RTA PROFILE: CAPE COD REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY
The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA)
serves the 15 communities on Cape Cod. CCRTA's
service area is large, and unlike in many other RTA
areas, there is no urban core around which most
service is focused. Instead, CCRTA serves three small
urban centers (Hyannis, Falmouth, and
Provincetown) and areas in between. CCRTA is also
one of four RTAs that serves an area with large
influxes of summer visitors who produce much higher
demand in the summer season than during the rest of
In addition, CCRTA serves as the human service transportation broker for the Cape and the islands.
CCRTA provides five different types of services:
- "The Flex" route deviation service
- b-bus general public dial-a-ride service
- ADA complementary paratransit
- Boston Hospital Transportation (BHT)
For fixed-route service, CCRTA provides two different service levels: year-round and additional summer season service. Year-round local service consists of three local fixed-routes and The Flex route-deviation route. These routes generally operate along the Cape's most important arterials (Routes 6 and 28) and serve the Cape's largest activity centers. In addition, b-Bus provides general public dial-a-ride service within each community and to neighboring locations (however, in practice, this service is utilized largely by seniors and persons with disabilities). These services generally operate from early morning (5:30 am - 7:30 am) to evenings (6:15 pm - 8:20 pm) on weekdays, and 9:30 am to 6:15 pm - 8:20pm on Saturdays. ADA complementary paratransit service is provided within 3/4 mile of fixed-route service. Finally, four days a week, CCRTA provides one round trip a day between the Cape and Boston hospitals.
During the summer season, three additional local fixed-route services are provided (from late June to early September). These operate in the Cape's primary tourist centers in Falmouth, Hyannis, and Provincetown/Truro. Sunday service is also provided during the summer.
Most CCRTA fixed-route service operates to and from the Hyannis Transportation Center in downtown Hyannis, where connections can be made to regional services:
- Plymouth & Brockton bus service to the outer Cape, and South Station and Logan Airport in Boston.
- Peter Pan bus service to New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, and New York City.
- Shuttle service to Steamship Authority ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
As described above, most service operates to and from the Hyannis Transportation Center, which is CCRTA's major passenger facility, and its administrative facility.
CCRTA has four basic fare structures for its four primary types of service:
- Fixed-route service: $2.00 (except the summertime Hyannis Area Trolley, which is free)
- The Flex route deviation service: $2.00 for on-route trips; $4.00 for off-route trips
- b-bus: $3.00
- ADA complementary paratransit: $2.50
- Boston Hospital Transportation: $15.00
A variety of discounts are provided for local, flex, and demand responsive services. These include a 50% discount for people over 60, disabled riders, and those with a Medicare card, and free service for accompanied children under 5. Single day passes and 20 ride transit passes are also offered. No discounts are offered for ADA paratransit and Boston Hospital Transportation services.
In 2010, CCRTA carried more than 550,000 passengers. Three-quarters of these passengers used fixed-route services (including The Flex) and about one-quarter used demand-response service (b-bus and paratransit). In total, CCRTA carries the fifth lowest volume of riders among Massachusetts RTAs, but provides the fifth highest amount of service in terms of vehicle hours. The relative differential between ridership and the amount of service provided is due to a number of factors that include: (1) the lack of an urban center with high transit demand, (2) its provision of area-wide demand-response service that is less productive than traditional fixed-route service, and (3) low productivity on fixed-route services that in part is due to long distances between major activity centers.
2010 FLEET SIZE
In 2010, CCRTA had 33 vehicles for fixed-route service and 58 vehicles for demand responsive service. The large number of demand-response vehicles relative to fixed-route vehicles reflects CCRTA's strong emphasis on its b-bus demand-response service.
2010 OPERATING EXPENSES AND FARE REVENUES
In 2010, CCRTA's operating expenses for fixed-route and demand-response service were $6.9 million dollars. Of this, 54% was for demand-response service, and 46% was for fixed-route service. CCRTA's operating costs are the seventh lowestamong RTAs.
Fare revenue covered approximately 13% of CCRTA's 2010 operating expenses. By type of service, fare revenues cover 6% of paratransit costs and 20% of local service costs. CCRTA collects the fifth lowest amount of fare revenue among RTAs, and has the fifth lowest farebox return ratio. CCRTA has used fare increases to avoid service cuts and to increase service.
