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Bay Area Commuter Services Inc.


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Bay Area Commuter Services Inc. a review and analysis of the first three years
Physical Description:
University of South Florida -- Center for Urban Transportation Research
Florida -- Dept. of Transportation. -- Public Transit Office
Florida -- Dept. of Transportation. -- District 7
Center for Urban Transportation Research
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Choice of transportation -- Florida -- Tampa Bay Region   ( lcsh )
Ridesharing -- Florida -- Tampa Bay Region   ( lcsh )
Commuting -- Florida -- Tampa Bay Region   ( lcsh )


Statement of Responsibility:
prepared for Florida Department of Transportation, Public Transit Office, in cooperation with Florida Department of Transportation, District Seven, Public Transit Office ; prepared by Center for Urban Transportation Research, College of Engineering, University of South Florida.
General Note:
"December 29, 1994."

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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usfldc doi - C01-00313
usfldc handle - c1.313
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Bay Area Commuter Services, Inc.: A Review and Analysis of the First Three Years Prepared For: Florida Department of T ransportation Public Transit Office Tallahassee, Florida In CooperaJion With: Florida Department of Transportation District Seven Public Transit Office Tampa, Florida Prepared By: Center for Urban Transportation Research College of Engineering University of South Florida Tampa, Florida December 29, 1994


Bay Area Commuter Services, Inc.: A Review and Analysis of the First Three Years Report Purpose In 1992, Bay Area Commuter Services (BACS), Inc. opened its doors for business The implementation of Florida's first private, non-profit regional commuter assistance program project was hailed in the TDM community as the first step in the integration of commute alternatives into Florida's transportation system. Other regional non profit commuter assistance agencies in Orlando and Jacksonville were scheduled to be implemented within two years. As of August 1994, BACS remaios the only regional private, non-profit commuter assistance program in the state. To improve the overall success of the progJ:am, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Central Office, in cooperation with District Seven office, requested that the TOM Clearinghouse at the Center for Urban TJ:ansportation Research (CUTR) conduct a review of the program. This effort was limited by FOOT to a document review and excluded any interviews with non-FDOT personnel or on-site inspection of BACS operation. As such, prior comacts with BACS and other TDM professionals were combined with knowledge of other TDM prog= outside of Florida to formulate the recommendations of this report. Included in the review are: 1) An assessment of how well the current BACS structure and operations meet the intended operational and structural guidelines as defined in the Bay Area Commuter Services Final Report in 1991, produced by CUTR. 2) A review of contractual arrangements between the FOOT District Seven Commuter Assistan ce Program, Public Transit Office and Bay Area Commuter Services. The docwnents examined to meet this portion of the review were executed Joint Participation Agreemellls (JPA's). 3) An analysis of the results of the first Bay Area Commuter Services Commuter Survey as they apply to changes in travel behavior. The desire to provide a benchmark evaluation for the progJ:llffi was among the reasons for the survey. Several of th e report's recommendations addreSs the operational structrire at BACS. The actual survey report has been prepared by the TOM Clearinghouse under a separate request. Collectively, the results of the three-step review should serve as a commemary on the BACS program. Recommendations were made to guide modifications to existing BACS operations and/ or structure to bring the program into conformance with the intended ,goals and mission as envisioned and agreed upon by FOOT District Seven, FOOT Central office and BACS' initial Board of Directors in 1991. However, we fully recognize the challenge of implementing a start-up plan in a changiJJg environment; new opportunities. will present themselves and unforeseen obstacl es are encountered. 1


