National Academies Press: OpenBook

Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts (2022)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research

« Previous: Chapter 1 - Introduction
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 8
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 9
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 13
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Review of Existing Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26510.
×
Page 15

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

7   Review of Existing Research This synthesis report provides a review of the research literature relating to fare capping. It summarizes the key elements of fare structures and products that pertain to fare capping. It also reviews the existing literature on how fare structures and products impact social equity and other outcomes, how fare capping works within a transit provider’s fare structure, and the ways in which fare capping may impact key outcomes. This synthesis report builds upon these previous studies, adding information from other literature and case examples to understand the history and application of fare capping, and adding current relevance to the subject as fare capping becomes an ever more common practice of transit systems around the world. Overview A national and international literature review was conducted using articles and documents to assess the current state of the industry regarding fare capping. While several TCRP studies (Brakewood 2020, Okunieff 2017, McCollom and Pratt 2004, Multisystems 2003) have examined fare structures, products, technology, and impacts of fare structure and policy changes, there is limited research focused specifically on fare capping, and particularly on how fare capping may impact measures such as ridership, revenue, or equity outcomes. Fare capping relates to two key elements of a transit fare system: fare structure and fare products. In Chapter 12, Transit Pricing and Fares (McCollom and Pratt 2004) found in TCRP Report 95: Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes, the term “fare structure” is used to define a transit agency’s overall fare system, consisting of the three following elements: • The relationships among the fare prices charged for each fare category, • The types of fare categories offered, and • The basis on which fares are calculated (e.g., flat, zonal, or based on distance). Transit agencies can use a variety of fare categories to differentiate and price fares, with pricing schemes ranging from simple to complex. Broadly, fare prices can be differentiated based on two factors—rider characteristics and trip characteristics (McCollom and Pratt 2004). Rider categories can be regular or based on characteristics such as age, disability, students, or income or ability to pay. Trip-based pricing characteristics may include time period (such as peak/off-peak), distance or zone versus flat fare, or different modes or service types (such as bus versus rail, or local versus express or premium services). Agencies also can offer a range of fare products, or different ways for riders to pay for their trip. Fare products generally fall under three types of products (McCollom and Pratt 2004), as follows: • Single ride: The base cost of a single transit trip. • Multi-ride/Multi-trip: Bulk purchase of a specific number of rides, such as a 10-ride or 20-ride pass. C H A P T E R 2

8 Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts • Period or unlimited pass: Pass that is sold at a flat upfront cost that provides for unlimited travel within a set time period, such as a single day, a calendar week or month, or a set number of days. These fare products can offer different levels of convenience and cost savings for riders, depending on how often they use transit, how much flexibility their travel schedules require, and cost constraints. The following section provides a review of the literature on fare struc- tures and fare products most relevant to fare capping, with a particular focus on how these elements relate to, and impact, equity outcomes. Fare Structures and Products Transit agencies employ a variety of fare structures. Fares may be calculated based on a flat per-trip rate, actual distance traveled, or travel within or between defined zones. Agencies also may adjust pricing by time of day, such as through peak and off-peak rates. Different types of fare structures can all impact revenue, ridership, and measures of equity (Wang et al. 2021, Matas et al. 2020, Rubensson et al. 2020, Brown 2018, Bandegani and Akbarzadeh 2016). There is substantial literature that examines how different fare structures and changes can specifically impact equity, with several methodologies and metrics to determine whether differ- ent structures achieve equitable outcomes (Litman 2021, Wang et al. 2021, Rubensson et al. 2020, Tawfik 2014, Hickey et al. 2010, Nuworsoo et al. 2009). For example, flat fares may disadvantage low-income riders who generally make short trips and subsidize high-income riders who tend to make long-distance trips, while distance-based pricing would be more equitable (Rubensson et al. 2020, Brown 2018, Tawfik 2014). Charging differentiated fares by time of day also can play a role, as low-income riders often comprise a larger share of transit ridership during off-peak periods (Infrastructure Victoria 2020, Tawfik 2014). However, the impact of fare structures on equity and other outcomes depends upon transit riders’ trip frequency and travel distance, as well as the service area’s land use and spatial characteristics that influence who lives where and how far they must travel (Wang et al. 2021, Rubensson et al. 2020, Brown 2018, Nuworsoo et al. 2009). Categories of Fare Products Fare products typically fall within one of three categories: single ride, multi-ride, or period pass. In most cases, the cost per trip for both single-ride and multi-ride tickets is equivalent to the one-way fare; period passes allow riders to pay a flat upfront cost for unlimited travel during a period of time (such as a day, week, or month). Period passes are attractive to riders because they can offer cost savings to frequent riders, as well as provide convenience and flexibility (Chalabianlou et al. 2015, McCollom and Pratt 2004). Customers can lower their average cost per trip by taking more than the breakeven number of trips per period. Period passes also benefit transit providers by speeding boarding times and reducing or eliminating cash handling, as well as providing a more consistent stream of guaranteed revenue than ad hoc fare payments (Chalabianlou et al. 2015). For frequent riders, period passes can offer significant cost savings over paying for single- ride fares during the same time period. However, a pass requires a larger upfront investment, which poses a barrier for many riders with low incomes who cannot afford to make the larger upfront payment of a monthly or weekly pass. Sometimes, even a day pass is cost-prohibitive (Bondemark et al. 2020, Jones and Lucas 2012, Taylor and Jones 2012, Graham 2010, McCollom and Pratt 2004). As a result, riders with low incomes may end up paying more in transit fare by relying on single-ride tickets, even though they would benefit the most from the more Related TCRP Studies • 2003: TCRP Report 94: Fare Policies, Structures and Technologies: Update • 2004: TCRP Report 95: Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes, Chapter 12: Transit Pricing and Fares • 2017: TCRP Synthesis 125: Multiagency Electronic Fare Payment Systems • 2020: TCRP Synthesis 148: Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps

