Fare Equity Analysis for County Express and Medical Shopping Assistance Program Fare Increase - Prepared By: San Benito County Local ...

 
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Fare Equity Analysis for County Express and Medical Shopping Assistance Program Fare Increase - Prepared By: San Benito County Local ...
Fare Equity Analysis for

County Express and Medical Shopping Assistance Program

                         Fare Increase

                             Prepared By:

            San Benito County Local Transportation Authority
                     330 Tres Pinos Road, Suite C7
                       Hollister, California 95023
Table of Contents

Background................................................................................................................................ 1

Demographic of Service Area ............................................................................................... 2
   Service Area ................................................................................................................................................. 2
   Demographics ............................................................................................................................................... 3
   Impacts on Low-Income Communities ........................................................................................................ 3
   Data Deficiency ............................................................................................................................................ 4

Current Fares............................................................................................................................. 5
   Fare Description ........................................................................................................................................... 5
   How Current Riders Pay Transit Fares ..................................................................................................... 5

Proposed Fare Increase Scenarios ....................................................................................... 7
   Scenario A – Two Small Incremental Fare Increase .............................................................................. 7
   Scenario B – One Large Fare Increase.................................................................................................... 8
   Implementation of Fare Increase............................................................................................................... 8

          1
Background
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or
national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Title VI provides
that “no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be
excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under
any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (42 U.S.C. § 2000d)

The San Benito County Local Transportation Authority (LTA) is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA)
between the Cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista and the San Benito County. The LTA is
responsible for administering public transit services in San Benito County. The LTA contracts with
third-party operators to provide drivers, dispatchers, and operations manager for its County
Express and Specialized Transportation Services. Under the name of County Express and
operated by MV Transportation, Inc., the LTA operates Fixed Route, Paratransit, General Public
Dial-A-Ride and Intercounty services in the Cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista.

Additionally, the LTA also provides Specialized Transportation services, operated by Jovenes de
Antaño, that include Out-of-County Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (OOCMT), Senior
Lunch Transportation Program (SLTP), and the Medical Shopping Assistance Program (MSAP).
Specialized Transportation services provide above and beyond what is required of the Americans
with Disability Act (ADA). This includes door-through-door, minor translation, and escort services
for clients that need additional assistance.

Due to decreases in funding and increasing operating costs, the LTA is regretfully raising its fares
for all of County Express services and the MSAP. The LTA experienced a dramatic decrease in
operational funding from the State of California in 2009. Federal funding has been
unpredictable as it has decreased the last four fiscal years. Estimates for Federal Fiscal Year
2013 increased due to the changes in the new transportation funding bill, Moving Ahead for
Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). However, MAP-21 is a two year funding bill which makes
federal funding estimates to be unpredictable.

During the same time, the LTA experienced increase cost in fuel and contractor costs. Beginning in
July 2012, the LTA was assessed an administration fee of 10% for fueling at the San Benito
County Public Works Yard. Using fueling costs from the previous fiscal year, the LTA is estimating
$16,000 to $20,000 annually. As a result, the LTA is considering increasing its fares for County
Express services and the MSAP program.

As part of the fare increase process, the LTA sought feedback from the Social Services
Transportation Advisory Council at its September 28, 2012 meeting. Based upon the comments
received at the meeting, the LTA analyzed six additional scenarios to determine other
alternatives. Scenarios that negatively impacted riders without increase fare revenues were
eliminated. Scenario A and Scenario B outlined later in this analysis were presented the Advisory
Council. The Council selected Scenario A as its preferred scenario.

      1
Demographic of Service Area
Service Area
County Express
County Express service area is comprised of the Cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista, some
areas of northern San Benito County and two bus stops in the City of Gilroy in Santa Clara
County. The bus stops are located at Gavilan College and also the Gilroy Transit Station.

All County Express services are open to the public except for its Paratransit service. A person
must have a disability that prevents him/her to from accessing Fixed Route services within ¾ of a
mile. The LTA is responsible for determining the eligibility for residents in San Benito County and
authorizing visitor usage from other counties.