EFFECTIVENESS AND TRENDS1
Over the past 10 years, CCRTA's overall ridership fluctuated from year-to-year but has increased overall. Over the same period, the amount of demand-response service has been steady, and there have been significant increases in fixed-route service which were largely attributable to the implementation of The Flex service.
Between 2001 and 2010, total ridership has increased from 425,000 to 553,000 passengers per year. Fixed-route ridership has increased by 62% overall, with a large (40%) increase from 2006 to 2007. This is explained by the implementation of The Flex service. Demand-response ridership decreased overall by 15% from 2001 to 2010 and experienced only slight increases or decreases in ridership year-to-year.
Revenue Vehicle Hours
Since 2001, the total amount of service that CCRTA has provided in terms of revenue vehicle hours has increased by 41%. Most of this increase has been in fixed-route service, which has increased by 65%, with much of the increase attributable to introduction of The Flex. (Note that the 65% increase in fixed-route service produced a 62% increase in ridership on those services.) The amount of demand-response service increased by 27%. However, even though the amount of fixed-route service has increased more substantially than demand-response, CCRTA still provides 15% more demand-response service than fixed-route service. This, to a significant extent, reflects CCRTA's emphasis on b-bus service.
Operating Costs and Fare Revenue
CCRTA's operating costs increased from $3.8 million in 2001 to $6.9 million in 2010. This represents an increase of 82% over 10 years, or an average of 7% per year. These operating cost increases are heavily influenced by the expansion of fixed-route service in 2006.
From 2001-2010, fare revenues significantly increased. For fixed-route service, fare revenues jumped from about $220,000 in 2001 to almost $650,000 in 2010, an increase of about 200%. Revenues for demand-response service increased by 70%, from $138,000 in 2001 to $234,000 in 2010.
Operating Cost per Passenger
Between 2001 and 2010, CCRTA's operating cost per passenger for fixed-route service increased from $4.88 to $7.96, or by 63%. CCRTA has the seventh highest cost per passenger for fixed-route service among RTAs. Part of this increase is due to the introduction of The Flex route-deviation service, which has higher costs than other fixed-route services due to its long length through a more sparsely developed service area, and the route-deviation nature of the service. Demand-response cost per passenger also increased substantially, from $14.81 in 2001 to $24.93 in 2010 (68% increase).
Passengers per Revenue Vehicle Hour
Between 2001 and 2010, the number of passengers that CCRTA has carried per vehicle hour has decreased by 8%, from 4.0 to 3.7. This overall figure is heavily influenced by demand-response service, where the figure has decreased by one-third, from 2.6 to 1.7. The number of passengers carried per hour on fixed-route service has only slightly declined from 6.4 to 6.3. In total, CCRTA carries the lowest number of passengers per revenue hour of all RTAs. This is partially due to its provision of b-bus dial-a-ride service throughout its service area and low productivity on The Flex.
Operating Cost per Revenue Vehicle Hour
Between 2001 and 2010, CCRTA's operating cost per revenue vehicle hour for all services has increased by an average of 3% per year. Increases in fixed-route service have been very high, particularly from 2006 - 2008, with the introduction of The Flex. CCRTA's operating cost per hour for fixed-route service is the second lowest among RTAs, and its cost for demand-response service is slightly above average. Notably, CCRTA has the lowest differential between its cost per hour for fixed-route service and demand-response service, and on an overall basis, has one of the lowest cost per vehicle hour of all RTAs.
KEY FACTS/NOTABLE INITIATIVES
- CCRTA provides general public demand-response service throughout its service area.
- CCRTA serves as the human service transportation broker for Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, as well as for its own service area.
- CCRTA's overall cost structure is the lowest among all RTAs.
- However, CCRTA carries the lowest number of riders per unit of service, and thus its overall cost per passenger, is the highest of all RTAs.
- CCRTAs low passenger per revenue hour figures are the result of low ridership on its fixed-route services and the provision of a large amount of demand-response service, which by its nature has relatively low productivity.