Review of Existing Research 9   cost-effective period pass (Bondemark et al. 2020, Verbich and El-Geneidy 2017, Jones and Lucas 2012). This is particularly acute for riders who rely on transit as their primary mode of transportation (i.e., transit-dependent riders who do not have access to other transportation options and cannot simply switch to a different mode in response to the cost pressures of fare pricing). Key Objectives and Motivations Under a fare capping policy, the total fare paid by a rider for trips taken within a set period of time is “capped,” typically at the equivalent value of an unlimited pass for the same period of time. For example, rather than making the upfront purchase of a daily, weekly, or monthly pass, a rider can pay the regular fare for each trip as they go, and once they have spent an amount equal to the cost of the pass, they pay no more fares for trips for the rest of the day, week, or month. Cost Savings and Convenience For transit riders, particularly frequent riders, fare capping offers the convenience and potential cost savings of a period pass, but without needing to estimate how many trips they will make during that period of time. The most critical benefit is that riders do not need to pay the upfront cost of a period pass and can pay as they go, but still receive the cost savings of the period pass by traveling fare-free once they meet the fare cap threshold. Riders pay only for the trips they take, and do not risk falling short of their break-even threshold if they make fewer trips than anticipated during a period of time. Riders do not need to navigate a system’s fare structure to calculate their progress toward the cap, since the calculations are completed on their smart card or on the back end of a mobile app; they only need to know their capped fare amount (Chalabianlou et al. 2015). However, while fare capping is simple with a simple fare structure, it can become complicated with a more complex fare structure, such as zone- or distance-based fares and other price differentiations. The introduction of fare capping can provide an opportunity for an agency to concurrently make their fares simpler. Equity Fare capping frequently has been discussed in the context of making fare structures more equitable. Fare equity is one of the most frequent arguments in favor of fare capping schemes, and “fair fare” or “best fare” policies are often noted in the context of literature highlighting the disparity between the cost savings of period passes and the barrier posed by their high upfront cost (Bondemark et al. 2020, Infrastructure Victoria 2020, Verbich and El-Geneidy 2017, Tawfik 2014, Taylor and Jones 2012). Fare Revenue The impacts of fare capping on ridership and revenue outcomes are less conclusive, and one drawback for service providers is the potential for lost revenue (Multisystems 2003). Frequent riders who currently pay per ride and pay more than they would with a period pass would ultimately pay less with fare capping. Riders who currently pay a flat upfront cost for a period pass but do not necessarily take enough trips to break even would only pay for the rides that they take, and they may end up paying less in total fares than they would pay for a pass. However, it is important for transit agencies to consider these potential revenue chal- lenges with the trade-off of addressing the problem of fare equity. In effect, some portion