Medical Shopping Assistance Program (MSAP)
The LTA provides door-through-door specialized transportation for persons over the age of 60
and/or persons that have a disability. The service is open to all eligible residents of San Benito
County, making the service area approximately 1,390 square miles. Eligibility for this service is
determined by its operator.

    Figure 1 – Median Household Income within County Express and Medical Shopping Assistance Program Courtesy of ESRI1

1ESRI. "Median Household Income 2011." ArcGIS Online. ESRI, 2012. Web. 14 Dec 2012.
.

          2
Demographics
According to the 2010 United States
                                                     Race and Ethnicity of San Benito County
Census3, San Benito County’s population
increased 3.8% from the previous census              Hispanic or Latin
to 55,269. Approximately, 36% of the                   White Alone                                        25.4%
population is under the age of 18 and
                                                       Black or African American Alone                    0.2%
10% of the population is 65 years old or
                                                       American Indian and Alaska Native Alone            1.2%
older.
                                                       Asian Alone                                        0.3%
There are 16,785 households in San                     Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific islander Alone   0.1%
Benito County. The median household                    Some Other Race Alone                              26.1%
income was $65,570 while the Per Capita                Two or More Races                                  3.2%
Income was $26,300.         Additionally,            Not Hispanic or Latino
11.3% of the County’s population is                   White Alone                                         38.3%
considered to be below or at the Federal              Black or African American Alone                     0.6%
Poverty Level. Of the total number of                 American Indian and Alaska Native Alone             0.4%
households, 3.85%4 do not own a                       Asian Alone                                         2.3%
personal vehicle.                                     Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific islander Alone    0.1%
                                                      Some Other Race Alone                               0.1%
Impacts on Low-Income Communities
                                                      Two or More Races                                   1.7%
The      LTA     recognizes    low-income
communities are more susceptible to Table           1 – San Benito County Demography2 Courtesy of 2010 U.S.
                                              Census Bureau
negative impacts caused by an increase
in fares than those who have higher incomes. To mitigate the financial impacts of higher fares, the
LTA will continue to have a Discount fare for populations that have traditionally have had low-
fixed incomes: youths, seniors and persons with disabilities. Additionally, the LTA will implement
Scenario A of having two smaller fare increases to lessen the financial impact to users. The LTA
estimates that 1.5% to 2.3% of its current ridership will be impacted by the fare increase.5

As a result of the fare increase, the LTA anticipates an increase in personal automobile use.
Personal vehicle usage may be in the form of borrowing a vehicle or purchasing an older low-cost
vehicle. Purchasing such a vehicle may be perceived by the person as more affordable as the
initial cost and basic maintenance cost is lower. Although required by law to purchase insurance,
some will forgo the requirement. According the California Department of Insurance, almost

2U.S. Census Bureau. "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile
Data ."American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010. Web. 14 Dec 2012.
.
3U.S. Census Bureau. "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile
Data ."American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010. Web. 14 Dec 2012.
.
4 U.S. Census Bureau. "DP-04 Selected Household Characteristics: 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year
Estimates."American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010. Web. 4 Feb 2012.
.
5McCollom, Brian E and Richard H. Pratt. Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes: Chapter
12. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2004. 12-9. Print.

        3
14.5% of California registered vehicles were not insured in 2004. 6 The information provided by
the Department of Insurance does not take into account of the household income levels or the
racial/ethnicity of the registered owner. However, it may be assumed vehicle owners that have
limited income may forgo items that they deem non-essential.

The LTA has recognized that there are other negative impacts associated with fare increases.
Increasing fares for County Express may increase personal vehicle usage slightly as members and
visitors of the community cannot afford or dislike the fare increase. As a result, noise levels
created by personal vehicles may increase in heavily trafficked areas.

Without the fare increase and increasing operational costs, the LTA would need to reevaluate
levels of service and may reduce or eliminate additional services. With service reductions and/or
eliminations, residents and visitors to San Benito County may be forced to drive their personal
vehicles, resulting in an increase of air pollutants emitted as public transit is no longer an option.

Data Deficiency
The LTA does not track the racial and ethnicity makeup of its riders, which resulted in a limited
analysis. As result, the LTA is unable to fully analyze the impacts of the fare increase on
minorities. The LTA plans to include additional questions regarding racial and ethnic makeup of
its riders on new surveys it will conduct. The information would be used to in future analyses of
fares and services.

