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Student Free Fare Program Update: April 19, 2016

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Student Free Fare Program Update: April 19, 2016

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Student Free Fare Program Update: April 19, 2016

  1. 1. County of Fairfax, Virginia Student Free Fare Program UPDATE Fairfax County TAC April 19, 2016 FCDOT Transit Services Division FCPS Transportation
  2. 2. County of Fairfax, Virginia Student Free Fare Program Provide free trips on Fairfax Connector buses to Fairfax County high school and middle school students • Developed in response to a Board Matter • FY2015 budget language requested the Department of Transportation explore transportation partnerships with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) • County and FCPS LOBs intersection project Department of Transportation 2
  3. 3. County of Fairfax, Virginia Purpose • Provide Fairfax County students with transportation options – Freedom to access before and after school activities such as, tutoring, sports, clubs, community service, and employment • Workforce commuter preparedness – Preparing the next generation of transit riders for a more urban transportation and multi-modal environment Department of Transportation 3
  4. 4. County of Fairfax, Virginia Goals • Short Term – Fill gaps for school transportation services impacted by new school hours for FCPS high school students – Provide flexibility for students to travel on existing service – Increase Fairfax Connector ridership Department of Transportation 4
  5. 5. County of Fairfax, Virginia Goals • Long Term – As the County continues to grow more urban & densely populated; positions Fairfax Connector to be a vital and sustainable transportation option – Establishes transit as an important component of the County’s transportation system -- especially with Millennials – Reduces congestion on transportation network, by reducing the number of trips that parents must make to transport students – Workforce commuter preparedness Department of Transportation 5
  6. 6. County of Fairfax, Virginia Pilot Program Requirements • Pass required to ride • Pass distribution and permission forms maintained and distributed by FCPS • Passes valid on Fairfax Connector only ‒ Monday - Friday ‒ 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. • Parent/guardian permission required • Adherence to Fairfax Connector rules of conduct • Provisions for home and private school students who reside in Fairfax County Department of Transportation 6
  7. 7. County of Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax Connector Responsibilities • Outreach – Public & School • Pass production – Cost sharing with FCPS • Operational readiness – Enhanced bus operator training – Farebox programming (ridership data) Department of Transportation 7
  8. 8. County of Fairfax, Virginia FCPS Responsibilities • Pass distribution and tracking – 6,200 passes distributed to schools – Unique serial number • allows schools to administratively track passes assigned to students • Regular coordination with FCDOT on school outreach strategies and pass distribution Department of Transportation 8
  9. 9. County of Fairfax, Virginia In-School Outreach • Targeted 5 schools based on – Fairfax Connector bus service access – Geographic distribution • Schools – Chantilly High School (Chantilly) – Edison High School (Alexandria) – Madison High School (Vienna) – Mount Vernon High School (Alexandria) – South Lakes High School (Reston) Department of Transportation 9
  10. 10. County of Fairfax, Virginia Outreach • Elizabeth’s Journey: How to Ride – Featured on Channels 16 & 21; in school media – Travel training – Bike & Ride training – Rules of riding • “Give respect to get respect”
  11. 11. County of Fairfax, Virginia Outreach • Web & social media campaign • Pre-school Year Events/Open Houses – On-site pass sign-up/ distribution – On-site Fairfax Connector bus, operator & staff – Customized map with bus stop and route information Department of Transportation 11
  12. 12. County of Fairfax, Virginia Student Participation Targeted 5 Schools Department of Transportation 12 Location # of Passes Distributed High School Population % of Students with Passes Chantilly HS 191 2,680 7% Edison HS 814 1,936 42% James Madison HS 81 2,109 4% Mt. Vernon HS 314 1,963 16% South Lakes HS 943 2,430 39% TOTALS 2,343 11,118 students 22% (average)