10 Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts of this lost revenue may have come at a social cost, generated by those who could only afford to pay the cash fare for their trips, with the result that low-income riders were paying dis- proportionately more for service. By ensuring that the best value fare products are available to all riders, a transit agency can make their system more equitable and deliver on a commitment to the social good. Pursuing fare capping as part of a larger set of fare price changes may provide an opportunity to introduce the benefits of the capping mechanism while maximizing potential revenue (Taylor and Jones 2012). Ridership Although a potential benefit of fare capping is that the convenience, flexibility, and cost savings could attract new riders and keep existing riders loyal to using transit—and perhaps encourage more transit use—the extent to which this may balance out potential impacts on revenue is uncertain. There is no evidence that measures how fare capping structures have impacted ridership. Current riders who ride frequently enough to reach the cap may be incen- tivized to take more trips, knowing they will travel for free once the cap is reached. It also is possible that some riders who use period passes may take fewer transit trips as they shift from zero marginal cost of a prepaid pass for the entire period to zero marginal cost only after the cap is reached; in other words, current period passholders may be induced to take more trips today since trips are already “free,” and they want to get their money’s worth. Under fare capping, they would need to consider the cost of each trip until they meet the cap. Technology Until relatively recently, the capital costs of technology have been a major barrier to imple- menting fare capping for many transit agencies. Fare capping requires additional resources for processing and computational capacity to capture, store, and track the time and value of individual transactions. This is needed to keep track of a rider’s progress toward a specific fare threshold, and cease charging once that threshold is met (Chalabianlou et al. 2015). Advancements in fare payment mechanisms—including smart cards, mobile fare payment, and account-based systems—as well as declining costs of associated technology, have allowed transit agencies to adopt more innovative fare structures and offer a wider variety of fare products and differentiated pricing strategies, including a guaranteed lowest fare that is calculated based on the trips a rider takes (Brakewood 2020, Chalabianlou et al. 2015, Streeting and Charles 2006, Multisystems 2003). What About Non-Banked Riders? In the United States, transit agencies have sought ways to ensure that non-banked and under- banked riders are not left behind as transit systems adopt new fare payment technologies and deemphasize cash fares. In an effort to encourage the adoption of smart payment technology while still maintaining access for riders who are unbanked, transit agencies may install vending machines at stations or major hubs where riders can reload smart cards with cash, whether or not they have a registered account. Agencies may also partner with third-party locations, such as grocery stores or other retail outlets, to distribute smart cards (often with some amount pre- loaded on the card) and to ensure locations where people can add value to their transit accounts via an app or on a card if they are not close to a vending machine (Bartinique and Hassol 2019). Wider adoption of fare capping has only emerged in the last few years and, as a result, there is limited research evaluating the impacts and outcomes of fare capping in practice. As more agencies implement fare capping, it will be possible to evaluate the impact of fare capping on ridership, revenues, equity, and other measures.

Review of Existing Research 11   History of Fare Capping Fare capping as a practice only emerged within the last two decades, as developments in fare technology made it feasible to implement. As early as 2003, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) had considered a proposed “fair fare” strategy, taking advan- tage of the opportunity presented by smart card technology. A counter on the smart card would track a rider’s usage within a certain period of time and guarantee that a rider paid the lowest possible fare based on their trips taken and the range of WMATA fare products. WMATA’s proposed policy would have applied to several time periods, including daily, weekly, and monthly travel periods (Streeting and Charles 2006, Multisystems 2003). Transit systems outside the United States were earlier adopters of fare capping structures and have implemented different levels of fare capping over the years. Early notable examples of fare capping include the following: • One of the earliest implementations of fare capping was in London. In 2005, Transport for London introduced daily fare capping on its Oyster smart card for customers using stored value on the card, with a passenger’s total fare payments capped at the cost of a day pass (Streeting and Charles 2006). Weekly capping was introduced in 2014, along with the widespread deployment of contactless fare cards across the Transport for London system. • Dublin implemented daily and 7-day fare caps in December 2012, alongside the introduction of the Leap Card smart card system (Luas 2012). • By 2015, several systems across Australia and New Zealand had intro- duced some level of fare capping. Melbourne implemented 2-hour and daily fare caps, which are still in place today, although there have been calls to adopt capping for weekly and monthly passes as well (Chalabianlou et al. 2015, Infrastructure Victoria 2020). Canberra implemented daily and monthly fare capping, while Sydney implemented daily and weekly fare caps. In Christchurch, New Zealand, Metro intro- duced daily and weekly fare caps as part of a larger fare restructure (Chalabianlou et al. 2015). • Since 2018, all public transit providers in Switzerland have adopted the Fairtiq app, which was developed based on providing a best price guarantee. Riders who use the app can “check in” at the beginning of their trip and “check out” when they arrive at their destination, and the app will calculate the best value fare based on where they traveled and the services they used. Fairtiq is also in use in some German systems, including in Halle, which has a daily cap, and in Thuringia, which has a daily and weekly cap (A. Belaieff, personal communication, February 2, 2021, Burroughs 2019). • In June 2019, Hong Kong introduced the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme, which provides a subsidy to transit users who spend more than a set amount on transit in a month. Riders receive a subsidy equal to one-third of what they spend per month in excess of a $400 cap, with a subsidy limit of $300 per month. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the cap threshold has been lowered from $400 to $200, and the maximum monthly subsidy has been increased to $500. Riders can collect their subsidy through the Octopus transit app, or at designated collection points across the system (Mass Transit Railway n.d.). Two frequent goals for transit agencies that introduce fare capping are to encourage rider- ship and to improve transit equity. Fare capping rewards riders who travel more frequently by Fare Capping in Washington, D.C. WMATA considered and proposed fare capping as early as 2003. A recent review conducted by WMATA determined that, while the agency is still interested in fare capping, their current back-office system needs to be updated to support it. However, designing a sophisticated fare cap mechanism that could apply across WMATA’s Metro System and its fare structure, and that could be easily understood by riders, still presents a particular challenge. While the system’s bus trips cost a flat fare, rail trips are priced based on distance. The agency’s current back-office system is equipped to support single-trip bus fare capping, but not for rail trips or trips involving bus-rail connections due to the limitations of older payment system technologies and the challenges of designing a complicated fare cap algorithm for a distance-based system. The agency anticipates reconsidering fare capping in the next few years as they complete upgrades to their systems.

