Transportation Development Plan

By Audrey Gordon,2014-08-29 02:40
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Transportation Development Plan

Chatham Area Transit | Transportation Development Plan



    For any transit property, passenger fare policy represents an ongoing balancing act between recovering sufficient revenue for service operated and offering customers a payment structure that is considered affordable, convenient, and equitable. CAT‟s current fare structure is

    convenient for customers in that the structure is easy to understand and the number of different fare categories and payment media is limited. The base cash fare of $1 is in line with (or lower than) many peer systems, however without a free or reduced price fare for transfers, many passengers‟ one-way trips become substantially more expensive.

    This question of whether or not to introduce free transfers or to re-introduce low-cost transfers is critical in establishing a fare structure that meets the needs of CAT‟s customer base and

    attract potential customers. On-board surveys conducted as part of the TDP process indicate that roughly half of all CAT passengers transfer from one bus to another at least once a day, while one third of passengers surveyed said they would transfer two or more times in a day. For any passenger, multiple transfers in one day can mean daily round trip costs of more than $4. For passengers with children (of fare-paying age), this burden can double or even triple. Feedback from CAT customers and stakeholders throughout the Transportation Development Plan process has reinforced the idea that an alternative to the current $1 per person, per ride is necessary.

Existing Fare Structure

Chatham Area Transit‟s fare structure is based on a cash fare is $1.00, with half fare for elderly

    and disabled patrons. Both weekly and monthly unlimited ride passes are available for frequent riders. Children under 41 inches tall may ride for free when accompanied by a fare paying adult. Transfers are not provided; when passengers transfer to another bus they have to pay the full fare on the second bus. The following table presents the fare levels charged by CAT for fixed route services.

    Figure 10-1

    Current CAT Fare Policy

    Fare Category Fare

    Base Cash Fare (one-way) $1.00

    Book of Ten Cash Advance Tickets $10.00

    Weekly CAT Card (unlimited ride) $12.00

    Monthly CAT Card (unlimited ride) $48.00

    CAT Shuttle Free

    Elderly & Disabled Fare $0.50

    Elderly & Disabled Tokens (20 Tokens) $10.00 Source: CAT Ride Guide

Chapter 10 - Fare Policy Recommendations 10-1

Chatham Area Transit | Transportation Development Plan

    In addition to unlimited weekly and monthly swipe cards, CAT offers pre-paid tokens for half-fare customers. These tokens are sold at the same price as the cash fares (i.e., no bulk discount) and are offered as both a convenience to customers and a service for organizations that provide transportation to their clients but wish to do so in a controlled fashion rather than simply offering cash for members to purchase their own bus trips. Finally, the CAT Shuttle and Liberty Parking Shuttle are fare-free, subsidized in part by the City of Savannah. The fare-free Savannah Belles Ferry System is subsidized in part by the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. This fare study excludes the Teleride fare, given the distinct nature of that service.

Approach and Methodology

    Evaluating potential changes in fare policy requires an analysis not only of current ridership by fare category, but a more detailed understanding of the number of passengers who make each type of trip possible within the current fare structure. For example, for a base fare of $1.00, a total number of passengers will be recorded paying that fare. However, some riders will make their trip on one bus, while others will transfer once, twice, or even more often. Similarly, a senior citizen paying the $.50 half-fare might also transfer once or twice, reflecting a different trip than a simple one-bus ride.

Establishing a Baseline

    The table below presents revenue reported by fare type for FY 2005. This table shows that over 70% of fare revenue is from passengers paying the full fare, consistent with responses to that effect in the On-Board Survey.

    Figure 10-2

    Revenue by Fare Type (FY 2005)

    Revenue Type FY 2005 Amount Fare Percent

    Full Fare $2,316,729 78%

    Elderly/Disabled $157,545 5%

    Cash Advance Tickets $229,915 8%

    Weekly Card $246,552 8%

    Monthly Card $38,412 1% 1CAT Shuttle n/a n/a

    Total $2,989,153 100% Source: CAT 2005 Financial Report

    The revenue figures shown above are used to generate a baseline ridership figure for the year by dividing each revenue category by the actual fare in the case of cash fares, or estimated per-

     1 Operating assistance is paid to CAT from a contract with the City of Savannah for the CAT Shuttle and Liberty Parking Shuttle

Chapter 10 - Fare Policy Recommendations 10-2

Chatham Area Transit | Transportation Development Plan

    trip fare in the case of unlimited passes. For weekly passes, customers are assumed to travel seven days, whereas monthly pass users average six days of travel per week; weekly pass users are less likely to forego a day of pass value.

    Figure 10-3

    Estimated Ridership by Fare Type (Based on FY 2005)

    Payment per Rider Type Annual Revenue Annual Ridership Linked Trip (One-Way)

    Full Fare $1.00 $2,316,729 2,316,729

    Half-Fare $0.50 $157,545 315,090

    Cash Advance Ticket $1.00 $229,915 229,915

    Weekly Card $0.57 $246,552 432,547

    Monthly Card $0.53 $38,412 72,475

    CAT Shuttle - - - - 102,955

    Total $2,989,153 3,469,712

    Using this table as a guide, the next step is to develop an estimate of the number of individual customers riding according to each fare type. Whereas ridership figures in most annual calculations are based on the number of passenger boardings, this number is greater than the number of individual passengers since many transfer to other buses or make several trips in one day. With an estimate of the number of passengers riding by fare type, a baseline can be established, against which various scenarios for change can be tested according to specific expectations of how each customer type will react (elasticities). This baseline appears in Table 10-4 on the following page.

    The number of customers will not match annual ridership totals, however it is important that the annual revenue in the following table matches CAT‟s reported revenue, as revenue is the

    „control‟ figure for subsequent calculations. Results from the on-board surveys indicate that

    roughly half of CAT‟s frequent passengers transfer from one bus route to another. Thus, each fare category is divided according to the estimated percentage of passengers transferring once or more than once. Users of unlimited cards are more likely to transfer at least once, given the inherent value of the cards for frequent travel, thus the relative percentage of transfers is higher than for full fare/cash categories.

Chapter 10 - Fare Policy Recommendations 10-3

Chatham Area Transit | Transportation Development Plan

    Figure 10-4

    Baseline Revenue and Ridership by Fare Type (Based on FY 2005)

    Payment per Linked Annual Passengers