Title VI Fare Change Equity Analysis

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1 Title VI Fare Change Equity Analysis Evaluation Report Submitted to Dallas Area Rapid Transit Submitted by TranSystems June 2012

2 Title VI Fare Change Equity Analysis Introduction DART has proposed a schedule of fare changes to go into effect on December 3, This report provides an evaluation of these proposed changes based on FTA s Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients (FTA FTA C B), section IV-6, Requirement to Evaluate Service and Fare Changes. DART is also planning to implement bus and rail service changes, but those are not evaluated in this report. In addition to increasing the price of day, weekly, monthly, and annual passes, DART s fare proposal includes the following structural changes: The base fare will permit free transfers during a two-hour window. Currently, the base bus fare permits no transfers, and the base light rail fare permits transfers to other light rail only, within 90 minutes. There will be a new midday fare available to all between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. weekdays that would permit an unlimited number of boardings during that 5-hour period. It will not be available during peak hours or during the evening. Reduced fares for seniors and people with disabilities will no longer be available as day, monthly, or annual passes, but only as off-peak 2-hour passes valid between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and after 7 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturdays and Sundays. The separate fare category for commuter rail zone 1 and express bus will be combined with the existing local bus and rail category into a single System fare class. As a result, all major fare media types for commuter rail zone 1 and express bus will see an absolute (not just relative) reduction. Commuter rail zone 2 will remain as a separate, higherpriced Regional fare category. There will be a larger than average increase in the price of the retail annual pass and an even larger increase in the corporate annual pass, which is currently heavily discounted. In addition, the number of corporate annual pass categories will be reduced from six to two. People who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be able to use their Lone Star Pass EBT card to purchase a monthly pass at a 20% discount. Fare Categories Table 1 below shows current fare payment types and the comparable payment type in the proposed new fare structure. Because of the proposal to offer midday discounted fares and to limit reduced fares to the off-peak period, fares are shown as different categories by time of day for single-ride trips (and for reduced fares). Because some of the new payment types are not directly comparable to the old types, the percent change in price is not shown in this table. For June 8, TranSystems

3 example, a rider currently using a reduced monthly pass ($32 price) would no longer have that fare type available, but depending on when and how frequently that rider travels would most likely choose either a regular-price monthly pass ($80), or purchase several reduced-price 2- hour passes ($1.25) on different days. Obviously, the monthly and 2-hour passes are valid for different lengths of time and cannot be directly compared on price without considering the average number of boardings per purchase. Table 1: Existing and Proposed Fares Service Type Period Current Payment Type New Payment Type Existing Proposed Local Bus or LRT Ticket pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus Ticket pass Bus Ticket pass Off peak local Midday Ticket Midday 5-hour pass Off peak Zone 1 & Express Bus Midday Ticket Midday 5-hour pass Off peak Zone 2 Midday Ticket Midday 5-hour pass Local Bus or LRT All Day Pass Day Pass 4 5 CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Day Pass Day Pass 7 5 Bus All Day Pass Day Pass Local Bus or LRT All Weekly Pass Weekly Pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Weekly Pass Weekly Pass Bus All Weekly Pass Weekly Pass Local Bus or LRT All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass Bus All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass Local Bus or LRT All Retail Annual Pass Retail Annual Pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Retail Annual Pass Retail Annual Pass Bus All Retail Annual Pass Retail Annual Pass Local Normal All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass Local High All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus - Normal All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass CR Zone 1, Express Bus - High All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass June 8, TranSystems