6 California Department of Insurance. “Estimated Rate of Uninsured Motorists” California Department of Insurance,

2005. Web. 31 Jan 2013. 

        4
Current Fares
Fare Description
County Express offers Regular and Discount fares for all of its services. Youths (5-17), seniors
(65+) and persons with disabilities are eligible to pay the discounted fares. Children under the
age of 5 ride free with a paying passenger. Individuals that do not meet those criteria pay the
regular fare. Regular and Discount fares are offered for all of County Express services and fare
methods.

For the convenience of its riders, County Express accepts cash or pre-purchased tokens and
monthly passes. Tokens are sold in packages of ten and can be pre-purchased at the LTA
Administration Office or at the Operations Facility. Tokens offer a slight discount over the paying
of cash fares per ride and do not have an expiration date. All County Express services accepts
tokens.

Monthly passes provide a savings to riders of Fixed Route and Intercounty services that ride four
or more days a week. Monthly passes can be purchased at the LTA Administration Office or at
the Operations Facility. They offer a significant discount over paying cash and pre-purchased
tokens per ride. Monthly passes are only valid from the first day to the last day of the month.

Medical Shopping Assistance Program (MSAP) clients can only pay a cash fare. The fare is the
same regardless of distance.

For all LTA services, one Personal Care Attendant (PCA) can ride free with an eligible Paratransit-
Certified rider. Companions play the same fare as the eligible Paratransit-Certified rider. If
there are more than one PCA accompanying the Paratransit-Certified rider, they must pay the
companion fare. All PCA and companions must accompany the Paratransit-Certified rider to the
same destination in order to be eligible for the free or discounted fare.

           Current Fares    Fixed Route   Intercounty   Dial-A-Ride   Paratransit   MSAP

           Cash
           Regular              $1.00       $2.00          $2.00        None        None
           Discount             $0.75       $1.25          $1.25        $1.25       $1.25
           Tokens
           Regular              $8.00       $18.00        $18.00        None        None
           Discount             $5.00       $11.00        $11.00       $11.00       None
           Monthly Pass
           Regular             $27.00       $60.00         None         None        None
           Discount            $18.50       $40.00         None         None        None
           Table 2 – Current Fares

How Current Riders Pay Transit Fares
In a survey done in mid 2012, the LTA sought to find the trends of transit travel for County
Express services. Particular questions tried to identify rider’s payment method, frequency of transit
usage, and access to pre-purchased fares. The MSAP program only accepts cash fares.

Fixed Route and Intercounty services had a majority of passengers paying “Cash” fare with “Bus
Tokens” coming in second. This trend can most likely to attributed to passengers wanting the

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flexiblity of paying cash. The survey highlighted an interest amongst Intercounty Caltrain riders in
which they would be interested the ablity to pre-purchase fares online. Riders on the Intercounty
Caltrain service are not able to come in-person to the LTA office as these riders use the services
outside of normal LTA business hours.

Dial-A-Ride and Paratransit passengers have a fairly even spilt between using “Bus tokens” versus
paying “Cash” fare. There is no monthly pass available of the Dial-A-Ride or Paratransit
services. The high usage of bus tokens may be because many Dial-A-Ride passengers are
elderly/disabled dependent on the service and are on fixed incomes where the purchase of a
pack of ten bus tokens provides a 12% discount (a pack of ten tokens for $11 versus paying
$1.25 one-way cash fare).

                                    County Express Payment Type
            45

            40

            35

            30

            25
   Riders

            20

            15

            10

            5

            0
                 Dial-A-Ride / Paratransit   Fixed Route     Intercounty Gavilan     Intercounty Caltrain
                             Cash                    Token                   Monthly Pass

Graph 1 - Payment Type by County Express Services

             6
Proposed Fare Increase Scenarios
To achieve successful increases in fares, the LTA analyzed six scenarios that included small and
large, and multi-year increases. Multiple scenarios were developed to better understand impacts
on clients and fare revenues. Four scenarios that negatively impacted riders and did not
maximize fare revenues were eliminated. Under all scenarios, the LTA kept the same fare
structure. The two remaining scenarios were brought before the Social Services Transportation
Advisory Council to review and it recommended its preferred scenario the LTA Board of Directors.