Background In September 1988, the Florida Department of Transp01tation (FOOT) contracted with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), to establish a re gional ridesharing program in the four county (Hernando, H illsbo rough, Pasco, and Pinellas) Tampa Bay area. The contract caUed for program implementa tion to be completed in two phases, with the flfst phase intended to develop an action plan for implementation and the second phase to fund operations in the frrst year. The first phas e of the projec t took longer than anticipated. Delays resulted when an appointed advisory board, made up of local representatives from each of the four counties, CUTR and the two transit agencies could not reach consensus on the appropriate delivery system. The new members brought different perspectives and desires for how the program should be developed. Ultimately, CUTR was asked to assess the merits of three delivery methods; 1) Place the program into a regional program within one of the two public transit agencies (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit or Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority); 2) Contract services with a private company; and 3) Develop a private non-profit organization. A private non-profit organization was re c ommended as the appropriate mechanism for the commuter assistance program. After much debate the advisory board selected this delivery method as the most appropriate for Tampa Bay. Even after the advisory board endorsement, considerable debate continued over the appropriate delivery method. Both FOOT and CUTR have undertaken significant efforts to obta in support from local agencies and organizations. Summary of Institutional Arrangement Analysis Table 1 depicts the various criteria selected to evaluate the service delivery options and the scores each option received for each criteria. The reasons behind selecting the private non profit approach dealt with the issues of effectiveness, equity and : privat.e sector participation. In terms of effectiveness, it was -stated that a single purpose (use of commute alternatives) would drive a dedicated private non-profit and therefore it should achieve the highest success rate. A transit agency ma y have a modal bias toward transit and no t push car and vanpooling. Contracting commuter assistance program services to a private company would also score well on effectiveness since the "tbJ:eat" of losing the contract should results be poor would motivate the contractor to improve effectiveness. Equity issues centered around an u nbiased approach in regard to mode selection and prov ision of service by county Since there is not a regional transit authority, the concern was that a transit agency would favor the county in which tlley were located. There was also a repeat in the stated concern over mode preference. Contracting with a private company received the same rating as the private non-profit method. Bo th were seen to hav e no bias in terms of mode or geographic area. Table 1 2


Criteria Analysis Ratings For Institutional Alternatives Criteria Within Contract Out Private HART Service Non-Profit orPSTA Ease of Implementation A B c Cost of Impleme n tation A c B Effectiveness c A A Equity (Fairness) c A A Private Sector c c A Participation Where A = Best Delivery Method for Criteria B = Second best Delivery Method for Criteria C = Least favorable Delivery Method for Criteria In terms of private sector participa t ion, the report raised concerns that private sector participation would be lacking in the transit and contract ou t scenarios. In both instances, it was felt that fmancia l contributions from the private sec tor would be less than those given to a private non profit. In the transit scenario, it was believed that the private sector would not want to contribute fu n ds to w h at would essentially be a "bureaucratic agency". In the contracting services scenario, it was believed t h at the private sector would not make financial.contributions to another private sector firm since they would perceive such funds as payments t o improve the contracted company s profit margin. As a result of this careful consideration, the private non profit approach was selected. While each type of service delivery method had its strong and weak points, in the three key areas of effectiveness, equity, and private sector participation, the private nonprofit approach scored the highest. At the time the report was written, research documents from other parts of the country suggested that a private non-profi t approach was indeed appropriate. Updating Report Findings In the years after the report was written, much has changed in the TDM profession, both inside and outside the Tampa Bay area. These changes have a direCt bearing on not only the ratings given each criteria, but also the importance of the criteria selected as well. It should also be noted that the report has also had an intpact on how other commuter assistance programs in the state have been examined With that in mind, a brief discussion of the appropriateness of each scenario in today's Tampa Bay area follows. 3


