Budget Cuts In Transit, Ways To Make Up The Difference

TransLoc MarketingBlog

The sound you just heard was Congress recessing without passing the 2014 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. It’s no secret that transit funding is low, but the gulf between the House and Senate proposals indicates that reductions from the current budget levels will be approved…whenever they get around to it.

Budget cuts
To successfully offset the reduced funding, increased ridership and better farebox recovery will be crucial. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is appropriating $7.7 billion less to transportation, housing, and urban development (THUD) in 2014 than they did in 2013. With this major drop in funding, agencies need new ideas to increase revenue.

Outside Factors
Because many factors, such as gas prices, median income and cultural perceptions, affect transit ridership and are out of the agency’s control, taking charge of what your agency does control can be a deciding factor for success. With the average fare price around $0.95, while the average trip expense is $4.44, anything to help narrow that gap will increase your agencies revenue and decrease dependency on federal funds.

Can real-time bus tracking help?

Giving riders access to real time bus tracking information makes riding the bus easier and more accessible, drawing in more riders, more fares, and higher farebox recovery.

Without information:
• Potential riders find transit uncertain and confusing and don’t use it.
• When riders don’t use transit, buses have fewer riders.
• Fewer riders means less fares, and lower farebox recovery.
• Which leads to less funding, fewer buses, and continued decrease in ridership.

Agency Benefits
Increased ridership helps with more than just farebox recovery rates. When riders can answer questions about where the bus is with just a few clicks, calls to the call centers drop drastically, freeing up staff for more important tasks. On top of that, agency facing reporting capabilities and playback technologies like those which TransLoc offers are vital resources for fleet management.

Investing in real time bus tracking can increase farebox recovery, reverse the trend of low ridership, and give you a 360-degree view of your fleet. As budgets get tighter with no sign of turning around, making transit easy, understandable and more reliable for riders can get more people on your buses. Triangle Transit saw a 26% jump in annual ridership when they gave riders the real time information they wanted.