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Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning a Path Forward Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning.

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Presentation on theme: "Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning a Path Forward Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning a Path Forward Discussion of Prince William County’s Ongoing Transit Support Fashioning a Path Forward Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission April 3, 2014

2 Background PRTC bus services unsustainable beyond FY 2016 without a Prince William supplement to its motor fuels tax Required supplement quantified in PRTC’s proposed FY 2015 budget / six year plan presented in January 2014 More recent discussions with PRTC Board Chair and County Executive to discuss next steps – leading to today’s presentation

3 Presentation Aims Furnish an explicit description of service cuts that would be required and their impacts in lieu of a supplement (based on a simplified analysis) Describe alternative courses of action that can be taken to resolve whether a supplement will be forthcoming – Conclude -- based on the results of the simplified analysis being presented today -- that a supplement to avert service cuts is warranted and will be provided – Deferring judgment and proceeding down a path of contemplating service cuts to avert the need for a supplement

4 How Did We Get Here? Prince William’s motor fuels tax yield has been less than the County’s VRE & PRTC expenses for many years, so it supplemented with a general fund appropriation until FY 2009 (avg. of $1.4 M/year) Since the supplement ceased, the annual shortfall has been covered by the motor fuels tax fund balance, but fund balance will be fully depleted by FY 2017 Concern about service sustainability has been raised twice before, but temporary reprieves delayed the day of reckoning – Federal stimulus legislation in 2009 – State transportation funding bill (HB 2313) in 2013 No further temporary reprieve in sight

5 Discussion of the Simplified Analysis

6 Simplified Analysis Parameters VRE services / subsidy held harmless, so Prince William’s subsidy reduction is confined to bus services Projected funding shortfall in FY 2017 is $5M, or about 36% of Prince William’s $14M annual subsidy for PRTC Subsidy reduction for OmniRide and OmniLink assumed in same proportions as current amounts of County subsidy – OmniRide ≈ 46% of County’s bus subsidy – OmniLink ≈ 54% of County’s bus subsidy

7 Simplified Analysis Parameters (continued) To lessen Prince William’s annual PRTC subsidy by 36%, revenue hours of service would have to be reduced by 39% because – Federal / state funding support reduced – Ridership / fare revenue reduced – Contract cost per revenue hour increased By targeting least productive services for cuts, ridership and fare revenue reductions are lessened – Some riders would shift to sustained services BUT – Practical limits to shifting because of longer waits, diminished attractiveness of schedules, overcrowding

8 Simplified Analysis Results Overview of Cuts OmniRide – 40% of revenue hours cut (to lessen County’s subsidy by $2.3M; 46% of $5.0M targeted subsidy reduction) – All routes affected – Estimated ridership loss -2,800 daily trips (28%) OmniLink – 37% of revenue hours cut (to lessen County’s subsidy by $2.7M; 54% of $5.0M targeted subsidy reduction) – Reduced frequency, reduction in span of service day, elimination of one route – Estimated ridership loss daily trips (17%)

9 Simplified Analysis Results Impacts on a Sample Commuter Route Percent of average daily trips with standees – 2011 – 26.5% – 2014 – 5.9% – Post service cut – 30.2% Peak service interval increases from 12 to 21 minutes (last operated in 2008) Longer intervals + crowding = increased wait times – 40+ minutes for those unable to board first bus due to overcrowding Standees = safety risk Significant decline in customer satisfaction

10 Simplified Analysis Results Impacts on Sample OmniRide Route

11 Simplified Analysis Results How would cuts impact OmniLink? 2013 Survey results – 77% use Link for essential life functions - work, shopping, education, medical, and social service trips – 21% of Link riders have no other means of making trips Reduced frequency + elimination of route + shorter hours = – Overcrowding ( Standees = safety risk) – Inability for some riders to access work, school or other essential life functions – Longer travel times and more transfers required – Increased wait times – Significant declines in customer satisfaction

12 When Were Service Levels As Low As They Would Be If These Cuts Happened? Systemwide revenue hours – October 2005 (FY 2006) OmniLink revenue hours – June 2000 (FY 2000) OmniRide revenue hours – October 2006 (FY 2007)

13 Productivity Then Versus Now (Riders per Revenue Hour) OmniLink – FY00 = 7.3 – FY13 = 17.5 – Productivity gain = 140% OmniRide – FY07 = 19.8 – FY13 = 22.5 – Productivity gain = 14%

