Options for the Future of State Funding for Transit Operations in California

Research Team: Juan Matute (lead), Brian D. Taylor, amd John Gahbauer

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: Transit is most cost-effective when transit vehicles are crowded throughout the day, which runs counter to current public health guidance calling for physical distancing and frequently disinfecting public transit vehicles. The costs in lost revenue from limitations on vehicle capacity, coupled with long term declining revenue—not only fare revenues but also parking, advertising, and concessionaire rent—as well as subsidies primarily from motor vehicle fuel taxes and sales taxes, pose serious challenges to transit.

Project Description: This research informs statewide and local decisions regarding transit funding and service levels in California at a time of financial stress by modeling changes (1) in transit vehicle revenues (per hour and by mile), (2) in public subsidy including local and state tax revenues, and (3) in expenditures (e.g., cleaning costs) and other fixed and variable costs. This research provides insights on the impact of changes in revenues and operating profiles on the cash flow of California transit agencies, and develop analytical tools as appropriate.

Status: Completed

Budget: $25,000