Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1011
Date of Award
Master of City and Regional Planning
City and Regional Planning
Transit agencies at all levels of government monitor trends in services, operations, and ridership using performance indicators. Federal and state agencies use these performance indicators in the appropriation of funds to transit agencies. Public transportation is subsidized through federal, state and local programs while only a portion of the operating expenses are covered through rider fares. In order to gather information on riders and travel patterns, transit agencies primarily focus on current transit riders, many of which are transit dependent populations. By definition, these populations use public transit services as the primary or only means of transportation. As a result, this offers limited opportunity for ridership growth among transit dependent populations.
One segment of a population that offers high opportunity for ridership growth is commuters. A commuter is considered a worker that travels from home to work on a regular basis. However, in the case of commuter oriented transit services, it is important to survey non-riders so that any new services will have the greatest potential of increasing ridership among commuters. This report explores the potential commuter demand for additional or express bus services provided by San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA). RTA operates countywide fixed-route bus services and para-transit services for San Luis Obispo County. This report focuses on RTA’s Route 9, which operates between the North County and the Central County.
In order to collect data from non-riders, electronics survey instruments were created and distributed using employer e-mail addresses. The survey instruments were sent to three major employers in San Luis Obispo County: California State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), the City of San Luis Obispo, and the County of San Luis Obispo. A link to one of the surveys instruments was also included on San Luis Obispo Council of Government’s (SLOCOG) Rideshare’s March 2013 e-newsletter as a way to reach additional non-riders. Analysis of the survey responses resulted in the recommendations to RTA. Recommendations are separated into two categories: (1) Expansion of RTA Route 9 services and (2) Future RTA non-rider outreach.