Tam Valley Call n Ride Shuttle Option April 2008

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1 Tam Valley Call n Ride Shuttle Option April 2008 If funding is available to provide transit service to Tam Valley, Marin Transit staff recommends that a call-n-ride service is started. Survey data from Fall 2007 showed potential passengers live in dispersed home locations in the hilly areas of Tam Valley that cannot be well served by a fixed route transit route. A jitney type service providing curb-to-curb service is likely to be the best way to serve the Tam Valley landscape. Description of Call-n-Ride Service The jitney service would be modeled after the call-n-ride services operated in Denver, Colorado by the Regional Transit District (RTD) (http://www.rtd-denver.com/specialrides/call-n- Ride/index.html). Residents within the service area, or passengers traveling to the service area, would be able to call to schedule curb-to-curb service to anywhere within the service area or to predefined transfer points (Manzanita Park n Ride, Strawberry, Mill Valley Depot). Brian Mathews, the RTD staff in charge of special services, said Call-n-Ride is the most popular service with our riders. Trips could be scheduled up to two weeks in advance to up to either the day before or one hour before the trip time. Rides would be shared, and the driver would attempt to schedule the trip within a ½ hour before or after the desired trip time. Passengers can also schedule subscription trips that occur weekly or daily. Subscription trips are recurrent trips. It is possible that the shuttle could have a set number of trips to local schools that it makes daily. Implementation Marin Transit would need to put this service out to bid through an RFP process. Depending on staff availability this process will take about 2 months, and another 2-3 months would be needed for the contractor to implement the service. The contractor s ability to provide a vehicle and driver will be the biggest factor in the implementation time. Vehicle Size Marin Transit does not currently have vehicles available for this service. During the RFP process, Marin Transit would ask the contractor to provide a vehicle for the service. The vehicle would need to be wheelchair accessible and be no larger than a 13-passenger shuttle vehicle due to the narrow Tam Valley roads. Hours of Operation The hours of operation may be highly dependent on the funding available. To be effective, the shuttle should operate throughout the day to handle commute and midday trips. If a passenger can make a morning trip but cannot get home in the afternoon, the system will be less effective. Marin Transit recommends the service operates weekdays 6:00 to 11:00 am and 2:00 to 7:00 pm for a total of 10 hours per day. Costs While call-n-ride service is popular with riders, it requires a high public subsidy. Based on operation data for a similar area in Evergreen, Colorado, Marin Transit expects the Call-n-Ride in Tam Valley to carry around 4 passengers per hour, which will result in a subsidy of $15 to $18 per passenger trip and around 10,000 annual trips. C:\Documents and Settings\dpatterson\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK51\Tam Valley Route Call'n Ride 2008.doc 1

2 The cost of running the jitney 10 hours per day is estimated at between $150,000 to $175,000 annually 1. Expected fare box recovery is $10,000 for a net operating cost of $140,000 to $166,400 annually. 1 Costs are based on operating 252 weekdays per year at a cost of $70 per hour. C:\Documents and Settings\dpatterson\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK51\Tam Valley Route Call'n Ride 2008.doc 2

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4 Tam Valley Transportation Survey Analysis November 6, 2007 (DRAFT) Summary If additional transit service is started in Tam Valley, Marin Transit recommends that the first priority is yellow school bus service that serves Tam Valley Elementary School. Figure 1 shows that 180 respondents said their families were interested in using school service, while only 75 respondents said they were interested in a commute shuttle. Even with the high interest in school service, the route is likely to be a highly subsidized service due to the limitations on vehicle size and the limited willingness of users to pay for the service. Fewer respondents indicated they were interested in shuttle service for commuting than school service (see section on Commute Service below). If it is a priority to subsidize a commute shuttle to Manzanita Park n Ride, the survey shows that service is likely to attract enough riders for one to two peak period trips. According to the survey, forty-three percent of San Francisco commuters are already using transit so many of these riders may be walking or driving to transit service. 400 Figure 1: Tam Valley Resident s Interest in Shuttles Respondents Maybe Yes Would Take Shuttle Service (type not defined) Would Take School Service Would Take Commute Service Overall, survey respondents indicated they were more interested in Shuttle Service and less interested in Dial-a-Ride and Taxi service or subscription shuttle service (Figure 3). This is supported by payment data that indicates that respondents are less interested in subscription fares. 1

5 Figure 2: Interest in Service Types Respondents Subscription Shuttle or Van Service Shuttle Service (Deviated Fixed-Route) Dial-a-Ride/Taxi Service 50 0 Most Preferred Neutral Least Preferred Ranking The following tables and figures are included in this report to illustrate the Tam Valley Survey Data: Figure 1: Tam Valley Resident s Interest in Shuttles Figure 2: Interest in Service Types Table 1: Existing Transit Service in Tam Valley Figure 3: Transit Routes in Tam Valley Figure 4: Support for Shuttle, Van or Jitney Service in Tam Valley Figure 5: Number of Students Interested in a Shuttle by School Figure 6: Home Locations of Tam Valley Students Interested in Transit Service Figure 7: Willingness to Pay for School Service Figure 8: Percent of Respondents Interested in a Commute Shuttle Figure 9: Commute Location and Transit Usage Figure 10: Willingness to Pay for Commute Service Background The Tam Valley Transportation Survey was conducted as an online and paper survey in September A copy of the complete survey is included as an appendix to this report. The survey was distributed to all Tam Elementary School students and a postcard mailer was sent to 5,200 residents in the Tam Valley area. Two coffee mugs and gift certificates were used as an incentive for responses. Marin Transit received 452 responses to the survey or about a 10% response rate. 2