12 Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts guaranteeing that they do not pay more than daily, weekly, or monthly passes and encouraging additional transit trips after meeting the cap. With a guarantee that riders will pay the lowest possible fare for their trip without putting the onus on them to navigate the fare structure, fare capping may help attract new riders to transit and encourage occasional riders to make more frequent trips (Chalabianlou et al. 2015, Multisystems 2003). In Christchurch, New Zealand, Metro introduced daily and weekly fare maximums for riders using their Metrocard, with the goal of encouraging more frequent transit use and attracting more regular riders due to the convenience and cost savings of fare capping (Chalabianlou et al. 2015). Similarly, the convenience, flexibility, and simplicity offered by capped fares can make transit service more approachable and attractive to existing and potential users. A strong motivating factor for fare capping has been the potential to make transit more equitable, particularly for riders who may not be able to afford discounted passes, as described in the first section of this chapter. In Portland, Oregon, TriMet identified fare capping as one of several strategies that it is pursuing to improve transit equity and noted that it is building on conversations with community advocates to make transit more equitable and accessible (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission 2020, Derby 2019). Fare equity also has been a major selling point for introducing fare caps in Dayton, where as part of promoting the new policy, RTA specifically highlights how fare capping makes transit more affordable for riders who cannot afford the upfront cost of period passes and ensures that the riders who can least afford transit costs do not end up paying the most (Greater Dayton RTA n.d., Downtown Dayton Partnership 2021). In Austin, Capital Metro’s fare capping pilot specifically focused on enrolling participants who are registered in specific health and social service assistance programs (Capital MetroBlog 2020). Overall, most fare capping programs sought to improve the affordability of their service for the most possible riders—both current and potential. The approaches taken by transit agencies varied by how integrated fare capping was to an overall simplification of fare structure, investment in fare technology and hardware, opportunities to connect with regional systems, and how agencies transitioned customers from older to newer fare payment systems. Approaches to Fare Capping in the United States When compared to their international peer agencies, U.S. systems have adopted fare capping more recently. The earliest U.S. adopters implemented fare caps on a daily basis only, starting in 2012 with Valley Transportation Authority’s introduction of a daily fare cap (Kiriazes 2020, Valley Transit Authority n.d.). In 2017, TriMet became the first U.S. transit system to intro- duce monthly fare capping in addition to daily capping (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission 2020). In the last few years, more systems have adopted monthly fare caps as well. Early notable examples, listed from oldest to most recent, include the following: • Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California, introduced daily fare cap- ping in 2012, capping fares once a rider pays the equivalent value of a day pass when they pay with their Clipper smart card. • In 2014, Metro in St. Louis introduced daily fare capping (Kiriazes 2020, Metro Transit n.d.). Similar to VTA, Metro caps daily fares at the equivalent cost of a day pass for riders who pay with their Gateway smart card. • In January 2017, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) in Albany, New York, launched its Navigator prepayment fare system. Customers can add “Pay As You Go” funds to their Navigator account, which caps the daily cost to ride after three trips (Capital District Transit Authority 2017, Capital District Transit Authority n.d.). • In July 2017, fare capping was introduced in Portland, Oregon, alongside the debut of a regional open fare payment system among TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-Tran in