lnsrilwional Allernative 1: Within An Existing Transil Age11cy Since public sector financing for transportation programs, both TDM and transit, bas gouen extremely competitive for somewhat limited resources, equity and e ffectiveness issues remain legitimate concerns. In addition, the lack of a single regional transit provider would leave the potentia l for objections to be raised in regard to geographic favoritism The fact that BACS' market includes jurisdictions s erved by either HARTLine or PSTA limit s the potential of housing BACS within an existing transit agency. As identified in the earlier scenario analy sis, one of the reasons for not placing BACS into a transit agency i s the perceived modal bins transit agencies may have. Since th e initial report, there are some indications that this may be less of a concern with respect to HARTLine. They are involved with the initiati on of the vanpool program and the development of the guaranteed r ide home program. PSTA is also pursuing s imilar services with Congestion Mi tigat ion Air Quality ( CMAQ) funds. These new services represent a broad e nin g focus on multi-modal solutions on p art of the transit agencies. Therefore, th e report's recommendation of an exi s ting transit agency not to house the CAP remains a sound one at this lime but may warrant further review in the future. A transit agency co uld house a CAP if the following guidelines are met: 1) The servi ce area in tenns of commuter destinations of both the CAP and the transit agency are identical; 2) the CAP Director rep orts only to the Exec utive Director of the transi t agency; 3) the contract betw een FDOT and the transit agency spells out performance cri t eria, and effectiveness measure s; 4) the contract includes provisi ons that all positions funded by FDOT for CAP services shall only work on CAP acti vities; 5) the contract spe lls out what activities/services are eligible to be provided by the CAP; and, 6) the contract is cost-reimbursable, wit11 FDOT providin g clear guidance on de term ining allow able expenses. lnstilUJional Arrangement 2: Col!lraCI f o r Services W'ilh a Private Seaor Finn Contracting for BACS services with a private sector firrn.scored very well in the original BACS scenario analysis. In the areas of equity and effectiveness, contracting with a private firm scenario received the same high ratings as the private non-profit approach. The last category, private sector participation, turned out to be the deciding factor and was the criteri a in which this scenario r ece ived its lowest rating Th e concem centere d around the willingn ess of other private sector firms to make financial con tribut i ons t o the CAP. However, since the original BACS docu men t was written the FOOT district office ha s de c ided that it would not require private sector contrib utions for BACS. Therefore this scenar io is as appropriate as t11e private non-profit approach and could be utilized in other areas of the state if those district offices embrace the same philosophy. If any CAP program considers this option the following guidelines should be met : 4


1) Co ntracts should stipulate what effec tiv eness measures will be used to evaluate the success of the program, and that the contract may be terminated if the frrm fails to meet the established effectiveness rating; 2) the co n tract should spell out completely what services the CAP will offer and what additiona l services can be considered; and, 3) the contract is cost -re imbursable, with FDOT providing oversight on detennining allowable expenses. Please note that the issue of whether such "privatization" is less costly or more efficient than the other options remains unresolved due to the Jack of experience in privatizing regional commuter assistance programs in the country. Gold Coast Commuter Services in south Florida is one of the few that are operated by a for profit e nterprise. Institutional Arrangement 3: Private, Non-Profit Another reason cited for forming a non-pro fit agency was the ability to attract private cas h contributions FDOT's decision to fully fund BACS and the region s desire not t o increase competition for limited local dollars between BACS and the TMOs apparently contributed to FDOT's decision not to require funding from local governments or the private sector. Still, the risk remains on relying o n a single source for all the funds and the selected structure could allow BACS to adapt to a changing environment. For examp le, BACS could use its structure as a means to compete for discretionary federal aid such as i ts more established peers (Commuter Transportation Services in Los Angeles and RIDES for Bay Area Commuters in San Francisco and The Rideshare Company in Hartford). Regarding the issue of effectiveness, the TOM profession frequently cites the aforementioned non-profits as leaders in the marketing and provision of TDM services. However actual performance data would suggest tha t others have been more effective in placing people in alternatives to the single occupant vehicle (e.g., Washington, DC Council of Governments). Another issue regarding the use of a private non-profit agency as the preferred structure is c ontractual. In the past year, CTS and RIDES experienced deep budget cuts from CALl'RANS. Reasons given for the cuts were concerns raised by consu l tants and TMOs regarding the funding of these non-profit agencies on a sole source basis. CTS was exploring other organizational structures including a joint powers authority a quasi public agency that agrees to abide by the policies and procedures of one of the area local governments. If any CAP program considers this option the following guidelines should be met: 1) the servi .ce area of both the CAP and the transit agency are substantially different; 2) at a minimum, FOOT should consider allowing the CAP to seek additional funding sources; 3) the contract is cost reimbursable, with FOOT providing clear guidance on determining allowable expenses. Given the change in the TDM profession since the adoption of the initial report by FOOT District Seven, FDOT Central Office, and the initial BACS' Board of Directors it appears that each of th e three examined scenarios have merit depe nding on the context in which they are 5


