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Transit Coordination. Commission Workshop Melanie Crotty May 24, 2006. Legislative History. SB602 (Service/Fare Coordination - 1989) Required service/fare coordination between adjoining operators. MTC may withhold funds to enforce; has done so once with BART

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transit coordination

Transit Coordination

Commission Workshop

Melanie Crotty

May 24, 2006

legislative history
Legislative History

SB602 (Service/Fare Coordination - 1989)

  • Required service/fare coordination between adjoining operators.
  • MTC may withhold funds to enforce; has done so once with BART

SB1474 (Transit Coordination - 1996)

  • Broadened MTC’s authority to improve coordination in two areas: regionally significant transit services and consolidation of functions to improve transit efficiency/effectiveness.
  • MTC may withhold STA funds to enforce SB 1474, but never has.

SB916 (RM2, including Transit Connectivity - 2003)

  • Funds various transit services in bridge corridors.
  • Addressed several transit issues including: study of an integrated fare structure program (monthly pass); creation of a transit connectivity plan; funding of a real-time transit information program.
  • MTC may impose funding conditions on RM2 capital and operating project sponsors. SB602/SB1474 requirements apply to RM2 funds.
mtc s general experience
MTC’s General Experience
  • Long standing recognition that coordination improvements were necessary
  • MTC focused on improving the transit customer experience in a complex transit environment
  • Strategy was not to interfere with local control of service planning, fare policy, etc.
  • MTC is not well positioned to monitor compliance with coordination requirements, except by leading efforts directly
  • MTC has dedicated large resources (funding and staff) to promote coordinated transit services
  • Changing forum for transit coordination (Bay Area Partnership)
transit coordination initiatives
Transit Coordination Initiatives

Regional Information Services

  • Transit Information Displays
  • ‘Getting There on Transit’ Guide
  • Transit Trip Planner
  • 511 and
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Real-time transit information

Fare Payment

  • BART/Muni FastPass
  • TransLink Electronic Fare Payment (Smart Card)

Regional Services

  • Express Bus Service
  • Free transit on Spare the Air Days
  • All Nighter/BART Owl Service
wide range of mtc roles
Wide Range of MTC Roles…

MTC’s role in these services has varied…from strictly grant allocation to wholesale program management and delivery

  • Fund Allocation – MTC establishes policy and service objectives and funds consistent projects with periodic review for compliance (e.g. Express Bus, All Nighter Service)
  • Program Management – On a day-to-day basis, MTC staff manages contractors who implement projects subject to scope and staff direction. (e.g. 511 Transit, TransLink®, etc.)
translink the good
TransLink – the Good
  • Strong, continued support for a single fare instrument in polls, surveys and focus groups.
  • TransLink® improves both the intra- and inter-operator trip: it eliminates the need for transfers, exact change, stops at vending machines...
  • A smart card system is a proven technology. In use in major cities throughout the world.
  • The pilot demonstration passed with flying colors.
translink the bad
Transit agencies hold TransLink® devices and settlement process to a higher standard than most meet today.

99.73 % accuracy for settlement

7500 hours between device failures

On average, devices have exceeded performance requirements

Many operators don’t trust other operators to collect their fares…however, few capable of taking on project delivery on behalf of the region.

An elaborate decision structure has added time and expense, even as MTC remains the sole accountable body for the TransLink® contract.

Operator interest in more system features lets the “perfect” get in the way of the “good enough.”

Result: We have one of the most complicated smart card programs in the world.

TransLink – the Bad
translink the ugly
TransLink – the Ugly

TransLink Capital Budget

1999 Budget Forecast (1999 Dollars)

Current Budget



Motorola Implementation Contract-Phase 1

$17 million

$19 million*

Motorola Implementation Contract-Phase 2

$21 million

$71 million

Other Implementation Costs-Phase 2

$4 million

$59 million


$42 million

$149 million

*Implementation of Phase 1 was completed in 2003. This is the actual implementation cost.

  • Program is 2 years late in terms of scheduled full deployment for Phase 1 operators, although contractor responsible for portion of the delay
  • 10 MTC and consultant staff devoted full-time to project
  • Project scope has increased by $85 million; project escalation has increased by $22 million
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • Follow the “keep it simple” principle more rigorously by adopting an initial design with basic functionality, which could have been delivered much sooner.
  • There are solutions that could have cost less in financial capital, but we would have used up a great deal more political capital.
  • MTC plans to:
    • Complete the design/build of TransLink®
    • Transition contract responsibility to a lead transit agency once we have achieved mainstream operations
511 transit the good
511 Transit – the Good
  • Strong consistent support from consumers about the value of the service.
  • Impressive, sustained growth of web site use (40%) since its inception in 2003.
  • Eliminate the information barrier to using transit.
    • Consolidates all transit information in one, easy to use and easy to remember resource
    • 511 on the phone, on the web, in print materials and in transit stations.
511 transit the bad
511 Transit – the Bad

Transit operator inattention makes it difficult to deliver a consistently good product.

  • Data quality on 511 phone and web.
    • Insufficient agency support/commitment has forced greater investment from MTC to ensure greater quality.
  • Inconsistency of information/presentation between agency and 511 transit websites
    • Serving different customer needs (511’s common interface for all transit schedules vs. agencies’ specific interface optimized to single agency services.)
  • Minimal promotion of 511 by transit agencies
    • Concern 511 may encourage transit customers to try alternative transit services.
    • View 511 as an unnecessary gateway for customers to get information.

Cost of coordinating transit agency information is more expensive than originally expected.

lessons learned12
Lessons Learned
  • Require operators to provide adequate data/staff support.
  • Insist on transit agency promotion of 511 phone and web on the web, vehicles, transit stations and brochures.
  • MTC plans to:
    • Allow transit agencies to integrate trip planner into their own site on condition that operator allows users to view all transit options and brand the trip planner as 511.
    • Increase support to transit agencies to provide accurate schedule and route data.
all nighter service the good
All Nighter Service – the Good
  • Addresses a definite gap in transit service – late night hours when BART trains don’t run.
  • Serves most BART stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
  • Includes timed transfers and half-hourly to hourly headways depending on the line.
  • MUNI agreed to let AC Transit run on Market Street to allow more direct service in San Francisco.
  • Operators worked together to produce a regional map and other advertising which include 511 as the ‘call to action’; active involvement from individual AC Transit and BART board members.
all nighter service the bad
All Nighter Service – the Bad
  • Multiple service providers creates complicated system for the customer
  • No long distance, direct service – requires transfers
  • No common fare policy; full fare required for any transfer
lessons learned16
Lessons Learned
  • Jury is still out…complete service only started in March 2006.