4 Service Type Period Current Payment Type New Payment Type Existing Proposed Bus - Normal All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass Bus - High All Corporate Annual Pass Corporate Annual Pass CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride pass Bus Reduced single ride pass CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride hour pass Bus Reduced single ride hour pass CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass Day Pass 2 5 CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass hour pass CR Zone 2 Reduced Day Pass hour pass CR Zone 1 Reduced Monthly Pass Monthly Pass CR Zone 1 Reduced Monthly Pass hour pass Bus Reduced Monthly Pass Monthly Pass All Reduced Annual Senior Pass Annual Pass Riders by Fare Category The DART 2007 Transit Rider Survey was used to determine how many riders are in each of the detailed fare categories and how many of these riders were minority or low-income. The sample observations in the survey were coded into one of 33 different fare categories (some theoretical categories did not correspond to anyone actually surveyed). Weekly passes did not exist in 2007 and thus could not be included in the analysis. Fortunately, they account for a very small share of current riders (2% of boardings in 2011 according to DART estimates). The 2007 survey did not distinguish between corporate and retail annual passes. However, corporate annual passes account for the vast majority of annual pass use (97.8% according to DART estimates). Therefore, the annual pass prices shown in Tables 3 and 4 represent the price of corporate passes. Currently corporate passes are offered at different prices in normal service and high service areas. There is no data in the fare survey that permits identifying which of these kinds of passes a rider holds. Therefore, these pass types were analyzed together and their average price was calculated using current (CY2011) sales figures by pass type, as show in Table 2. In addition, the survey did not directly code commuter rail zones. For this evaluation report, any trips in the survey involving boardings or alightings at commuter rail stations west of Centreport / DFW Airport Station were coded as Commuter Rail Zone 2. June 8, TranSystems

5 Table 2: Calculation of Average Corporate Pass Price, CY 2011 Pass Price ($) Quantity Revenue ($) Local Normal 312 6,226 1,942,512 Local High 468 2,511 1,175,148 Weighted Average Pass Price ($) subtotal 8,737 3,117, CR Zone 1, Express Bus - Normal 480 1, ,160 CR Zone 1, Express Bus - High 720 1,631 1,174,320 subtotal 3,573 2,106, Bus - Normal 576 1, ,320 Bus - High 864 1,940 1,676,160 subtotal 3,385 2,508, In addition to the changes in fare policy since the survey was conducted in 2007, the light rail system has expanded significantly since then. A new Green Line began operation in September 2009 with a route from downtown Dallas to Fair Park that was extended in December 2010 to Pleasant Grove, with another branch opening simultaneously from Victory Station to Farmers Branch and Carrollton. Also in December 2010, an initial segment of the Orange Line began operation from Parker Road Station to Bachman Station, peak hours only. Bus routes were realigned to feed the new rail lines. Despite these changes, DART believes that the demographics of the system ridership is similar today to what it was in Because the fare structure is essentially the same on local bus and light rail, the analysis is not significantly affected by the conversion of bus trips to rail trips (or to bus plus rail trips). The expansion of the light rail system created an inequity between transit modes because rail riders are permitted to transfer between rail lines for a single ride fare, but bus riders are required to pay a separate single ride fare on each bus boarded, an inequity that will be corrected with the implementation of the current proposal. Vanpools DART also offers a vanpools program, jointly with the North Central Texas Council of Governments. A vanpool member is the designated primary driver, and in exchange receives use of the vehicle (at all times) without charge. The monthly rental fee and gasoline cost are shared by the vanpool members. These trips may also be subsidized by employers. DART currently provides the vehicles at a monthly price of $350 for a 15-passenger van or $330 for an eight-passenger van. DART plans to increase the monthly fee by $5 to $10. After this change, DART will cover approximately 5% of the cost of the program, with the remainder covered by NCTCOG and participants. Based on a map of vanpool origins and destinations created by NCTCOG, the program mainly serves residents of higher-income and non-minority areas, including many outside of the DART service area, going to downtown employers (see June 8, TranSystems