14 Service Change History OmniLink – Last significant change - November 2006 Reduced peak service interval from 45 minutes to 30 minutes on 3 routes; reduced Cross County interval from 2 hours to 1 hour – Since then only changes have been to lengthen trips due to increased travel times (+11 daily hours = 4.7%) OmniRide – Since November 2006 added multiple new routes and additional trips to relieve chronic overcrowding (+84 daily hours = 26%) Systemwide – Spring 2009 – Revenue hours reduced by ~ 5% for austerity reasons during recession No “low hanging fruit” to pick for easy cost savings

15 Recent History and the Future From fall 2009 through the current proposed 6- year planning horizon, essentially no service expansion; limited to – Saturday Metro-Direct – Contingency hours to counteract increased travel times and chronic commuter service overcrowding Projected PWC population growth over the same period = 15.1% Projected population growth 2015 to 2020 = 9.4%

16 Alternative Courses of Action-- Which Path Do We Take? Defer judgment & set in motion a public discussion about prospective service cuts Pledge the supplement based on the simplified analysis results to sustain existing services

17 Discussion of the “Pledge the Supplement” Path

18 Pledge the Supplement Simplified analysis results demonstrate the importance of sustaining the services Averts contentious public discussion of service cuts Management’s strong preference – PRTC bus services are not just a “nice to have” – they’re a vital part of what makes the community an attractive place to live and work – Service stability is really important Prince William’s continuing growth & aspirations for greater self-containment are compelling reasons for expanding service, not curtailing it

19 Discussion of the “Defer Judgment” Path

20 Prospective Service Cuts -- Steps Step 1: Criteria for identifying prospective cuts – Board proposes – Public reviews and comments – Board adopts Step 2: Prospective cuts defined using adopted criteria – Proposed cuts defined – Public reviews and comments – Board adopts Step 3: Cuts implemented – Fleet reduction Sale of buses Grant paybacks – Reconstituting scope of 2 nd bus maintenance facility

21 Criteria for Identifying Prospective Cuts -- Considerations Title VI & environmental justice assessments required to – Measure “disparate impacts” (race / ethnicity measure) – Measure “disproportionate burdens” (low income measure) – Mitigate to the extent possible Thus rider demographics by service type are fundamentally important

22 More on Criteria for Identifying Service Cuts – Demographics Matter* Demographic AttributeLinkRide Household Income < $25K56.5%1.2% Age < 188.2%0.0% No License66.5%2.5% Ethnicity (non-white)81%54% * 2013 survey results

23 More on Criteria for Identifying Service Cuts – Considerations More on Criteria for Identifying Service Cuts – Considerations (continued) Demographic differences drive – How services are priced – Farebox recovery and subsidy per trip So OmniLink services would bear the brunt of service cuts if criteria were only financial / economic measures To temper this, criteria would need to be – Differentiated by service type – Include both financial / economic and other measures (e.g., riders per revenue hour or per scheduled trip) MeasureLinkRide Base fare$1.30$5.75 Farebox recovery9%61% PWC subsidy per rider$6.58$1.82

24 What Might the Criteria Be? What Might the Criteria Be? (differentiated by service type) Framework – Differentiated by service type – OmniRide (discretely scheduled trips) Individually scheduled trips can be evaluated (such that a trip identified for elimination would “thin the herd”, with altered schedule to redistribute remaining trips) – OmniLink (continuously operated service) Frequency and/or hours of service would be lessened Plausible Measures – Riders per revenue hour or per scheduled trip – Gross subsidy per rider – Local subsidy per rider – Presence / absence of an available alternative

25 Evaluation Methodology Evaluation Methodology (By service type) Calculate each evaluation measure by service type, and normalize by comparing to best performer (score becomes an index) Sum across all evaluation measures to calculate a composite index Array trips by composite index in ascending order (worst at the top) Calculate PWC cost saving if trip is eliminated or frequency is diminished (i.e., gross subsidy minus lost revenue, federal and state assistance) “Draw the line” wherever it needs to be drawn to achieve the PWC cost saving

26 Recap Defer judgment & set in motion a public discussion about prospective service cuts Pledge the supplement based on the simplified analysis results to sustain existing services


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