applied. However, in 1990, when the original BACS document was developed, the assumptions made and conclusions that were drawn were valid. Much of the analysis on private nonprofi t rideshare organizations was based on examinations of Commuter Transponation Services, Inc. (CTS) in Los Angeles. Since the report was written, CTS has undergone a period of major reorganization With the changes at CTS in mind, the following sections examine the suggested operational structure at BACS and how these should be modified to reflect what has been learned since the report was originally drafted. BACS Organizational StruC!Ure As part of its original mission, BACS was intended to be a partnership or private businesses, individuals, and public entities Through the stormy and politically-charged formativ e years, much of that original intention was modified to ensure that BACS could survive. This e n tailed giving the private sector a greater leadership role in BACS, less direction from the public sector, and elimi nating the drive for private sector financial support. However, as BACS has matured, and the initial fervor has subsided, what the TDM profession bas learned about private non-profit commuter assistance programs should be applied to BACS. The general premise behind establishing BACS as a private non-profit organi.zation, was that the private sector would be more willing to participate if the program was not perceived as a public sector program To that end, a Board of Directors, with a majority of the Board being private sector representatives was to be established A five member Executive Committee, selected from the Board of Directors also was formed to provide direction. The Board of Dil:ectors meets quanerly and the Executive Committee meets monthly. While this type of structure is now commonplace for TDM nonprofit organizations, at the titne the innovativ e publicfprivate concep t behind BACS was an attempt to overcome the negative perceptions associated with commuter assistance programs. These perceptions include an unresponsive government program and an organization that has little insight to the needs of the private sector. The original BACS report called for a fourteen member Board of Directors, with a majority of those being important decision makers from the private sector. While the size of the board is a minor consideration (unless it gets to be larger than 25 members) the composition is important. The initial bylaws ca.Ued for public sector represe ntation from each of. the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations (note there are now four MPOs) and from the two local transit agencies as well as the Florida Department of Transpo rtation. All of these would be members with full votin g rights The current BACS Board of Directors consists of 12 voting members drawn from the private sector (4 from Hillsborough County, 4 from Pinellas County, 2 from Pasco County and 2 from Hernando County) Only one o f the public sector groups listed in Jhe previous paragraph is represented as a voting board member. However this public sector representative is the chair from the advisory board and represents the interests of the public sector representatives on the advisory board. In addition to the voting membership FDOT att ends and participates in all meetings and BACS' executive director serves in an ex-officio capacity. Based on conflict of interest concerns, FOOT District Seven decided to limit theil: involvement to non-voting status. 6


