The objective of this study was to examine industry trends and experiences related to the institutional, technological, data management, customer acceptance, and costs and benefits of regional transit fare programs in the United States. Performed by the National Center for Transit Research at the University of South Florida, the study provided an overview of regional fare programs through the use of case studies and general guidance for transportation decision-makers evaluating the feasibility of introducing regional fare programs, including fare collection and fare policy options, and resources necessary for implementation.
Moving toward a regional fare policy or regional fare system should occur only after a deliberate and well-thought-out process involving an honest assessment of the needs, potential costs, and benefits. Review of successful regional fare policy and regional fare system deployments suggests that the following three activities yield the minimum information necessary for consideration:
- Analyze regional travel patterns. The amount of inter-regional and inter-system transit travel should be known to determine what level of investment may be warranted.
- Conduct transit market analysis. The riders of the transit organizations considering participation should be consulted for their preferences, especially when considering different fare media.
- Review institutional barriers and challenges. There may be differing functions and missions that are incompatible between agencies considering regional fare policies and systems. It is ideal to learn about these issues early in the planning stage.
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