6 The population of vanpool riders is expected to include very few low-income or minority riders, especially compared to DART s ridership. Moving to self-sufficiency of the vanpool program is a means to reduce the burden on DART core system ridership, which, as noted below, has a high representation of low-income and minority households. Title VI Categories Minority According to the FTA Circular, minority persons include those classified as (1) American Indian and Alaska Native, (2) Asian, (3) Black or African American, (4) Hispanic or Latino, and (5) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Those who reported themselves in the 2007 Transit Rider Survey as Asian, Black/African-American, Hispanic, or Native American were coded as minority. In addition, those who classified themselves in one of these ethnicities plus some other ethnicity were also coded as minority (less than 1% were in this category). Approximately 64% of riders surveyed were self-classified as Asian, Black/African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Other ( minority ). 1 Low-Income According to the FTA Circular, low-income means a person whose median household income is at or below the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines. These guidelines are based on household income and household size, both of which were questions included in the survey. Individuals whose reported income and household size category in the survey fell completely within the DHHS s 2006 poverty guidelines were counted as poor or low-income in this evaluation (the terms are used interchangeably). Overall, 26% of the weighted sample riders fell below the poverty line. 2 Table 3 shows the number of boardings by fare category for riders who are minority and who are poor, as well as for the overall total. Note that the minority category includes both poor and non-poor, the poor category includes both minority and non-minority, and the overall category includes both minority and poor riders (as well as all others). The distribution of the boardings in each category was taken from 2007 Transit Riders Survey data cleaned by NuStats for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and weighted to represent total weekday boardings in These figures were then scaled to DART s reported FY2011 total ridership for bus, light rail, and commuter rail, which total million boardings. Note that paratransit and vanpool riders were not included in the survey. No change in fare for paratransit riders is proposed. 1 Technically, these are percents of boardings by these types of riders. Considering only those who reported fare payment type, 68% were minority. 2 Technically, these are percents of boardings by these types of riders. Considering only those who reported fare payment type, 28% were below the poverty line. June 8, TranSystems

7 Because those using single-fare media are generally paying per boarding under the current fare system but will have unlimited free transfers under the proposed fare system, it is necessary to normalize the fare paid by the number of boardings. DART provided 2011 fare sales and ridership estimates by fare media category. The average number of boardings per sale for each pass type, calculated from that data, was used to calculate the average fare per boarding for day, monthly, and annual passes, as shown in Table 3. These amounted to 3.7 boardings per day pass, 60 per monthly pass, and 503 per annual pass. For single-ride fares (both regular and reduced), the number of boardings per surveyed trip was calculated from the 2007 Survey for riders in that fare category. These were used to calculate fare per boarding for the proposed fares, which were compared to the existing single-ride fares, which are already expressed as a fare per boarding. Table 3: Fares per Boarding and Number of Boardings under Existing and Proposed Fare Structure for Minority, Poor, and Overall Riders # Service Type Time Period 1 Local Bus or LRT 2 Local Bus or LRT CR Zone 1, 3 Express Bus CR Zone 1, 4 Express Bus 5 Express Bus 6 Express Bus 7 Off peak local Midday 8 Off peak local Midday Off peak Zone 1 9 & Express Bus Midday Off peak Zone 1 10 & Express Bus Midday 12 Off peak Zone 2 Midday Existing Payment Type New Payment Type June 8, TranSystems Bdgs per Trip Fare per Boarding Annual Boardings (000) % change Overall Minority Poor pass % 2,377 1, pass % 5,131 4,134 1,596 pass % pass % pass % pass % Midday 5- hour pass % Midday 5- hour pass % 3,650 2,911 1,973 Midday 5- hour pass % Midday 5- hour pass % Midday 5- hour pass % Existing Proposed 13 Local Bus or LRT All Day Pass Day Pass % 13,739 10,427 4, CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Day Pass Day Pass % Express Bus All Day Pass Day Pass % CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride pass % CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride Reduced 2-hour pass %