The BACS Final Report also called for an Executive Commi ttee made u p of five members Initially these five members woul d be the incorporators of th e organization and would serve as the Executiv e C ommittee until a full Board could vote o n Executive Committee appoinl.lllents. Today, BACS bas a five m ember Executive Committee consis t ing of t hree of the five members of the initi al Board of D ir ectors and two corp o r ate members Four of the five vot in g members of the Execu tiv e C o mm i ll ee are officers of th e co rporati on. None of the voting se ats are occ upied by public sector repre se n ta ti ves. T h e E xecutive Committee has th e a u th ority to act o n m os t issues on behalf of th e Board betw een meetings. T h e B o ard reserved th e rig hts t o amend the byl aws a nd appoint officers The byl a w s p e rmit a ma j o ri ty of th e voting m embe rs o f th e Execu ti ve Committee to co nsti tu t e a qu orum A vote o f a majori ty of the quoru m of th e Executive C omm illee can a c t fo r th e organiza ti o n With an Exeeutive Comm i t te e of five three can consti tu te a quorum and tw o of those t hree can a c t o n behalf of BACS. The by l aws requirem ent that th e Board must ratify all decisio ns of th e Executive Committee cou pled with th e quarte rly meeting frequency o f the B o ard co n tri b utes t o a "rubber stamp image. Board m e mbers oeecl to know t hey are making a val u a ble contributions to the organization by sharing their views and insights on an issue before a decision i s made Otherwise, they tend to become dissatisfied and less involved. In additio n to the Board of Direc t ors and Executiv e Co mmittee, BACS created an advisory board, consis ting s o lely of p ublic sector membership t o allow for p ublic sector input. The advisory board does not v ote o n Bo ard of Direc t ors' i s sues. Howe ver, the cha i r of the a dv isory bo ards s its on th e full B o ard as a vot ing member. According to BACS by l aws, as am ended, Members of the Advisory Boa rd sha ll be e n ti tled t o recei ve, for their inf ormation, copi es of all not i ces of meetings of the Boa r d o f Di rec t o rs and may a tten d t o observe any s u c h meet ing provided they sh all no t b e e n ti tl e d by rig ht, but only up o n leave o f th e C h airp ers on o f the Board or a majority of D i rect ors in att enda n ce, to address the B o ard of Di rectors, unl ess th e m eeting i s a f o rum open to membe rs o f the ge n era l p u b li c pursuant to f oregoing adv e rti sement." For a tru e public/private partner ship to exis t as was intended in the original BACS d ocument the public se ctor must b e m ore involved than simply as a funding age ncy. Public sector representatio n should imp r ove coordination of BAC S activiti es w ith projects and pro!irams o f the MPOs. Public sector representatio n should also enhance BACS role in the local tranSporta tion plan n ing process. The qualities sou ght in any Board member are leadership, interest in B ACS' cause, and a willingness to commi t time an d effort to the organization. New bo ard mem be r s s h ould be carefully selected bas ed on their l eade r ship skil l s and abilities t o fill e x isting talent gaps on the Board. These gap s are identifi e d b y co m paring the aptitudes and cha racteristics important to BA CS to the str engths a n d weakn esses o f th e existing Boa r d Abiliti e s consid e red important to a pu b l ic/p rivate regio nal commu ter assi s tance program inc lude a wor king knowled g e of s urfa ce tran spor tation excellen t c ommunication sldlJs, m arketing expertise, financial experi e n ce, g o v e rnm e nt re l ation s and st r ate gic p l annil) g N o indivi du al B oard member is likely to e x cel o r co uld b e expected t o exc e l -in all o f th ese areas These can did ates shou l d have th e f o ll o w i n g c h aracteris tic s: team playe r motivated influ en t ial, c 1-ed i ble an d connected to the commu ni t y in a l eadership role Othe r conside ratio n s co ul d incl ud e g eographic balance and d emograp hi c representation. Local elec ted officials best meet the a bo ve qualiti es so u g h t fo r Board 7