Scenario A – Two Small Incremental Fare Increase
Under Scenario A, fares would increase 5% for annually for two years. Prices for tokens and
monthly passes were adjusted accordingly. County Express would continue to provide a Regular
and Discount Fare for all its services. At the end of the fare increase, the LTA projects $24,700 to
$27,400 in additional revenue. Ridership loss due to increased fares is estimated between 1.5%
and 2.3%7 for each year. The projected revenue takes the decreased ridership into
consideration.

         Year 1: 5 % Increase      Fixed Route        Intercounty   Dial-A-Ride   Paratransit   MSAP

         Cash
         Regular                       $1.05            $2.10          $2.10        None        None
         Discount                      $0.80            $1.30          $1.30        $1.30       $1.30
         Tokens
         Regular                       $8.50            $19.00        $19.00        None        None
         Discount                      $6.00            $11.50        $11.50       $11.50       None
         Monthly Pass
         Regular                      $28.25            $63.00         None          None       None
         Discount                     $19.50            $42.00         None          None       None

         Year 2: 5 % Increase      Fixed Route        Intercounty   Dial-A-Ride   Paratransit   MSAP

         Cash
         Regular                       $1.10            $2.20          $2.20        None        None
         Discount                      $0.85            $1.35          $1.35        $1.35       $1.35
         Tokens
         Regular                       $9.00            $20.00        $20.00        None        None
         Discount                      $6.50            $12.50        $12.50       $12.50       None
         Monthly Pass
         Regular                      $29.75            $66.00         None         None        None
         Discount                     $20.50            $44.00         None         None        None
         Table 3 – Scenario A Fare Increase Details

7McCollom, Brian E and Richard H. Pratt. Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes: Chapter
12. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2004. 12-9. Print.

       7
Scenario B – One Large Fare Increase
Unlike the first scenario, Scenario B would be a one-time fare increase of 25%. Prices for tokens
and the monthly passes will be adjusted accordingly. Regular and discounted fares would be
continued for County Express services. Under this scenario the projected additional fare revenue
would be $25,800 to $27,000. Ridership loss is projected to be higher at 7.5% to 8.30%8. The
projected revenue takes the decreased ridership into consideration.

           25% Increase            Fixed Route         Intercounty   Dial-A-Ride   Paratransit   MSAP

           Cash
           Regular                     $1.25             $2.50          $2.50        None        None
           Discount                    $0.95             $1.55          $1.55        $1.55       $1.55
           Tokens
           Regular                    $12.00             $23.00        $23.00        None        None
           Discount                   $9.00              $15.00        $15.00       $15.00       None
           Monthly Pass
           Regular                    $34.00             $75.00         None         None        None
           Discount                   $23.00             $50.00         None         None        None
           Table 4 –Scenario B Fare Increase Details

Implementation of Fare Increase
The LTA Board of Directors will be presented the Fare Equity Analysis and the public comment
period will be opened. Notice of the public comment period regarding the fare increase will be
provided through the local newspaper of general circulation, on-board notices, County Express
website, social media sites, and various social services organizations. During the public comment
period, the public could submit comments in writing through the mail, fax, and on social media.
Notification of the public comment period was provided in English and Spanish, the two languages
that was identified in the LTA’s Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan.

At the very end of the public comment period, a public hearing was scheduled for the public to
have an additional opportunity in which voice their concerns to the LTA Board of Directors. Public
comments received prior to the public hearing will be presented to the Board of Directors for their
consideration. A Spanish translator will be available for the public to utilize to address the LTA.
At the public hearing the LTA Board of Directors will decide on whether it will adopt the fare
increase.

If the LTA Board of Directors adopts the fare increase, the effective date will be at-a-minimum
45-days from the day of adoption. During that period, the LTA will post notices in the places
previously mentioned above and print information with the new fare information.

The LTA is working on having additional token and monthly passes sales outlet throughout the City
of Hollister. The additional outlets would provide easier access to minority and/or low-income
communities.

8McCollom, Brian E and Richard H. Pratt. Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes: Chapter
12. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2004. 12-9. Print.

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