FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:14 pm

Is "The Ride" in-house or private contractor operated? NYCT "Access-Ride" and NJT AccessLink are private services under contract with the agency.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby CRail » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:04 pm

The Ride is contracted through several private carriers with each contractor serving its own district.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:04 am

novitiate wrote:
MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:I was told by someone of some knowledge that the commuter rail, buses and subway pay for themselves to operate, employees, labor, maintenance and the boats and The Ride is where all the MBTA's money troubles come from resulting in the mess for everyone. How much does it cost to operate the boats? I know The Ride is very cheap and no where near covers the costs, especially when diesel fuel is $4~/gallon, that is the biggest loss right there. axe the boats and the ride
Here's the farebox recovery numbers I've seen: http://www.universalhub.com/2012/mbtas-fare-recovery-rate-vs-other-cities, which makes the boats look pretty good. You can't get rid of the Ride because it's a legal mandate.

Nice find, novitiate....That's a picture worth pasting directly. (I assume The Ride = Demand Response)
Image
Higher numbers are "better", lower numbers are "more subsidized". The basic The Ride fare is $4, but this means it costs $80 to actually deliver the trip. Meanwhile on Rail, the fare is $2 and it costs $4 to actually deliver.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Matthew » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:33 am

Arlington wrote:Nice find, novitiate....That's a picture worth pasting directly. (I assume The Ride = Demand Response)


If you're interested in that stuff you should be checking out http://www.ntdprogram.gov the MBTA is agency number 1003.

Arlington wrote:whereas rail, for each fare dollar costs two to provide (so on a $2 ride, the cost to provide it is about $4).


I don't think that's a good way to describe it, it's the wrong model. It does not cost $4 "per rider" to provide subway service; otherwise someone might claim that increased ridership leads to higher subsidy. But that's not true. Perhaps a better description is this:

The provision of subway service costs a large, fixed amount of money per year. Each rider pays a fare, and the total subway fares collected during that year only amounted to approximately 50% of the fixed cost. However, if there had been more rides during that same period of time, then more fares would have been collected, and the farebox recovery rate would have been higher.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:14 pm

Matthew wrote:The provision of subway service costs a large, fixed amount of money per year. Each rider pays a fare, and the total subway fares collected during that year only amounted to approximately 50% of the fixed cost. However, if there had been more rides during that same period of time, then more fares would have been collected, and the farebox recovery rate would have been higher.

Well, kinda sorta and kinda not really. If that extra rider came off-peak, an additional rider is all gravy--their $ come at a time and place where the seat would have gone empty and they improve farebox recovery.

If the rider comes at a peak time, it starts looking like the straw that breaks the camel's back--extra riders during rush hour can be extremely expensive because they trigger things like overfilled trains, capacity studies, operational snags, and ultimately, new railcars.

Crowding on the Green Line today, is what has caused the need for 3-car trains. It was peak riders that "caused" those expenses. Worse, 3-car trains, have in turn caused the need for something like $150m to $200m of new light rail storage yards as part of the Green Line Extension (the majority of the new storage faciliy will actually be holding trains that currently over-fill existing yards). Peak riders look like they're making money for the system, when actually they're triggering purchases of capacity that has to be owned and stored 24 hours a day but which is really only needed for 4 hours per day. (its why the sensible thing is peak pricing--rush hour users are forcing the T to buy capacity that it otherwise wouldn't need).
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:41 am

I would imagine that the yards take up considerably less space and are a lot cheaper to build than all the parking spaces that would be needed if those peak riders were driving.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:11 am

MBTA3247 wrote:I would imagine that the yards take up considerably less space and are a lot cheaper to build than all the parking spaces that would be needed if those peak riders were driving.


Either way, accommodating peak-time users in the peak-direction into peak-places is what triggers all the expensive infrastructure of any sort that we like to dream/bellyache about here. If someone built a parking lot, it should charge peak-hour prices too.

Peak users' particular needs are what cause the T to have to go out and procure new assets to provide peak capacity. Even when you cram them in, the problem is that the vehicle that is 100% full when they are on it, probably averages 20% full, or less over the course of its operational life. So they really are paying only $2 for something that costs $4. This is the reason commuter rail costs so much--the trains run empty too much of the day and a whole lot of expensive right of way sits idle for most of its day.

