Employer-Sponsored Transit: A TDM Strategy for Encouraging Transit Ridership

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Presented by: Catherine Habel, BSC, MES (Planning) and Glenn Gumulka, MES, MBA …

Presented by: Catherine Habel, BSC, MES (Planning) and Glenn Gumulka, MES, MBA
Presented at: Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) 2009 Conference, Montreal, November 2009

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  • 1. Employer-Sponsored Transit A TDM Strategy for Encouraging Transit Ridership CUTA 2009 Conference and Trans-Expo November 7-11, 2009
  • 2. Outline
    • Background: TDM and Smart Commute
    • TDM Benefits for Transit
    • Employer-sponsored Transit
    • Mississauga Discount Transit Pilot Project
    • Lessons Learned and Expected Results
    Catherine Habel Senior Program Advisor, TDM Metrolinx Glenn Gumulka Executive Director Smart Commute Mississauga
  • 3. Background: Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Smart Commute
  • 4. Definition of TDM
    • The use of policies, programs, services and products to influence whether , why , when , where and how people travel.
    Smart Commute works with various stakeholders to relieve traffic congestion, improve air quality and health, and reduce emissions that cause climate change.
  • 5. TDM Goals
    • Save time, money and the environment by:
      • reducing traffic congestion
      • improving the movement of people, goods and services
      • increasing productivity
      • reducing greenhouse gas emissions
      • improving air quality
  • 6.
    • mode shift
      • auto to non-auto, SOV to HOV
    • trip elimination
      • telework
    • trip reduction
      • trip chaining
    • peak spreading
      • flexible work hours
    TDM Strategies
  • 7. What is Smart Commute?
    • Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) TDM program
    • Workplace-based commuter options program to encourage:
      • transit use
      • walking and cycling
      • carpooling and vanpooling
      • telework & alternative work hours
    • Partners – government, business community, NGOs, transit agencies, universities
  • 8.
    • A network of ten Local Smart Commutes (TMAs)
    • Regional development and coordination by Metrolinx
    • Local implementation by TMAs
  • 9.
    • Incorporated nonprofit organization
    • Funded by:
      • The City of Mississauga
      • The Region of Peel
      • Matching funding from Metrolinx
      • Corporate memberships
    • Partnerships with:
      • Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee
      • Mississauga Environmental Advisory Committee
      • TRCA Partners in Project Green
      • Mississauga Arts Council
    About Smart Commute Mississauga
  • 10. TDM Supports for Transit
  • 11. TDM Supports for Transit
    • Employer and Commuter Research Data
      • Workplace site assessments and commuter surveys
    • Commute Counselling
      • route planning
    • Incentives and Supportive Measures
      • Transit Pass Subsidies
      • Emergency Ride Home
      • Trip-End Improvements:
        • improved walking connections to transit stop
        • schedule and route information
        • on site transit ticket sale
      • Flex Time
      • other incentives and special promotions
    • Marketing and Outreach
  • 12. Employer-sponsored Transit
  • 13. Employer-sponsored VS. Volume Incentive (bulk) Discounts
    • Volume incentive purchase (VIP) or bulk discount:
      • transit agency provides discounted passes to employers
      • employer sells discounted transit passes back to employees
      • employer commits to purchasing/selling a minimum number of passes per month in order to receive the discount
  • 14. Employer-sponsored VS. Volume Incentive (bulk) Discounts
    • Employer subsidy:
      • employer pays for all or part of employee transit pass
      • usually administered through payroll deduction
      • employer can choose to provide a subsidy in addition to or instead of a transit-agency-provided bulk discount
    • Success factors:
      • good transit service
      • paid parking or parking shortage
      • strong employer endorsement
  • 15. GTHA Precedents
    • Municipalities in the GTHA have led the way, offering sponsored transit passes to their employees
    • TTC Volume Incentive Purchase (VIP) program
    • York Region RideSaver pilot project
    • City of Brampton Employee Annual Pass Program
    • Hamilton – HSR Employee Commuter Pass
  • 16. Mississauga Discount Transit Pilot Project
