Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Arizona Republic argues that deconcentrated transit system in Greater Phoenix costs money in adminstration that could be better spent on service

See the article, "Phoenix-area bus, light-rail cuts avoidable, analysis shows," and the editorial, "Opinion: Southeast Valley should lead transit unification talks."

From the article:

When the Valley's economy was unraveling in 2008, transit service was an early casualty.

Three years of cuts ensued. Dozens of bus lines were eliminated, rerouted or truncated. Wait times grew, and fares shot up on buses and light rail.

Some of those transit cuts, and the resulting hardship for many riders, might have been averted if the Valley's transit network were run by a single unified agency, an Arizona Republic analysis indicates. Unified transit systems are common among fast-growing Western cities.

As it is, in Maricopa County, 11 local transit agencies provide bus and rail service, creating redundant costs in administrative personnel and contracted services such as bus operations and security.

At $70 million a year, administrative costs make up nearly a quarter of the system's total operating costs, making the Valley the third most top-heavy region in the country, according to data from federal and local agencies. Some local leaders believe those costs can be cut and are talking favorably of an eventual merger of transit agencies.

The transit web
The Valley's transit system is dizzingly complex. The 109 bus and rail routes and Dial-A-Ride areas are operated under 14 different contracts, each with one or more funding agencies, mainly cities; an operator, and a contracting entity. Funding agencies aren't shown below, but an example of the pattern is Veolia Tempe's contract to run 19 routes. Some routes are funded by Tempe, Arizona State University or the Regional Public Transportation Authority, and others by various combinations of Tempe, RPTA, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Mesa and the Gila River Indian Community.

Contracting bodies/Operators/Routes or areas El Mirage El Mirage 1
Glendale Glendale 3
Metro LRT Metro LRT 1
Peoria Peoria 1
Phoenix First Transit 14
Phoenix MV Transportation 2
Phoenix Veolia Phoenix 31
RPTA Ajo Transportation 1
RPTA Valu Trans 7
RPTA Veolia RPTA 24
Scottsdale Dunn Transportation 3
Surprise Surprise 1
Tempe Veolia Tempe 19
Tolleson Tolleson 1

Source: Regional Public Transportation Authority, Arizona Republic research

The DC area has two types of service, "regional" bus and subway service provided by WMATA and paid by various jurisdictions, and local bus service provided by various jurisdictions and usually contracted out to non-union organizations. Probably the communities don't spend as much on administration compared to Phoenix area jurisdictions.

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