Election results and Ohio Transit

11 11 2011

From what I can tell, there were two local ballot issues that could affect public transit service on Tuesday: Issue 48 for the city of Cincinnati to ban adding trolley service and a .25 cent sales tax increase in Lorain County that would help prevent more cuts to LCT.

If you did not already hear, Lorain County voters rejected the sales tax increase and the limited funding for LCT is on the chopping block.  In better news for transit in Ohio, Issue 48 was rejected by Cincinnati voters and street car plans are still in the works.  That street car may yet get built.


Greater Dayton RTA to offer one-day passes

6 11 2011

This week, Greater Dayton RTA proposed that they were going to start selling daily passes next year. I thought I would look into what transit services offer daily passes.  This led to the chart below.

*As a disclaimer, I wouldn’t put too much into the actual prices of fares.  I would say that comparing smaller transit services with the larger agencies will lead to noticeable price differences.  In the larger agencies, the rider is getting more service for his or her money, which is often more than a smaller transit service. Also, COTA and SORTA have varying pricing structures (in Cincinnati they are called zones).  To make the chart easier, I only included the fares for the smallest region.  (Local in COTA and Cincinnati for SORTA).  Clicking on the agency name will take you to the fare price structure page.

Unless you are planning on traveling all day, making three or four stops, several hours apart, buying two single fares should be cheaper than buying a daily pass.  This only makes sense as a business. A few transit agencies (Akron Metro and SARTA) make it easy on the rider by simply pricing the day pass as twice a single fare.  It gets a little bit more complicated if the transit agency charges a fee for transferring.  Currently, this might be a benefit for buying a one-day pass with GDRTA, who charges a nominal .25 fee for transfers.  Buying an All-Day pass would avoid having to deal with planning transfers.

A third factor that would be useful in determining a price for All-day passes , which I won’t go into much, is the hours of operation of the agency.  If buses only run from 7 am to 6 pm, there is much less opportunity to use more than 2 rides.

Overall, if logistically possible, the one-day pass is a good idea.  For outsiders (travelers and locals who typically don’t use transit), a one-day pass is very welcoming in setting a one-time fee.  Depending on the economics of pricing a pass, it may not be used by frequent riders, but it is nice to have.

Fare Transfer Daily Monthly/31 Senior
Akron Metro $1.25 $2.50 $50.00 $0.50
Allen RTA $1.00 Free $34.00 $0.50
COTA $1.75 2 hours $4.00 $55.00
GCRTA $2.25 2 hours $5.00 $85.00 $1.00
GDRTA $1.75 $0.25 $5.00 (coming soon) $55.00 $0.85
Laketran $1.75 Free No No $0.75
LCT $2.35 Free $5.00 $94.00 $1.15
RCT $1.50 Free $40.00 $0.75
SARTA $1.50 $3.00 $45.00 $0.75
SCAT $0.75 $0.25 $55.00
SORTA $1.75 $0.50 No $70.00 $0.85
TARTA $1.00 none $40.00 $0.50
WRTA $1.25 $0.25 No $42.00 $0.60

OPTA’s new President

28 07 2010

Here is a brief article about Mark Donaghy, Greater Dayton RTA Executive Director and new president of the Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA).  OPTA is a professional and advocacy group for Ohio transit agencies.  It looks like terms run from June to June.

Did you know: OPTA’s annual system and individual awards are called the OPTAmist awards.  OPTA has also started a Maintenance Blog.  We’ll see what news shows up there.

from Mass Transit

The Status of Public Transit in Ohio 2010 is here!

25 07 2010

A heads up that the Department of Transportation has released the 2010 report The Status of Public Transit in Ohio.  This document includes reported statistics for 2009 by each transit agency in Ohio.  The status report is a good source for looking for any transit related number – ridership, funding, bus types, and contact information.  Go here to download the full report.  For those looking for more, I would also check the board notes and reports put out by individual transits.

A depressing note: ridership for the general public statewide was 114.3 million trips in 2009, down from 132.8 million trips in 2008.  Transit cuts do make a difference, even in greener times.

Lorain commissioners support state-wide sales tax

6 06 2010

As a way to increase statewide funding for public transit, Lorain county commissioners said they would support a .25 cent state-wide income tax. This would of course help LCT, whose county voters turned down an county-wide sales tax increase last year.

I do not know if this is just wishful thinking, but the Greater Ohio Policy Center is looking into the possiblity.  While more steady state funding is worth striving for, I see two possible problems with a state-wide sales tax.

1. As there is not state-wide public transit, this leaves open the argument that the tax is inequatible.  (Of course, a state-wide sales tax could bring public transit to all.)

2. Sales taxes are inherently regressive, with more of burden on those making less.  Do you really want to base long term funding on growing speding?

from The Morning Journal

Public Transportation Preservation Act

29 05 2010

Not sure if this will go anywhere, but Senator Sherrod Brown has added his support to the this bill to allow transit agencies to restore lost service or prevent future losses.  I like how all the money will need to go towards service as opposed to capital projects.

Brown’s press release lists approximate funding that could be available for transit agencies around the state.

from The Morning Journal

As as starting point…

10 05 2010

The following Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) report, the State of Public Transit in Ohio July 2009, has about as much information in one place for any statewide source.  This includes funding, fares, statistics, and the models (and age) of vehicles (mostly buses in Ohio).  These statistics reflect the year 2008.

There are 59 systems included with 24 Urban Systems and 35 Rural Systems.  In general, most of the Rural Systems do not have fixed routes, but this is not always the case (Chillicothe Transit System has fixed routes).  Overall, I found 21 systems with fixed routes.  All systems offered some form of paratransit service.