Review of Existing Research 13   Vancouver, Washington. Daily and monthly fare caps are available for riders who pay with a Hop Fastpass smart card, or who use mobile fare payment options such as a virtual Hop card or digital wallet (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission 2020, Derby 2019). • AC Transit in Oakland, California, introduced a daily fare cap in 2017, capping fares once a rider pays for three trips in one day using their Clipper smart card (AC Transit n.d.). • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) introduced daily and monthly fare capping in August 2018, which riders can utilize with the GoPass smart card or mobile app. The agency introduced fare capping in tandem with a package of fare increases on bus and rail service (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission 2020). • The Rapid, serving Grand Rapids, Michigan, also introduced fare capping in August 2018 with the launch of their E-Fare electronic fare system. Riders “earn” a daily pass, a 7-day pass, or a 31-day pass as they pay with their Wave smart card. Passes are earned on a rolling basis, which has led to confusion in tracking a rider’s progress toward meeting the cap (Interurban Transit Partnership 2021). • CTtransit services in Connecticut introduced fare capping in 2018 for riders using their Go CT smart card, offering daily and 31-day fare caps. As riders take trips, they can receive discounts on their fare equivalent to a 3-day, 5-day, or 7-day pass. In addition to local services, fare capping is applied to express services with the lowest possible fare calculated based on the applicable zones (CTtransit 2018). Many additional fare capping programs were implemented between 2019 and this writing, including the following: • In Indianapolis, IndyGo introduced a daily and weekly fare cap in August 2019. Riders can take advantage of fare capping by paying with a MyKey reloadable card or the MyKey mobile app (IndyGo 2019). • Miami-Dade Transit introduced a daily fare cap on their Metrorail service. Rides on both Metrorail and Metrobus count toward the cap (Miami-Dade Transit 2019). • Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) in Greensboro, North Carolina, intro- duced their TouchPass Mobile and Smartcard ticketing program, which includes a Rewards Program where users can benefit from daily and monthly fare cap savings (Yes Weekly 2019, Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation n.d). • SolTrans in Solano County, California, partnered with Token Transit in November 2019 to offer daily and monthly fare capping for mobile payment customers (SolTrans 2019). • In January 2020, Skagit Transit in Washington began offering its TouchPass smart card programs, which now include the Umo mobile payment option. Both include daily and monthly caps on Skagit’s local routes and monthly caps on its regional connector routes (Skagit Transit n.d.). • TransIT in Frederick, Maryland, introduced daily and monthly fare capping for customers using the Token Transit app (Frederick County 2020). • Champaign–Urbana Mass Transit District introduced fare capping in early 2020 through the Token Transit mobile fare app, upgrading riders to a monthly or annual pass once they spent an equivalent amount on fare payments (Champaign–Urbana Mass Transit District 2020). • The Bus in Honolulu introduced HOLO in May 2020. Following a two-year investment to upgrade their fare technology, riders who use their HOLO card can benefit from a daily spending cap. This program included a package of fare pricing changes including increases to other fare products (West Hawaii Today 2020). • Rochester, New York’s RTS introduced fare capping with the launch of a new contactless fare payment system in July 2020 (Regional Transit Service 2020). • In Rhode Island, RIPTA implemented fare capping with the launch of the Wave smart fare collection system in September 2020. Riders using the Wave smart card or mobile app

