Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 17

2018 BUS & PARATRANSIT CONFERENCE

Flagstaff's Mountain Line Partners for Future Success
BY JEFF MEILBECK
Chief Executive Officer & General
Manager
Northern Arizona Intergovernmental
Public Transportation Authority
Flagstaff, AZ

T

he Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation
Authority (NAIPTA) surpassed
the two million annual rider mark on its
Mountain Line fixed-route transit system
for the first time ever in Fiscal Year 2017
and has experienced ridership growth of
19 percent so far this year.
On the heels of a successful transit
tax renewal ballot initiative in November 2016 and with the addition of five
60-foot articulated buses to accommodate a growing Northern Arizona University (NAU) population, the agency is
well-positioned for the future. Known
as an organization that embraces new
challenges, the NAIPTA board and staff
set out to answer the question: What's
next?
The NAIPTA board recently adopted

Mountain Line provided more than two million annual rides for the first time in FY 2017.

a five-year transit plan that calls for
increased frequency and service span, in
addition to tools that will allow buses
to move through traffic more efficiently.
When adding in a projected 27 percent
increase in NAU enrollment over the
next decade, the agency realized that

implementing the five-year plan and
partnering with the university to make
public transit more accessible to students were its next opportunities.
Congestion is one of the most pressing issues facing Flagstaff today, and it
is front and center as the city council

considers sending a public transit tax
increase to the voters this November.
The increase would partially fund the
five-year plan, and full funding could be
realized through leveraging the tax dollars against a potential Universal Access
Pass (UPASS) program with NAU. Popular in college towns, the UPASS would
allow unlimited transit access to all NAU
students, staff and faculty.
By tying the success of the tax
increase to the investment from NAU,
voters will have an opportunity to
improve public transit throughout the
community and give mobility options to
the city's largest population.
NAIPTA made an incremental step
toward the UPASS in 2012 with the
introduction of Mountain Link, a free
route that connects the NAU campus
with downtown Flagstaff and Woodlands Village, a popular residential
area. Adding full access for students to
the entire system has been a long-term
goal and, through partnerships and the
power of transit to mitigate congestion,
this goal could be realized soon.

NCRTD Builds Efficiencies With New Software
BY ANTHONY MORTILLARO
Executive Director
North Central Regional Transit District
EspaƱola, NM

planning and scheduling. Collectively,
the software demonstrates real-life
impacts from a variety of angles while
outlining the operational efficiencies
that could be realized.
he North Central Regional TranThe planning component automatisit District (NCRTD) provides
cally looks at proposed route modificabus public transit to four countions-for example, a new bus stop or a
ties in northern New Mexico (Santa Fe,
routing change -and can then analyze
Los Alamos, Taos and Rio Arriba)-a
the changes to determine their impact
service area comprising more than
on the existing transit network and the
10,000 square miles.
communities it serves.
This year, the NCRTD implemented
The scheduling component refines
a user-friendly route planning and
the proposed/new services to perform
scheduling software platform that prosuch tasks as creating pieces of work for
vides tools to build and modify public
operators and rosters for semiannual
transit services in real time. The software
operator route bids and, eventually,
has succeeded in increasing efficiency,
automatically assigning vehicles.
meeting the needs specific to the comIn years past, staff would manually
munities served while also creating an
create route variations based on anecimproved workplace for operators and
dotal evidence from passengers, operator
operations staff.
input and community feedback. Staff
The district further benefits as
would compile the data and analyze
improved operational efficiencies are
based on the overarching feedback
expected to result in a decrease in fleet
received. Staff would then determine
needs, more efficient use of staff time,
two to three routing options to offer for
decreases in overtime and sick leave
discussion at a staff and/or board level.
usage, among other benefits.
Although this approach served NCRTD
The software includes two modules:
well in the past, it had become clear
there was room for
improvement.
Utilizing the new
software, the NCRTD
will be able to create
a greater variety of
routing options with
a much shorter turnaround time. Furthermore, costs and impacts
to the community will
be more accurately displayed in the context of
appropriate data (actual
cost based on allocation
versus guesstimate; Title
VI and similar analysis
to guide modifications).
NCRTD is improving system efficiency with new scheduling software.
This streamlined pro-

T

cess will result in cost savings and allow
staff to be more efficient and effective
in planning and ultimately tackle more
projects.
The scheduling component further
refines the proposed/new services created in the planning platform and performs such tasks as runcutting, creating
daily pieces of work for operators, rostering for semiannual driver pick/bid and
calling out vehicle assignments.

The benefits of planning and scheduling software that is customizable in
house greatly outweigh what could be
accomplished by working with a consultant and collectively cost roughly the
same as runcutting as a one-time-only
function.
In April, the NCRTD achieved a successful rollout of modifications to 11 of
its 25 routes, which are now operating
with greater efficiencies at reduced cost.

SamTrans Mobile App
Could Break Down Barriers
BY MATT WILSON
Public Affairs Specialist
San Mateo County Transit District
"DO I HAVE exact change?" "When
is the bus getting here?" "Is it running
late, or am I just really early?" These are
common questions for many bus riders.
Customers of the San Mateo County
Transit District (SamTrans), San Carlos,
CA, will be able to answer such questions more easily when the agency
releases its new Mobility App-anticipated Sept. 1. Riders will be able to use
their smartphones to track, in real time,
the arrival and departure of their bus.
In addition, needing exact change
won't be a concern with mobile ticketing, which will allow riders to buy their
fare in advance and use their digital
ticket to board. Customers will also be
able to use the app to plan their trips.
In April, the SamTrans Board of
Directors approved a two-year, $478,000
contract with New York-based Bytemark
Inc. to get the app built and ready for
download. The company has developed
and currently supports similar mobile
ticketing and/or trip planning apps for

U.S. public transit agencies including
King County Metro Transit in Seattle,
Capital Metropolitan Transportation
Authority in Austin and the Sacramento
Regional Transit District.
Bytemark will be responsible for the
development, deployment, evaluation,
hosting, training, support, maintenance
and updates to the application.
SamTrans also plans for technology
improvements, along with staff training for successful implementation, and
a marketing and outreach effort will be
rolled out as the app gets closer to its
go-live date.
Future enhancements could include
integration of fare validation with the
current system, expanding ticketing
options, along with other connecting
transit modes in the San Francisco Bay
Area such as San Francisco Bay Area
Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain. An
enhanced real-time incident response
communication feature could also be
added.
SamTrans is aiming big and hopes
the Mobility App can boost fixed-route
ridership by 15 percent and fixed-route
farebox revenue by 20 percent.

May 7, 2018 | 17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9

Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 1
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 2
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 3
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 4
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 5
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 6
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 7
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 8
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 9
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 10
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 11
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 12
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 13
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 14
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 15
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 16
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 17
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 18
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 19
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 20
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 21
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 22
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 23
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 24
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 25
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 26
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 27
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 28
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