membership. Furthennore, BACS should refrain from appointing individuals who would be coliSidered the executive director's peer in the tra115portation community. The Board can undermine the executive director's effectiveness in representing B A CS to other organizatioliS by such an appointment. Board members decide issues by what is best for all those whom BACS serves, not special interests o r personal agenda However the executive director and his peers will encounter potential conflicts of interest on nearly a daily basis The executive director will be presented with numerous opportunities for trading support fo r a peer s pos i tion on non-BACS business for a vote favorable to the executive director s position on issues such as Board policies, th e executive director's perfonnance evaluation, and his compensation package. The issue of who should represent the public sector on BACS Board must not be interpreted as a poor reflection on the character and integrity of the individuals on the advisory board or BACS staf f It is merely a concern about the conflicts of interest that would arise from placing professional peers on the Board. A conflict of interest o r even the perception of one can severely damage the organization And constantly abstaining from voting on an issue at the mere hint of a potential conflict can make such representation on the Board ineffective. Recommendation #1: Recommendation #2: To provide for a true public/private partnership, the BACS Board of Directors should be expanded to include more representation from the public sector. However, the private sector should remain the majority. Currently, BACS has an advisory board of many of the public sector representatives listed above. The public sector organizations represented on the advisory board should be extended Invitations to appoint elected officials to serve on the Board of Directors. Expand the Executive Committee from five private sector members to at least eight members but no morethan twelve, including all officers of the Board. Tbe. Executive Committee should have no more than three publicsector Boardmembers, including those who serve in a BACS' office. Furthermore; the bylaws requirement that all Executive Committee .actions be approved by the full Board should be eliminated. The Roles of the Board of D itCCIO[ and the Executive Director The original report recommended that the Executive Committee ... "meet on a regular basis, e.g. once a month, as their responsibilities will specifical l y relate to the day-to-day operations of the program." However, this degree of in v olvement by Board members at this stage of develop m ent i s inappropriate As BACS matures, the roles and responsibilities of the BACS Board of Directors, executive directo r and FDOT can blur. For many non-profits like BACS, there is a fme line between interference by board members and adherence to the board's fiduciary responsibilities. Unless the roles and responsibiliti e s between the Board of Directors and its executive director 8


are established and well understood at the OUtSet, BACS effectiveness can be hampered and may be setting il$llf up for furure problems During the early stages of the otganization's development, the volunteers from the public and private sectors take on operational and management responsibilities normally handled by staff. Work programs are prepared, budgets are developed and staffing needs determined. The organization is incotporated and non-profit status secured. Many of the volunteers may become members of the Board and day-to-day responsibilities are shared until funding is secured and the executive director is hired. The hiring of the executive director is the key turning point for a non-profit agency like BACS. The executive director becomes the organization's expert in all areas of transportation demand management, ope rations, administration and personnel. Once the executive director is hired, the board should begin to transition its focus from day-to-day operations to setting policy. Problems occur when the relationship is not well defined, the Board continues to micro -manage the Otganization, and the executive director feels compelled due to inexperience or other reasons to invite Board input on operational issues Precedents set up early in the life of non-profit agency when the Board and the executive director are new can become deeply ingrained as the otganization matures 1bese precedents can impede progress and foster a less than productive organization. The relationship between the policy role of the Board and the operational role of the staff can be illustrated by the following examples. The board is responsible for fashioning the agency's strategic plan, but the executive director makes recommendations and implements the plan once it's adopted. The executive dire ctor writes the grant proposal but must seek prior BoiLrd approval to submit the grant. Tbe board approves the budget, formulates policies for financial management and internal control systems, and hires legal counsel and the auditor. The executive director drafts the budget, assures adherence to fmancial management policies and systems, and obtains bids for legal and auditing services. Often the differences between policy versus operational issues are neitller obvious nor clear cut. The challenge between the Board and the executive director is to decide the process for handling certain siruations. In some cases, the Board may delineate those items clearly within the complete authority of the executive director with prior approval and those items that requlre notification to the Board after the fact by the executive director. The major board responsibilities include hiring the executive director, developing a strategic plan that reflects the agency's mission, monitoring and evaluating the performance of the organization, the executive director and the finances. Individual board members also serve as both credible advneates for the agency and information-gathers. The y should use their influence and community and business connections to further the agency's mission A board members must pay particular attention to financial management processes, fmancial statements, audit findings, and minutes to fully understand the issues before making decisions. A constructive method for viewing the management and operation of the agency from a Board perspective is to trea t the executive director as the sole employee of the Board of Directors. The responsibility for the hiring, training, manag ing, evaluating, and disciplining other employees rests solely with the executive director. Usurping the executive director's responsibilities will only serve to set a precedent that breeds distrust, diminishes accountability and wastes a Board's best resource the executive director. 9


