The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) regularly measures how it performs on a broad range of metrics while gauging current performance and identifying opportunities for improvement through objective peer comparisons with similar mid-sized public transportation agencies. In the latest National Transit database report, TheRide, whose cost per passenger is approximately 17 percent lower than the peer median, lead 20 peers in a variety of categories. The report confirmed that TheRide is meeting or exceeding its mission of delivering affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation to a record number of customers.
For this report, a methodology developed for the National Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) was used to identify the 20 transit agencies most similar to TheRide, including two other large urban systems in Michigan. The TCRP peer identification process uses 12 types of data from the most current National Transit Database (2011) to select peers. While it might appear as though Ann Arbor’s closest peers would include the agencies in Grand Rapids, Flint, or Detroit, comparisons of TheRide’s network with those communities would be misleading. In fact, most of Michigan’s fixed route systems are not comparable to Ann Arbor.
Highlights of the current report include:
- TheRide’s cost per passenger is 16.8 percent lower than the peer median
- TheRide carries 66.7 percent more passengers per mile than the peer median
- TheRide operates in a service area 5.2 percent larger than the peer median
- TheRide reaches a population 17.3 percent smaller than the peer median
- TheRide’s service area density is 6.3 percent higher than the peer median
- While TheRide’s cost per service hour is 17.8 percent more than the peer median, it carries 49.6 percent more passengers per hour than the peer median
- TheRide carries nearly two million more passengers per year than the peer median
- TheRide provides 20.5 percent more service hours and 14.4 percent more service miles than the peer median
The survey data from this latest peer comparison reinforces that TheRide is an outstanding mid-size public transportation system which carries over twice as many passengers per year than the peer median, and over four million more passengers than the Michigan median. Over the past year, USA Today, CNN, and independent national transportation associations published reports that included TheRide in Best-of-Class rankings based on ridership, operational efficiency, financial stability and technological innovation.
“We are proud FY 2013 was a successful year, with increasing ridership, a rapidly rising new Blake Transit Center, substantial progress with our urban core partners in Washtenaw County, increasing service to Ann Arbor Public School students, and the incorporation of the City of Ypsilanti in TheRide,” said Michael G. Ford, TheRide’s CEO. “There is always room for improvement, and we are working more efficiently in deploying resources to continue to offer the best service and value to both our riders and our community.”