6 Table 1: Existing Transit Service in Tam Valley Route Type Description Frequency Span 17 Local 10 Regional 4 Regional 61 Rural San Rafael Mill Valley Manzanita- Marin City Tam Valley Sausalito San Francisco Mill Valley Manzanita San Francisco Marin City - Manzanita TAM High Tam Junction Stinson Beach Bolinas Hourly Hourly but only four trips serve Tam Valley Every 10 to 20 minutes 4 round trips per day Figure 3: Transit Routes in Tam Valley Weekdays: 5:30 am to 11:00 pm Weekends: 7:30 am to 11:00 pm (trips from/to Tam Valley) Weekdays 6:40 am, 7:40 am, 6:39 pm Weekdays (commute direction only) 5:00 am to 10:00 am 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm Weekdays 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Weekends: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm 3

7 Tam Valley is an unincorporated area of Marin County west of Hwy 101 and south of Mill Valley. The area has regular hourly transit service that operates along Almonte Blvd and serves the Manzanita Park n Ride and very limited commute service that operates on Shoreline Hwy to San Francisco via Sausalito. Table 1 and Figure 3 show detailed transit information for the area. Much of Tam Valley is hilly terrain with narrow streets and no sidewalks that makes it challenging for transit service to access residents efficiently and safely. Interest in Shuttle, Van, or Jitney Service The Tam Valley Transportation Survey showed that there is interest in a shuttle service among respondents in this area. Figure 4 shows that 42% (193 respondents) would be interested in using shuttle, van, or jitney service in this area and only 3% (13) did not think this type of service was needed. Overall, 30% of survey respondents already had one or more members of their household who used transit to get to work. Figure 4: Support for Shuttle, Van or Jitney Service in Tam Valley Support for Shuttle, Van or Jitney Service 3% Yes 18% Maybe 42% 37% No, but I would support a service for other residents No, I don t think these services are needed in Tam Valley 4

8 Opportunities for School Bus Service Most of the respondents indicating an interest in shuttle, van, or jitney service were interested in school service (Figure 1). The greatest number of parents indicated they had students at Tam Valley Elementary (271 students) that would be interested in school bus service. The number of students interested at Tam Valley was almost five times higher than any other school (Figure 5) but this is not surprising since it was the only school where surveys were sent home with students. Respondents indicated they were willing to pay the standard $1.00 per ride fare or the youth pass price of $175 per six months (Figure 7). Figure 5: Number of Students Interested in a Shuttle by School Students Interested in School Service # of Children Tam Valley Elementary School Mill Valley Middle School Tamalpais High School Other (please specify below) The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulates public transit service to schools to ensure there is no unfair competition with private contractors. These guidelines prevent public transit from operating on school property and ensure all service operates on published schedules that are open to the public. Marin Transit has found these restrictions prevent public transit from effectively meeting the needs of elementary school students. For example, if the shuttle doesn t stop on the school property, parents of young children may feel uncomfortable sending their children on a shuttle even if it only stops one or two blocks away. Marin Transit recommends that yellow school bus service be contracted for this service. Even with the strong interest in school bus service to Tam Valley Elementary School, the distribution of students, hilly terrain, and lack of sidewalks will make it difficult to serve the students effectively. On parent commented If the shuttle doesn t come within two blocks we will not use it. Figure 6 shows the residential locations of Tam Valley Elementary School students who are interested in transit service to school. 5

9 Figure 6: Home Locations of Tam Valley Students Interested in Transit Service 6

10 Figure 7: Willingness to Pay for School Service Respondents $1.00 per trip $175 for six months (current cost of a Marin Transit Youth Pass) Nothing, the ride must be free $2.00 per trip $50 per month Opportunities for Commute Service Fewer respondents indicated they were interested in shuttle service for commuting than school service. Figure 8 shows only 19 percent (75 respondents) reported they would be interested in taking a commute shuttle to the Manzanita Park n Ride. The Manzanita Park n Ride primarily serves commute routes to San Francisco. Few local Marin County routes serve this location. A shuttle serving both Strawberry and Manzanita would allow for both local and regional connections. However, until the frequency and convenience of primary local routes are improved, connecting to local service may not generate new ridership. 7

11 Figure 8: Percent of Respondents Interested in a Commute Shuttle Commuters interested in Shuttle to Manzanita 7% 19% 43% Yes Maybe No Would like a different shuttle 31% Sixty-five percent of regular commuters represented in the survey indicated they were traveling to San Francisco (Figure 7). Of the commuters to San Francisco, 43% said they were already using public transit to commute to work. This is significantly higher than the 4% of commuters using transit to get to destinations within Marin County. Transit service to San Francisco is already capturing a large segment of the market, and it may be difficult to attract additional riders. Transit usage to Sausalito, Sonoma, and Novato were 13%, 9%, and 6% respectively. The largest proportion of commute riders indicated they were unwilling to pay for the Tam Valley service (Figure 10). Thirty percent respondents interested in a commute shuttle said that it must be free. Twenty-five percent said $2.00 with a free transfer to other transit service, which for current transit riders would be no additional expense. To pay for the service using subscription fares, the cost per rider would be around $200 per month using optimistic projections of costs and ridership. Only three people said they would be willing to pay $100 per month. More people were willing to pay $2 per trip, which would translate into about $80 per month. 8

12 Figure 9: Commute Location and Transit Usage # of Commuters Non-Bus Commuters Bus/Ferry Commuters 0 San Francisco All Marin Locations Mill Valley San Rafael Corte Madera/Larkspur Sausalito Novato San Anselmo/Fairfax East Bay Sonoma County Figure 10: Willingness to Pay for Commute Service Respondents Nothing, the ride must be free $2.00 per trip with free transfer to another bus $2.00 per trip $50 per month $1.00 per trip $100 per month 9

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