8 # Service Type Time Period Existing Payment Type New Payment Type June 8, TranSystems Bdgs per Trip Fare per Boarding Annual Boardings (000) % change Overall Minority Poor Existing Proposed Express Bus Reduced single ride Reduced 2-hour pass % CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass Day Pass % 1, CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass 23 CR Zone 2 Reduced Day Pass 24 CR Zone 1 Reduced Monthly Pass CR Zone 1 Express Bus Reduced Monthly Pass Reduced Monthly Pass 27 Local Bus or LRT All Monthly Pass CR Zone 1, 28 Express Bus All Monthly Pass 29 Express Bus All Monthly Pass 30 Local Bus or LRT All Corporate Annual Pass CR Zone 1, 31 Express Bus All Corporate Annual Pass 32 Express Bus All Corporate Annual Pass Reduced Annual Senior 33 All Pass Reduced 2-hour pass % 1,558 1, Reduced 2-hour pass % Monthly Pass % 1,675 1, Reduced 2-hour pass % 1,616 1, Monthly Pass % Monthly Pass % 13,618 7,794 3,343 Monthly Pass % 1, Monthly Pass % Annual Pass % 3,311 2, Annual Pass % 4,403 2, Annual Pass % Annual Pass % TOTAL 61,074 41,477 17,040 Table 4: Percent Distribution of Boardings for Minority, Poor, and Overall Riders # Service Type Time Period 1 Local Bus or LRT 2 Local Bus or LRT CR Zone 1, Express 3 Bus CR Zone 1, Express 4 Bus 5 Bus 6 Bus 7 Off peak local Midday 8 Off peak local Midday Off peak Zone 1 & 9 Express Bus Midday Brd gs per Trip Fare per Boarding Percent Distribution Current Payment Type New Payment Type Existing Proposed % change Overall Minority Poor pass % 3.9% 4.0% 3.5% pass % 8.4% 10.0% 9.4% pass % 0.1% 0.2% 0.0% pass % 0.9% 0.4% 0.5% pass % 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% pass % 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% Midday 5-hour pass % 1.6% 1.5% 1.0% Midday 5-hour pass % 6.0% 7.0% 11.6% Midday 5-hour pass % 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%

9 10 Off peak Zone 1 & Express Bus Midday 12 Off peak Zone 2 Midday Midday 5-hour pass % 0.4% 0.6% 0.6% Midday 5-hour pass % 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 13 Local Bus or LRT All Day Pass Day Pass % 22.5% 25.1% 28.0% 14 CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Day Pass Day Pass % 1.5% 1.6% 1.6% 15 Bus All Day Pass Day Pass % 0.6% 0.2% 0.0% 16 CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride pass % 1.6% 2.1% 2.2% 19 CR Zone 1 Reduced single ride hour pass % 1.5% 1.7% 2.7% 20 Bus Reduced single ride hour pass % 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 21 CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass Day Pass % 2.0% 2.3% 2.3% 22 CR Zone 1 Reduced Day Pass hour pass % 2.6% 3.0% 4.1% 23 CR Zone 2 Reduced Day Pass hour pass % 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 24 CR Zone 1 Reduced Monthly Pass Monthly Pass % 2.7% 3.1% 3.8% 25 CR Zone 1 Reduced Monthly Pass hour pass % 2.6% 2.5% 3.7% 26 Bus Reduced Monthly Pass Monthly Pass % 0.1% 0.1% 0.3% 27 Local Bus or LRT All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass % 22.3% 18.8% 19.6% 28 CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass % 3.2% 2.2% 1.7% 29 Bus All Monthly Pass Monthly Pass % 0.5% 0.4% 0.0% 30 Local Bus or LRT All Corporate Annual Pass Annual Pass % 5.4% 5.2% 1.7% 31 CR Zone 1, Express Bus All Corporate Annual Pass Annual Pass % 7.2% 6.3% 1.6% 32 Bus All Corporate Annual Pass Annual Pass % 0.6% 0.3% 0.0% 33 All Reduced Annual Senior Pass Annual Pass % 1.6% 1.5% 0.1% TOTAL 100% 100% 100% Disproportionately High and Adverse Effects Table 4 provides the same information as Table 3 except that the boardings are shown as a percent distribution by type of rider (minority, poor, and overall). There are only a few categories (shown in bold type) where the fare is proposed to increase and minority or lowincome riders are disproportionately represented in that category: 1. -period single-ride fares, for those making a one-seat ride (category 1). Note that only 20% of single-ride trips fall into this category (one-seat rides during the peak period), and the price per boarding will decline significantly for all other current users of single-ride fare media (that is, those taking more than one boarding per trip and/or those traveling in the midday). Overall, counting off-peak use and multiple-seat trips, minority and poor riders are less likely than average to use single-ride fares. 2. Day passes on local bus and light rail (category 13). 3. Reduced single ride, reduced day passes, and reduced monthly passes in the peak period (categories 16, 21, 24 and 26). These reduced fare media are used by less than 8% of June 8, TranSystems

