Metro Transit fares

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intercomnut
Union Depot
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby intercomnut » February 15th, 2017, 10:36 am

Met Council Transportation Committee lays out the timeline for implementing a fare increase this year.

If it goes ahead, it'll go into effect September 1, 2017.

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby talindsay » February 15th, 2017, 11:17 am

So that presentation talks about student passes, and I'm hopeful somebody here will be able to answer my question about them (since there are a lot of MT people on here). My daughter is in middle school, and uses local transit to get to my office every day after school. She pays for individual tickets. The student passes appear to be available only to and through high schools, not middle schools. Why? Several of her peers also use the bus, and middle schoolers get royally screwed by the pricing - they pay adult fares, no discounts.

mamundsen
Foshay Tower
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby mamundsen » February 15th, 2017, 12:25 pm

intercomnut wrote:
February 15th, 2017, 10:36 am
Met Council Transportation Committee lays out the timeline for implementing a fare increase this year.

If it goes ahead, it'll go into effect September 1, 2017.
The chart on page 4 that shows consistently 90% of Express Bus riders use Go-To Cards. Seeing this chart finally gave me the info to write my suggestion that they add card readers to the rear doors. It would be nice on cold days when loading, and speed up the process of unloading at the end of the day. I hope that they could try it on Express and eventually bring it to all buses.

Speed of loading/unloading is important right! It's what we always talk about on here, stop spacing and idle time loading/unloading.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 15th, 2017, 12:45 pm

I'd say that this is something pretty darn cheap (it cost SFMTA about $1m to do it to all their buses and streetcars that didn't have it). The biggest question I'd have is if our fleet can open back doors automatically - if not, our costs could be much higher. I know the articulated buses can do it, so that'd be a good first pass as you note.

But to your point, even on local buses it's just below 2/3 or riders tapping the card. SF saw some positive results in terms of average dwell times and variability, which is impressive considering their ridership and street traffic rose in the evaluation period. Plus, they already had an unofficial all-door boarding policy so they weren't going from 100% of riders entering at the front like us - we have more room for improvement.

mamundsen
Foshay Tower
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby mamundsen » February 17th, 2017, 7:40 am

I got a response on my idea!
Thank you for your thoughtful suggestion of adding card validators on buses for customers boarding and exiting both doors. We do have this feature on the Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to add this feature for our regular bus routes. In addition to the equipment cost ($900,000) to equip the articulated buses only, our customers have individual fare needs which are not available for rear door validators. These individual needs include cash customers, reduced/mobility fare customers, group passes, mobile passes. We like your idea, and will continue to explore new options to decrease boarding/de-boarding times for our customers. I will present your idea at our next fare collection meeting and will discuss this and other options for improving your experience. Thanks again for taking time to send us your ideas.

Sincerely,
Dennis Dworshak
Manager, Revenue Processing

Silophant
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Silophant » February 17th, 2017, 7:57 am

Since most of those individual fare needs can be taken care of at the station validator pedestals, I'm not really seeing a reason why rear door validators couldn't do the same thing.

Or, just make the <10% of customers that need such things board through the front door and talk to the driver, while others can board unimpeded through the rear.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 17th, 2017, 8:59 am

I'm a little surprised at the cost to implement on just the articulated buses is pushing $1m. It took me a long time to find the cost for SFMTA, but one board minutes document said they implemented the readers in just 6 months, all in one year, and the budget was $1m. Since articulated buses represent just 25% of MT's fleet, we'd be looking at almost $4m here, which is still a REALLY inexpensive way to make marginal speed/reliability increases system-wide.

jebr
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby jebr » February 17th, 2017, 9:02 am

I think part of the problem is that unless they hired additional Metro Transit police to check fares randomly, there'd be no way to easily enforce someone boarding through the back and not paying their fare.

Frankly, I think a stricter stance on the "board in the front, exit in the rear" would help a lot to mitigate those issues. It's not perfect, but I think it would help at least somewhat.

mamundsen
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby mamundsen » February 17th, 2017, 9:36 am

Yes, I think "board in the front, exit in the rear" on local would help a lot. I had this idea and the 90% stat finally pushed me to write in because of the process for Express Buses...

Coming into work: Stand in line waiting for the bus. Bus arrives and we all shuffle along to the front door only, while 90% using a tap of the card to pay. Would be nice to load both doors and have it say "Go-To card only loading" on the back door. Then exit both doors at the stops in downtown.