The cheapest users to accommodate are the people with "unpopular" weekday off-peak (and counter-rush) users who use the "rest of the shift" (vehicles that had to run before/after the peak for logistical/staffing reasons anyway).

For late nights, weekends, and owl service (if any), the labor costs per passenger come back into play as the vehicles empty out, and the expense there is a small number of passengers triggering staffing and wear-and-tear maintenance cost. They probably cost more than $4 per passenger, but they are so few in number that they aren't "the problem" (but are still always a tempting cut to make).
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Matthew » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:51 pm

I agree that peak service is inefficient to provide, but that's not what I said. I said "if there had been more rides during that same period of time" which is presuming the same fixed costs but with more riders.

You can add to the fixed costs to supply more capacity, and peak capacity does tend to be the most expensive to provide, but in the long run the cost trajectory is still downwards as ridership grows. The hard work is already done by that point; the tracks exist, the operational facilities exist, the maintenance facilities exist, and the cost of purchasing new cars and yard space can be amortized over time. Depreciation happens whether or not you get more riders, so you may as well get more revenue out of your equipment. Perhaps you have to increase maintenance schedules or pay more for energy costs, as service increases. And you have to pay more operators to run your trains -- although in the case of the Green Line we could cut those costs in half or more by moving to OPTO like San Francisco has done.

But ultimately the cost of providing increased peak service boils down to public policy choices, especially land use, and that's outside of the agency's realm. Land use planning which tilts towards separation of work and living is going to create large, unidirectional peak hour flows, and nothing the MBTA can do will make that cost-effective to accommodate -- there's just too much wasted reverse-peak capacity. That style will always require heavy subsidy to function. Alternatively, we could shift to allowing more mixed uses of land which would result in all-day 2-way use of the T and less need for subsidy, as people make use of what you called "unpopular", "off-peak" or "counter-rush" capacity. Transportation reform really has to go along with land use and zoning reform. It's unfortunate that they continue to be treated separately in the legislature.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:43 pm

Matthew wrote:... ultimately the cost of providing increased peak service boils down to public policy choices, especially land use, and that's outside of the agency's realm. Land use planning which tilts towards separation of work and living is going to create large, unidirectional peak hour flows, and nothing the MBTA can do will make that cost-effective to accommodate -- there's just too much wasted reverse-peak capacity. That style will always require heavy subsidy to function. Alternatively, we could shift to allowing more mixed uses of land which would result in all-day 2-way use of the T and less need for subsidy, as people make use of what you called "unpopular", "off-peak" or "counter-rush" capacity. Transportation reform really has to go along with land use and zoning reform. It's unfortunate that they continue to be treated separately in the legislature.

We agree!

I'll add this thought: I think the T should float the idea of peak pricing of +50 cents for rail, the easiest-to-see being putting a premium on system entry in the core during the evening rush (say, 3pm to 7pm), or boarding at the non-core stations (or maybe just outermost 3 stops on a line) during the AM rush. (6am to 9am). (I-93 HOV lanes operate 6a-10a and 3p-7p). I'd also raise pass prices to reflect at least one peak trip per day. Its easy to explain, but not perfect: the thru-core commuter (The Central Square to Andrew) commuter gets to gum up the core at the same old fare.

Even if it isn't implemented, it is a way of saying that the sharp, intense, uni-directional traffic is what's crushing the system, and legislators need to start thinking about how to tame/spread that peak and use the reverse-peak capacity.

WMATA's rail peak fares are weekdays "opening...until 9:30am" and weekday evenings "3pm to 7pm"...but Washington's rush hours are much more spread out (yet both intense and sustained) because the Federal Gov't works very hard to stagger the operating hours of its various agencies/employees. Base fare jumps at least 40c for the peak, and more than $2 from long trips http://www.wmata.com/fares/metrorail.cfm
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby wicked » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:05 am

WMATA also charges peak fares after midnights on Fridays and Saturdays. I'd pay double fare for late-night service.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Matthew » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:46 pm

I have no problem with peak fares in principle (and hey, let's roll out dynamic, variable road pricing based on congestion too). But I have a bad feeling that the Charlie system is going to make this impossible until it gets replaced eventually. They can't even seem to add out-of-system transfers, so I suspect that any changes to fare structure beyond raising/lowering fares is probably no go.

