-mile connections to transit;
  • Customers of ADA Paratransit and Demand-Response Services;
  • People traveling in lower density environments;
  • People with late night travel needs; and
  • People with occasional trip needs (e.g. guaranteed ride home).
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