What do these West Hollywood transit services cost the City?
West Hollywood recently reported high-level ridership and cost numbers for the CityLine daytime bus service, the rush-hour CityLineX express bus to Hollywood & Highland, the Dial-a-Ride service for seniors and the disabled, and the taxi subsidy program for seniors and the disabled.
The City’s average cost per one-way trip was $6 for the CityLineX pilot, $13 for CityLine, $22 for the taxi subsidy program, and $44 for Dial-a-Ride. The wide range of costs reflects very different kinds of service. CityLine and CityLineX provide rides on a fixed route and schedule, from bus stop to bus stop. Dial-a-Ride and taxis offer curb-to-curb rides (e.g., from home to the doctor’s office) on the passenger’s schedule. They can also take passengers farther outside the city than CityLine or CityLineX do.
It’s important to remember:
- The numbers aren’t adjusted for differences in the distance traveled
- The numbers include administrative costs like dispatching and the taxi payment system
- The numbers don’t include the taxi passenger’s copay (effectively 16% for a fare up to $25 and 100% above that) or the cost of buying the Dial-a-Ride and CityLine vehicles
- CityLineX’s cost per trip is lower than CityLine’s mainly because the fixed costs for running the system are paid out of the CityLine budget — as one combined service, the cost was $12 per trip
City’s cost per passenger mile
The cost per trip doesn’t take into account differences in trip lengths among the services. So we’ve made preliminary estimates of the City’s cost per passenger mile, using what data we have. Our estimates are $5 for CityLine, $6 for the taxi subsidy program, and $15 for Dial-a-Ride. Using this metric, the taxi program appears to be much closer to CityLine than it is when we look at cost per trip.
These numbers include administrative costs but not the cost of purchasing CityLine and Dial-a-Ride vehicles. In recent years, the City has won grants to cover much of the cost of those purchases.
Total annual cost for these transit services
The City expects to spend over $2 million in fiscal year 2017 on the CityLine ($862,000), CityLineX ($125,000), Dial-a-Ride ($672,000), the taxi subsidy ($302,000), and fuel ($127,000). That doesn’t include a possible $1.2 million purchase of replacement CityLine and Dial-a-Ride vehicles, funded largely by grant money.
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