10 minority riders and less than 9% of poor riders. DART is also considering an alternative that would maintain the monthly reduced pass, as discussed below. The following sections discuss alternatives available, mitigations, and alternative plans for the categories listed above. Alternative Fare Payment Media and Mitigation There are several alternative fare payment options that can be used by riders in the categories mentioned above to mitigate the effective fare increase: 1. -Period Single Ride Fares for One-Seat Rides a. If infrequently traveling in the peak period, riders could purchase a 2-hour pass (with unlimited free transfers) for those few times and use an off-peak fare at other times. b. If making multiple trips on that day, purchase a day pass. c. If frequently traveling in the peak, purchase a weekly or monthly pass, or if eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), purchase a monthly pass with a 20% discount with the Lone Star Pass. 2. Day Passes a. If making many boardings, but not in the peak, purchase a 5-hour pass. b. If traveling daily during the peak period, purchase a monthly pass. c. If eligible, use the Lone Star Pass to purchase a discounted monthly pass. 3. Reduced Passes a. Shift trips outside of the morning and evening peak, where the reduced 2-hour pass will be valid. As shown for Fare Category 25, the fare paid per boarding would decrease by 4% compared to current fares for riders who are able to make this adjustment. b. If traveling infrequently in the peak, purchase a 2-hour pass (with unlimited free transfers) for those few times and use a reduced 2-hour pass at other times. c. Seek free or low-cost transit vouchers from a social-service agency. d. Under the new proposal, people who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be able to use their Lone Star Pass EBT card to purchase a monthly pass at a 20% discount. This discount would almost completely offset the proposed 23% increase in monthly pass prices. Those qualifying for the Lone Star Pass are disproportionately low-income and minority. e. Under a modified proposal (see below), a monthly reduced pass would be maintained. DART has identified a substantial need in the public interest to increase fares in the peak and reduce them in the off-peak in order to reduce peak-period boardings and encourage travel June 8, TranSystems