Going home: Marq2, enter either door without paying. Pay at exit, all through the FRONT door. Could have "Go-To card only exit" on rear door.

I know it somewhat changes the standards, but I have a feeling that Express Bus Riders mostly only ride transit for commuting. PLUS the process is already different with Exit Pay!

amiller92
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby amiller92 » February 17th, 2017, 9:47 am

mamundsen wrote:
February 17th, 2017, 9:36 am
Going home: Marq2, enter either door without paying. Pay at exit, all through the FRONT door.
I rode an express bus home the other day for the first time and paid on entry like a regular-route-riding sucker.

Don't think the express saved me any time at all either so I'm mostly going to stick with my peeps on the 14.

Silophant
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Silophant » February 17th, 2017, 9:50 am

mamundsen wrote:I know it somewhat changes the standards, but I have a feeling that Express Bus Riders mostly only ride transit for commuting. PLUS the process is already different with Exit Pay!
I'm pretty sure you're right about that. The vast majority of my coworkers that have Metropasses keep them in their security badge holders, because why would they ever need the Metropass without needing the security badge as well?

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 17th, 2017, 10:05 am

jebr wrote:
February 17th, 2017, 9:02 am
I think part of the problem is that unless they hired additional Metro Transit police to check fares randomly, there'd be no way to easily enforce someone boarding through the back and not paying their fare.

Frankly, I think a stricter stance on the "board in the front, exit in the rear" would help a lot to mitigate those issues. It's not perfect, but I think it would help at least somewhat.
Even if they had to hire a handful of additional MT police to do proof of fare checks, that cost would be slightly offset by 1) more ridership thanks to a more attractive bus service, 2) a few more citations, and 3) slightly increased fare compliance rates. (these are all things SFMTA noted happened, the last one may not be applicable to us since we don't have an informal all-door policy now). Their site is down now, but the annual net cost increase was less than $100,000.

But, and this is maybe a crazy idea, what if we just didn't care about fare evasion so much? What if we just went and implemented it and checked fare compliance 6 months in? Also, I'm not in disagreement that getting the people standing in the front third of the bus to exit out the rear instead of the front won't save some time, but we already have signs on the bus and a streets.mn post and MT communication on it. Anything additional will likely cost money, money I'd rather spend on just implementing all-door boarding, which would save more time.

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby talindsay » February 17th, 2017, 10:09 am

"Board in the front, exit in the rear" is good in principle (it's the way our bodies work, after all!) but a "stricter" stance on it would be problematic. I rarely exit through the rear doors because the MT bus stops are small and poorly maintained, and often the rear door comes up next to a snowpile, or is quite far from the curb and would involve stepping into puddles in the street; sometimes the rear doors don't work very well, etc. Downtown, on the 2Marq stops, at A Line stops, and at a few other places the rear door is dependable; but for the most part you can only be sure the *front* door will be positioned in a way that doesn't suck.

Tcmetro
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Tcmetro » February 20th, 2017, 10:33 am

A fare increase presentation was also included in the SW Transit February meeting packet (https://swtransit.org/cms-files/2-23-17 ... packet.pdf). Supposedly the two options being considered are a 25 cent increase across the board, as well as a 25 cent local increase and a 50 cent express fare increase.

The resulting fares in the two options would be:
Local off-peak: $2/$2
Local peak: $2.50/$2.50
Express off-peak: $2.50/$2.75
Express peak: $3.25/$3.50

Apparently Met Council is looking at some concessions as well, including increasing the express threshold to 5 miles of freeway running, having a single reduced fare (no peak surcharge), introducing a permanent low-income option, replacing stored value bonus to a GoTo card discount, having a single express fare, and eliminating the $59 pass (only have one local bus pass).

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2017, 1:19 pm

Best would be to get rid of express fares and instead charge for parking.
https://streets.mn/2014/03/18/the-dirty ... ark-rides/

Second best would be to not worry about freeway running vs not, but instead charge express fares on routes that connect exclusively to large park & ride facilities (where nearly all users would be consuming car storage).

Whatever it takes, make sure the 94 is not charged an express fare.