You know me, of course, I'd prefer system-wide proof-of-payment and an end to these boondoggle fare gates, which just get in the way and slow down passenger flow (and don't really stop fare evasion). Of course, now that they sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into them, I doubt we'll see a change for a long time.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:41 pm

$118 million MBTA bailout advances in Legislature; fare hikes still possible

The Transportation Board’s Audit and Finance Committee voted 2-1 Thursday to recommend an MBTA budget that would cover the transit agency's $118 million budget gap

Proposed service cuts and mid-year fare increases will be triggered unless state funding arrives by July 1.

“I feel unable to support either the placeholder budget, because I don’t think it meets the letter of the law, or a budget that inflicts further pain as we did last year,” said board member Ferdinand Alvaro. He said he would rather the board “just fess up” that it can’t pass a suitable budget without action from the Legislature.

The fiscal year 2014 MBTA budget totals $1.86 billion, up from $1.76 billion last year.

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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:34 pm

Gas, tobacco tax hikes propose to pay for transportation repairs, improvements
http://www.enterprisenews.com/topstorie ... provements

BOSTON —
The state gas tax would increase by three cents per gallon and the per-pack cigarette tax would jump by a $1 under a revenue package to be proposed Tuesday by House and Senate leaders to address long-term transportation financing.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray plan to outline a proposal that would generate just over $500 million in annualized new revenues to support transportation, about a quarter of the new funding sought by Gov. Deval Patrick for infrastructure and education and half of what Patrick proposed for transportation.

According to a summary of proposal obtained by the News Service, House and Senate Democratic leaders will propose to generate $165 million in new revenue from new taxes on cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, including a $1-per-pack hike in the cigarette excise tax.

An estimated $110 million would come from a 3-cent increase in the state's 21-cent gas tax starting in 2015, and the gas tax would be tied to inflation.

The proposal captures $161 million from a tax code change to apply the state's 6.25 percent sales tax to computer system design services, and $83 million from changes to the utility classification and sales sourcing for tax reporting.

The plan, according to the documents, would provide “forward funding” for the regional transit authorities in 2014 and would allow the Department of Transportation to move all employees onto the operating budget by 2016 to stop paying for personnel with borrowed funds.

According to the summary documents, legislative leaders estimate the average driver will pay $12 to $30 more a year in gas taxes.

They believe gas consumption has declined and will continue to decline over the next five years, making it likely that overreliance on the gas tax would reopen the funding gap at the state's transportation agencies.

“A small increase to the gas tax combined with indexing for inflation is sensible and reasonable," the summary
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:29 pm

The reaction from the Southcoast ,

South Coast Rail not part of new legislative transportation bill


"It’s a plan that state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, does not support.
“I’m not happy with the package on principle,” Rodrigues said. “We’re taking resources from general sources, i.e. cigarettes, tobacco and corporate taxes to fund transportation, and there’s no guarantee those sources will be used as such in the future. It looks like Fall River, Westport, Somerset taxpayers are being asked to fix the MBTA’s problems and I’m certainly not happy about that.”

http://www.tauntongazette.com/newsnow/x ... ncing-plan
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:16 am

Senate adopts $500M tax plan, with more money for transportation :

Legislation raising gas, tobacco and business taxes in Massachusetts by $500 million and eventually dedicating up to $800 million a year in new revenues for transportation cleared the Senate 30 to 5 during a rare Saturday session.

With the absence of the contingent of media and lobbyists that would normally be attracted to a debate on a tax bill, Senate President Therese Murray led the charge to pass the tax bill, presiding as the Senate roared through more than 100 amendments to the legislation before approving it with all but two Democratic votes. Senators said differences over amendments had been talked through during a long private caucus.

http://www.patriotledger.com/topstories ... sportation
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