Research Team: Melissa Sather
Problem Statement: The main goal of this research is to develop a methodology for determining where transit agency/TNC partnerships can be cost-effective in Riverside County.
Project Description: The emergence of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), e.g. Uber and Lyft, over the last decade has introduced a new form of on-demand mobility that has the potential to be a strong partner with transit agencies, providing lower-cost alternatives where traditional fixed-route transit is not sustainable. As an example, TNCs and transit agencies could partner to create designated zones where the agency agrees to subsidize a portion of all trips taken on TNCs within the zone, rather than providing traditional fixed-route service in that area. By partnering with TNCs, public transit agencies can switch from supply-driven to demand-driven mobility, only paying for drivers when there is demand for a trip. This has the potential to reduce transit agency operating costs, allowing agencies to reinvest resources into higher-performing areas of the network. This model may also allow agencies to merge fixed-route and complementary ADA/paratransit services under one on-demand service model. This graduate student thesis project analyzes the cost-savings potential for transit/TNC partnerships in five zones across the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) service area in Western Riverside County: East Perris, Moreno Valley, Temescal Valley, Calimesa, and Temecula. Each of these zones has either low-performing fixed-route transit service or no fixed-route service at all. However, implementing a transit/TNC partnership is not as simple as switching out operators. RTA must consider factors such as geography, trip length, potential ridership, equitable fares and fare collection, vehicle/driver availability, and federal regulations (Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VI).
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