FranklinAveFixation
Metrodome
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby FranklinAveFixation » February 20th, 2017, 7:08 pm

mamundsen wrote:
February 17th, 2017, 7:40 am
I got a response on my idea!
Thank you for your thoughtful suggestion of adding card validators on buses for customers boarding and exiting both doors. We do have this feature on the Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to add this feature for our regular bus routes. In addition to the equipment cost ($900,000) to equip the articulated buses only, our customers have individual fare needs which are not available for rear door validators. These individual needs include cash customers, reduced/mobility fare customers, group passes, mobile passes. We like your idea, and will continue to explore new options to decrease boarding/de-boarding times for our customers. I will present your idea at our next fare collection meeting and will discuss this and other options for improving your experience. Thanks again for taking time to send us your ideas.

Sincerely,
Dennis Dworshak
Manager, Revenue Processing
I'm wondering what they did with all those old card validators-which function 100x's better than the new junk they installed.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby FISHMANPET » February 20th, 2017, 7:24 pm

The new ones seem to work better for me personally, but I don't ride the bus often enough to have a good sample size. But they seem to get a read faster than the old ones. I used to have to hold my wallet against the reader as I walked into the bus and now as soon as I put my wallet there it beeps and I can pull it away immediately.
Peter Bajurny
peter@bajurny.us
@FISHMANPET
612-208-6618

Silophant
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Silophant » February 20th, 2017, 7:52 pm

That's been my experience too. Additionally, sometimes I'd get an error holding my wallet directly against the reader, and have to try again carefully holding it a couple millimeters away from the pad. That's never happened with the new readers.


But, my guess is that most of that $900k cost for rear validators is in the installation labor, and that it wouldn't actually save that much money to reinstall the old ones, even assuming they were stored in a warehouse somewhere and not thrown away.

FranklinAveFixation
Metrodome
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby FranklinAveFixation » February 20th, 2017, 8:48 pm

I dunno, the majority of drivers I've asked (that responded to me) agreed with me about the old one.
Probably right about (union) labor costs though, I guess I should read into the "equipment costs" so literally.
Politically it's a non-starter anyways because we all know what would happen to the fare collection on certain routes.

jebr
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby jebr » February 21st, 2017, 9:01 am

I'm not against shifting from express fares to a nominal charge for parking, but unless we're wanting to make transit essentially useless for most people in suburbia, it would have to be nominal (perhaps $2/day) and covered with the Metropass/UPass. It would probably wind up being revenue neutral (the differential may be slightly more than 2 express fares, but people who carpool there would only have to pay one parking fee.) However, it does help to break away the "cost of parking" from the cost of the bus, and more people might try to carpool to the station, saving some parking spaces.

If we're keeping "express" vs. "local" fares, though, the 94 should be express unless we're going to add a couple of stops along the way. It's essentially just a quicker Green Line that runs during the business weekday, and considering the fact that it's rare to see the Green Line truly at capacity, I don't see a compelling reason not to charge it as an "express" service (which it very much is an express link between the two downtowns.) If/when we reach a point where the Green Line is running beyond full regularly, then I can see making the 94 a local fare just to make the 94 a bit more attractive.

As for the fare increase in general, it's probably about time for a fare increase, especially considering we haven't had one in a number of years. I do think there's some value into keeping the non-rush express fare the same as the rush hour local fare, but that's not critical. I do think there's some value in having the senior fare only apply during non-rush hour: there's usually more excess capacity then, so by offering the discount during non-rush hours it incentivizes those choice trips to happen during non-rush hour. A compromise might be to make the senior fare $1 non-peak, $2 peak. That'd still be a discount over the current fare but still keep an incentive to move trips to non-rush hours when practical.

The $59 pass removal intrigues me the most, especially since they mention they're going to make it into a blended product. At this point, despite commuting most days, I still purchase the $59 pass. That plus $22 in stored value (for $20) covers my commuting needs for a month or more (there's usually 22-23 work days in a month, and at least some months I'll have a vacation day or I'll have to drive in for some reason.) It also has forced me to keep stored value on my card, which is nice if I need to grab an express bus or the Northstar for whatever reason. I'll be a bit sad if they just hop everyone up to a peak fare product, but if they, say, keep the local "peak + non-peak" pass at $85 despite a fare increase, I'd consider that a good alternative. However, I'm not sure that everyone would be happy with that, especially if the vast majority of their trips are during non-rush hours.


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