11 during off-period times where there is more capacity. This adjustment will reduce crowding and reduce the need for operators and vehicles. An alternative would be to have a larger acrossthe-board fare increase, which would affect many poor and minority riders (who disproportionately ride during off-peak hours), and/or to tolerate higher crowding and possibly pass-ups on bus service, which would be harmful to poor and minority riders as well. Because there are numerous payment media available, affordability would be maintained. Discounted fares could be available for as little as $1.25 (reduced 2-hour pass) or $1.75 (midday 5-hour pass available to all). Day, weekly, and monthly passes allow those from a variety of means to realize savings by paying only for the time period for which they will be using the system. For those eligible, a discounted monthly pass could be purchased using TANF benefits, not requiring the setting aside of funds needed to purchase a monthly pass, but still permitting the benefits of unlimited rides. DART passes are sold at dozens of outlet locations such as supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the service area. They are also available at ticket vending machines at all LRT stations and the DART Store Online and at Akard Station. Based upon an analysis and mapping of the locations of both pass outlets and TVM s at stations and neighborhood demographics, it is clear that passes are widely available for sale throughout the DART service area, including in neighborhoods that are predominantly comprised of low-income or minority residents. Modified Proposal To mitigate the impact on elderly and disabled riders who need to regularly travel during the peak period, DART is considering maintaining a reduced-price monthly pass available at 50% of the proposed regular monthly pass rate. Thus a reduced-price monthly pass would increase in cost from $32 to $40 (a 25% increase) for local and commuter rail zone 1 trips and from $32 to $60 (an 88% increase) for commuter rail zone 2 trips. These price increases are much less than they would be if no reduced monthly pass were available for eligible riders needing to travel in the peak period. Those currently using reduced single-ride fares, day passes, weekly passes, and annual passes would be expected to switch to reduced monthly passes, unless they did not need to travel regularly during peak periods, in which case they might prefer the proposed reduced 2-hour passes. This offering would still have the effect of reducing some peak-period demand, which would reduce crowding and operating costs. Average Impact on Poor and Minority Riders Although some per boarding prices will increase substantially under the new proposal, others will decrease substantially. However, the number of boardings in each fare category varies extremely widely, as does the number who are minority and/or low-income. It is impossible to determine if the overall impact of the fare changes on minority and poor transit users is disproportionate to the general impact on all users without summarizing the changes. This can be accomplished by creating a weighted average cost per boarding for each of the groups: minority, poor, and overall. The weighted average is computed by multiplying the fare for each June 8, TranSystems

12 category by the number of boardings by type (minority, poor, or overall) in that fare category and dividing by the total number of boardings by type using the data in Table 3. The percent change in the existing compared to proposed fare for each rider type (minority, poor, and overall) is shown in Table 5. The results show that the overall average increase will be less for minority and poor riders than for DART riders as a whole. Poor riders would actually see an absolute decline in average fare. Note that the average fares shown here are higher than those reported by DART because the calculation in Table 5 excludes several categories of riders who receive free rides, including children under 5, DART and other public employees, paratransit riders using fixed routes, and social service agency clients who receive day pass vouchers, because these riders were not included in the Transit Rider Survey or not separately identified. Table 5: Percent Change in Average Fare, Current vs. Proposed Fare Structure, by Rider Type Overall Minority Poor Existing $1.22 $1.21 $1.21 Proposed $1.28 $1.25 $1.19 % change 4.2% 3.1% -2.3% If the reduced monthly pass is maintained, the overall average fare increase would be somewhat less, as shown in Table 6. The relative change in fares is similar to the base proposal, and remains very favorable to minority and low-income groups. Table 6: Percent Change in Average Fare, Current vs. Proposed Fare Structure, by Rider Type, with Reduced Monthly Pass Maintained Overall Minority Poor Existing $1.22 $1.21 $1.21 Proposed $1.26 $1.23 $1.16 % change 3.0% 1.6% -4.1% Conclusion This analysis has demonstrated that the overall impact on minority and poor riders of DART s system from the proposed fare change will be favorable. As a group, minority riders will face a smaller fare increase than riders as a whole, and poor riders will face an absolute decrease in fares, on average. There are certain categories of fares that are more likely to be used by minority and poor riders than all riders that are seeing increases at or above the average increase. However, not all riders will actually face these increases (for example, those using single-ride payments and whose trips involve multiple bus boardings or a transfer between bus and rail will see significant decreases in fare paid). Further, there are numerous alternatives that can be used to mitigate the increases, specifically, use of new off-peak June 8, TranSystems

13 fares, reduced 2-hour passes and reduced monthly passes for those eligible, and use of the Lone Star Pass for those eligible for TANF benefits. In addition, there is a significant public need addressed by discouraging peak-period use of the system, and the alternative of across-the-board increases would adversely affect all poor and minority riders with less opportunity to avoid the increase. June 8, TranSystems

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