    • City of Mississauga provides matching transit discounts to Smart Commute Member employers who discount monthly passes for their employees
      • Maximum of 15% when an employer discounts by 25%
    • 18 month pilot program
      • Evaluate after 12 months based on:
        • Mode shift and fare switching (survey)
        • Stop counts - tbd
        • Pass sales
        • Employer and employee satisfaction surveys
      • 6 months to develop & implement evaluation recommendations
    • Smart Commute Mississauga exclusive selling agent
      • Market the program to corporate members
      • Collect an Agent fee to cover program management (1.5%)
    • All participants automatically registered in Emergency Ride Home program
  • 17. Why Discount Transit Passes?
    • Only 9% of employees in the city regularly use public transit as their primary commute mode
    • Our surveys (over 5,000 employees) suggest:
      • 14% are definitely willing to try public transit
      • 19% are probably willing to try public transit
    • Potential demand
      • 52,000 business to distribute passes
      • 425,000 employees
    • What would encourage commuters to try transit?
      • 35% lower fares
      • 25% tickets for sale at my place of employment
      • 33% a ride home in case of an emergency
  • 18. Why Discount Transit Passes?
    • Mississauga Transit Ridership Growth Strategy
      • Target to increase ridership by 25% over five years
      • Fare incentives including transit fare discounts are a key objective of the Ridership Growth Strategy
    • City of Mississauga Strategic Plan
      • Goal of doubling transit modal split in the next 40 years
    • Proven strategy for growing ridership
      • TTC V.I.P. (10% - 12% discounts) 220,000 passes sold in 2005
      • Winnipeg (EcoPass) – City provides 10% match on discounts of 30% or more
        • 45% increase in ridership among participating employers with a similar program
        • Net monthly transit revenue increase of 30%
  • 19. Discounting Schedule Employer Paid Discount City of Miss. Matching Discount Total Discount to Employee Less than 15% No Matching Employer Discount 15% 5% 20% 25% 15% 40% More than 25% 15% Employer Discount + 15%
  • 20. Operational Details
    • SC-Miss has an agreement with the City of Mississauga
    • Legal agreements with participating organizations and SC-Miss
      • Agree to participate for 12 consecutive months
      • Employees agree to participate for 12 consecutive months
        • Cancellation results in 6 month participation ban
    • Organizations register with SC-Miss
    • Individual participants register online using TransitZone.ca
      • Admin access for SC-Miss, transit agency and employer admin
  • 21. Transit Zone
    • www.transitzone.ca
    • web-based administration tool developed by Metrolinx
    • interim site being tested through Mississauga pilot project
    • will become part of the suite of SC TDM Online Services
    • Transit Zone is designed to work in other SC jurisdictions with similar programs
  • 22.  
  • 23. Marketing Campaign
    • Two waves
      • 3 weeks in June
      • 3 weeks in September
    • Elements
      • Bus tail ads
      • In-bus advertising
      • Transit terminal poster
      • In-transit brochures
      • Banner stands
      • Brochures
      • Outdoor signs
  • 24. Results to Date
    • Two employers participating
      • City of Mississauga
      • McCormick Rankin / Ecoplans
    • In negotiations with several other employers
  • 25. Lessons Learned and Expected Results
  • 26. Challenges
    • Requiring employers to invest is a significant barrier for many employers
      • “ It’s the employees responsibility”
      • May contradict fair and equitable policies
    • Managing the program through payroll deductions is a barrier for many employers
      • Difficult to get payroll to buy-in
      • May not have the capability
    • Smart Commute membership as a condition of participation is a barrier for many employers especially smaller employers.
    • Restricting access to employers from within the City of Mississauga limits participation
    • 12 month commitment for employers and employees is a barrier to participation
  • 27. Expected Results
    • Individual : significant commute savings
    • Employer : increase access, employee retention, save on parking
    • Smart Commute : engage employers, incite commuters, generate revenue from agent fees
    • Transit : increase ridership and loyalty, generate revenue, support infrastructure and service improvements, marketing
  • 28. Thank You [email_address] (905) 896-5941 [email_address] (416) 874-5934