  13. 13. County of Fairfax, Virginia 252 593 1,300 1,845 2,218 2,520 2,499 3,207 3,277 2,663 3,140 3,474 2,346 3,278 3,873 4,004 1,199 1,220 3,284 3,484 1,515 890 3,386 3,634 2,511 3,971 3,712 4,233 2,211 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 08/31-09/06/15 09/07-09/13/15 09/14-09/20/15 09/21-09/27/15 09/28-10/04/15 10/05/10/11/15 10/12-10/18/15 10/19-10/25/15 10/26-11/01/15 11/02-11/08/15 11/09-11/15/15 11/16-11/22/15 11/23-11/29/15 11/30-12/06/15 12/07-12/13/15 12/14-12/20/15 12/21-12/27/15 12/28-01/03/16 01/04-01/10/16 01/11-01/17/16 01/18-01/24/16 01/25-01/31/16 02/01-02/07/16 02/08-02/14/16 02/15-02/21/16 02/22-02/28/16 02/29-03/06/16 03/07-03/13/16 03/14-03/20/16 Fairfax Connector Weekly Student Ridership Major holiday Severe weather Spring break Department of Transportation 13
  14. 14. County of Fairfax, Virginia Department of Transportation 14 A total of 904 student trips taken on before 6AM or after 8PM 162 1,186 11,637 4,170 2,485 1,876 2,108 2,359 3,351 3,611 15,157 10,940 7,575 4,226 2,487 1,034 442 206 94 5 AM 6 AM 7 AM 8 AM 9 AM 10 AM 11 AM 12 PM 1 PM 2 PM 3 PM 4 PM 5 PM 6 PM 7 PM 8 PM 9 PM 10 PM 11 PM Weekday Student Ridership by Time of Day * *Total weekday ridership since inception
  15. 15. County of Fairfax, Virginia • Some student pass usage on weekends was recorded in our ridership data – Demonstrates demand for weekend service, which was also noted in student survey responses – Working with service contractor to monitor and address Department of Transportation 15 Student Ridership
  16. 16. County of Fairfax, Virginia Surveys: Assessing Opinions • Program impact – Surveys • Quantitative and qualitative data from students, parents, school officials, and bus operators – Student surveys capture ideas for refining program • Increasing ridership Department of Transportation 16
  17. 17. County of Fairfax, Virginia Student Survey Results Survey Participation Rate (94 responses in total) – 3.9% overall South Lakes HS student pop. – 10% of students with passes – Near even distribution grades 9-12 Department of Transportation 17 1.1% 27.7% 23.4% 25.5% 22.3% What grade are you in? 8th grade 9th grade 10th grade 11th grade 12th grade
  18. 18. County of Fairfax, Virginia Pass Data Department of Transportation 18 Do you have a Free Student Bus Pass? Yes No 20.5% 79.5%
  19. 19. County of Fairfax, Virginia Program Information Department of Transportation 19 If you heard about the free bus pass at school, can you be more specific? Answer Options Response Percent School announcement 52.40% Friends 22.00% School orientation event 13.40% Teacher, counselor, or administrator 4.90% Parent or guardian 4.90% School website 1.20% Fairfax Connector flier 1.20%
  20. 20. County of Fairfax, Virginia Pass Usage Department of Transportation 20 How often do you use your free bus pass? 1-2 days a week 3-4 days a week 5 days a week Once every 2 weeks Once a month Other (please specify) 50% This category includes: don’t have a bus pass, everyday use, or use it when necessary
  21. 21. County of Fairfax, Virginia When do you use the pass? Department of Transportation 21 49.3% 12.3% 82.2% 37.0% 20.5% Morning Middle of the day Afternoon Evening Weekends
  22. 22. County of Fairfax, Virginia Where do you go with your pass? Where do you typically travel with the free pass? (select all that apply) Answer Options Response Percent To your home 45.6% To your school 32.3% To an after school job 11.8% To another school for a special program or activity 4.4% To an activity center (e.g. the mall, RECenter, parks, movie theater) 5.9% Department of Transportation 22
  23. 23. County of Fairfax, Virginia How would you improve the program? Department of Transportation 23 60.3% 75.9% 62.1% 5.2% Extend hours Include Saturday Include Sunday Other What would you do to improve the program? (select all that apply) “Because some students have to go to school on the weekends. We have practice and activities to attend and we don’t have a ride.” “Post flyers at every single high school; More bus frequency”
  24. 24. County of Fairfax, Virginia What the students are saying… Department of Transportation 24 “It’s helpful to my education because it provides me with transportation when I stay after school with my teachers to improve my expertise on a subject. Without the pass I would not have transportation.”