14 Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts have their fares capped at the equivalent cost of a day pass or monthly pass (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority 2020). • The three bus systems in Southern Maine (Portland Metro, South Portland Bus Service, and Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit) introduced their new DiriGo TouchPass in October 2020, with a pay-as-you-go-benefit for riders using their TouchPass card or mobile app (Greater Portland METRO 2020). • In November 2020, AC Transit modified its fare policy to include an accumulator function to automatically charge their passengers for the best value fare product based upon the number of transit trips made during daily, 7-day, and 31-day periods (AC Transit 2020). • Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) launched fare capping in February 2021 for customers who use mobile fare payment, using the Tapp Pay system within the Transit mobile app. RTA anticipates expanding fare capping to reloadable smart cards in the future (Downtown Dayton Partnership 2021, Greater Dayton RTA n.d.). • Chatham Area Transit (CAT) in Savannah, Georgia, implemented fare capping with the introduction of a mobile fare payment system in March 2021. Riders who use the Token Transit app to pay for their rides will have their fares capped equivalent to the cost of a daily or monthly pass (Chatham Area Transit 2021). • San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) planned to introduce daily and monthly fare capping when it implemented its new fare system in summer 2021. Riders would be able to use the new PRONTO smart card or mobile app to pay their fare (Metropolitan Transit System n.d.). In addition, a number of agencies conduct fare capping pilot programs. Two agencies that have fare capping pilots underway are described as follows: • In Austin, Texas, Capital Metro launched a 6-month pilot in October 2020, with fares capped during daily and 31-day periods. Pilot participants must use the Capital Metro app to pay their fare to utilize fare capping, and the initial pilot group has been limited to 200 customers who must be enrolled in one of several social assistance programs (Capital MetroBlog 2020). • Utah Transit Authority launched a fare capping pilot in February 2021. Riders use the FAREPAY smart card to pay, and fares are capped on a daily and weekly basis, applying to both regular and reduced fares (Utah Transit Authority n.d.). To date, approximately 28 transit systems have implemented some type of fare capping program in the United States (see Table 1). Many systems that have implemented fare capping recently have introduced it alongside new investments in fare payment technology, particularly mobile payment solutions such as fare payment apps and digital wallets. Summary The literature review covers articles related to fare structure and products, and their impacts on social equity and other outcomes, history of early implementation internationally, and self- published documents on fare capping from transit agencies. Although fare capping is not a new idea, it has become more common within the last few years. It is likely that this is the result of agencies looking to provide more equitable service and products, increase ridership, and take advantage of new fare technology that makes fare capping easier to implement. A survey of transit agencies in the United States was conducted as part of this study to gain more insight into the state of fare capping practice today and its impacts on revenue, ridership, and equity goals. This survey provided detailed insight into how many transit systems currently practice fare capping, how they have implemented it, what goals motivated them to adopt fare capping as part of their fare system, and what challenges they have encountered as part of the process.

Review of Existing Research 15   Agency Location Year Fare Cap Period Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) San Jose, CA 2012 Daily Metro St. Louis, MO 2014 Daily Capital Region Transportation Authority (CDTA) Albany, NY 2017 Daily TriMet, C-TRAN, Portland Streetcar Portland, OR– Vancouver, WA 2017 Daily, Monthly AC Transit Oakland, CA 2017 Daily in 2017; 7-Day and 31- Day Capping Added in 2020 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Dallas, TX 2018 Daily, Monthly The Rapid Grand Rapids, MI 2018 Daily, 7-Day, 31-Day CTtransit Hartford, CT 2018 Daily, 31-Day IndyGo Indianapolis, IN 2019 Daily, Weekly Miami-Dade Transit Miami-Dade County, FL 2019 Daily Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) Greensboro, NC 2019 Daily, Monthly SolTrans Solano County, CA 2019 Daily, Monthly Skagit Transit Skagit County, WA 2020 Daily, Monthly TransIT Frederick, MD 2020 Daily, Monthly Champaign–Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) Champaign– Urbana, IL 2020 Monthly, Annually The Bus Honolulu, HI 2020 Daily Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RTS) Rochester, NY 2020 Daily, Monthly Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Providence, RI 2020 Daily, Monthly Portland Metro, South Portland Bus Service, and Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit Portland and Biddeford, ME 2020 Daily, Monthly Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Dayton, OH 2021 Daily, 31-Day Chatham Area Transit (CAT) Savannah, GA 2021 Daily, Monthly Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) San Diego, CA 2021 Daily, Monthly Capital Metro Austin, TX 2020–2021 (Pilot) Daily, 31-Day Utah Transit Authority Wasatch Front Region, UT 2021 (Pilot) Daily, Weekly Table 1. U.S. transit systems with fare capping.

Next: Chapter 3 - Transit Agency Survey »
Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts Get This Book
×
 Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts
Buy Paperback | $91.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Transit agencies in the United States are beginning to experiment with fare caps to ensure that passengers who pay for single rides do not pay more than multiple-ride passes included in their fare structure.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 160: Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts includes a review of the literature; a survey of 35 North American transit agencies that have recently considered implementing, are in the planning stages of implementing, or have implemented fare capping; and detailed case examples for five transit agencies that provide greater insight into the motivations, program designs, implementations, and lessons learned.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!