  25. 25. County of Fairfax, Virginia What Administrators are saying… Department of Transportation 25 “Many of our students come from either dual income working families or single- low income working families. This makes transportation an issue for students who are involved with afterschool and extracurricular activities. By having access to free transportation, our students are able to participate and be able to get home and back to their events. It also allows the students to be active participants in the school.”
  26. 26. County of Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax Connector is Increasing Student Engagement Department of Transportation 26 77.8% 22.2% Have you seen increased student participation or their ability to engage in after school activities because the Fairfax Connector service is available? Yes Don't know
  27. 27. County of Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax Connector is Improving Student Tardiness/Absenteeism Department of Transportation 27 44.4% 22.2% 33.3% Do you feel that the Student Bus Pass Program has improved the rates of student tardiness or absenteeism? Yes No Don't know
  28. 28. County of Fairfax, Virginia What Administrators are saying… Department of Transportation 28 “Connector allows students to stay late for remediation and activities EVERY day. Students who would ordinarily miss school altogether end up coming tardy rather than not at all.”
  29. 29. County of Fairfax, Virginia Assessing Challenges • 168 bus operators surveyed – Student behavior on buses • a NON-issue • Rated by our operators as the SAME as other passengers • Behavior description rated at “GOOD” or “VERY GOOD” Department of Transportation 29 No Response 11% Better behaved than other riders 11% About the same as other riders 65% Not as well behaved as other riders 13% STUDENT RIDER BEHAVIOR
  30. 30. County of Fairfax, Virginia Assessing Challenges • Pass “Loss” – Max 2 replacements per student to prevent abuse – School principals set their own policy for replacement – Administrator survey recommendation suggests charging a “replacement fee” that increases with each replacement. • Suspected Unauthorized Pass Use – Suspicious activity monitored • Students boarding buses without pass • Bus pass sharing – Friends – Older, non-eligible riders Department of Transportation 30
  31. 31. County of Fairfax, Virginia Assessing Challenges • Need for a photo-ID pass – Based on bus operator and administrator input – Prevent abuse – Requires further coordination Department of Transportation 31
  32. 32. County of Fairfax, Virginia Recommendations Department of Transportation 32 Program Recommendations BOS & School Board Outreach Experience Program Data Ridership & Survey Data Lessons Learned
  33. 33. County of Fairfax, Virginia Data Driven Recommendations • Seek Board and FCPS feedback • Seek Board approval for revised 2015-2016 school year program • Expand program days and time – 5 am – 10 pm – 7 days a week (add use on Saturday & Sunday) – September 2016 – September 2017 • Add photo to Bus Pass/Universal Student ID’s Department of Transportation 33
  34. 34. County of Fairfax, Virginia Data Driven Recommendations (con’t.) • Additional high schools for targeted outreach; plus middle schools • Reinforce availability for all high school and middle school students • Return recommendations to Board Transportation Committee on May 24, 2016 Department of Transportation 34
  35. 35. County of Fairfax, Virginia Expanding & Continuing Partnerships • Partner with other transit service providers – City of Fairfax CUE – Explore options for students and schools served only by Metrobus • FCPS – The Department of Vehicles Services • Buses, cars and service trucks are maintained at the four county garages. – Radio Systems and Services Center • The radios for buses, cars and service trucks are installed and maintained by the radio shop. The entire system of repeaters and antennas are all part of the working relationship of the County and FCPS Department of Transportation 35
  36. 36. County of Fairfax, Virginia Refine & Engage • Parity – Include bus pass information/forms along with school parking pass information • Outreach – Create “toolkit” for administrators – Update “Elizabeth’s Journey” PSA video, as needed – Update outreach materials and pass; color code – Robust social media campaign – Increase in-school and other outreach opportunities Department of Transportation 36
  37. 37. County of Fairfax, Virginia Questions/Discussion Department of Transportation 37
  38. 38. County of Fairfax, Virginia Department of Transportation 38 A total of 633 student trips taken on Sat & Sun over 29 weeks 14 5 20 16 33 25 49 44 52 64 53 60 59 37 36 29 18 12 7 5 AM 6 AM 7 AM 8 AM 9 AM 10 AM 11 AM 12 PM 1 PM 2 PM 3 PM 4 PM 5 PM 6 PM 7 PM 8 PM 9 PM 10 PM 11 PM Weekend Student Ridership by Time of Day * *Total weekend ridership since inception

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