An effective method to clarify the roles and responsibilities would begin with listing ge n eral types of decisions and collective ly deciding which party has the decisionmaking authority, which items require prior approval and which decisions need made by the executive director require notice after the fact. In addition to treating the executive d irector as the sole employee of the Board the Board could adopt guiding principles for Board-only decisions. Suggested principles for Board only actions include: 1) those actions that are required by Jaw or regulation 2) unless requested by the executive director, the Board shall restrict its policies to those that affect the who le organization, and 3) tbe Board shall maintain the financial integrity of the organization. The following items illustrate the types of decisiopS and degree of authority of a typical non profit executive director. 1 Execu t ive director has complete authority to make the decision a. Write a grant proposal b Establish guidelines for evaluation of employees c Notify contractors of bidding results d Decide the executive director wiJJ represent your organization at a business or social function 2. Only the Board may make the decision a. Change board meeting times or frequencies b. Select a fum to audit the organization's fmances c Award contracts to vendors d Retain legal counsel for the agency e. Give recognition awards to community members for their contributions 3 Executive director bas authority to act and then inform the board a. Submit a grant proposal to a funding source b. Purchase a new computer system with budgeted funds c. Decide the executive director can attend a conference d Fire an employee for poor job performance 4. Executive director must seek prior approval from the board to act a. Decide items or services to cut to meet budget demands b Set minimum salary for new staff c. Hire an employee for an unbudgeted position d Approach citizens abou t serving on an advisory committee In summary, BACS is a partnership between the public and .private sectors to address transportation needs At another level, BACS is a team of Board of Directors and the executive director. To make the partnership work the teams must clarify their roles. The recommendation in the original report l eaves open how to interpre t the Executive Committee's role in day to-day operations. While this report does not suggest that the Executive Committee has been involved in day-to-day operations, i t is necessary to define the Executive Committee's role. 10


R ecommen dati o n #3 : The r o les and r esponsib ili ties of tbe Board of Directors, including the EJ:cc uti ve Conunittee, and executive director should be clearly estab lished and included as part of a Board member trai. ning progtam. FDOT's Role with B ACS Board of Directors The original BACS docum ent was written under the assumption that FDOT would participat e on the BACS Board as a full votin g member Thi s approach was intended to provide a strong p u blic sector presence on the Board and on the Exec utive Committe e. The Florida Department of Transportation Commu ter Assistance Program procedures d ocument also does not specify what type of Boar d memb ers hip is appropriate. The initia l bylaws specifically state the FDOT should be a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. After the project was underway, FDOT decided that it should serve as a n o n-voting mem ber to avoid a perceived conflict of interest. Subsequent amendrn ents to the BACS bylaws acknowled ge that "emp loyees of the Florida Department of Transportation are no longer eligible to serve on tbe Board of Directors of private COrPOrations". The bylaws change in May 1992 removing FDOT representation to the Board of Direc tors and Executive Committee was initiated by FDOT Furthermore, BACS bylaws do not have classes of membership to allow FDOT participate in a non-voting capacity with all the rights except voting. Though FDOT attends and participates in meetings of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committe e and on the Advisory Board, the potentia l exists how ever remote, where FDOT participation in discu ssions could not be permitted. Unde r the current bylaws, FOOT and other non-Bo ard members ar e not entitled to address the board but may speak if requested by the chair or a majority of dire ctors in attendance unless the meeting is a forum open to the general public. Recommendation # 4: fJmdiOil of BACS Legal r eview and written comment on whether serving on the boar d in a 90ti n g capacity is a conflict of interest shoul d b e pursued by District Seven. If there is no conflict of interest the Florida Department of Transportation should consider petitioning the BACS' Board of Directors to become a vo tin g member or the Board and Executive Committee. If.Ji'DOT can not leg all y participate as a voting member then FOOT should coosider asking BACS to estab lish a no n -voti n g class of memb ership for FDO T on the Board of Dire ctors and EJ

local funding making up 50% of the total. Each county was assessed a share of that 50%, with their share determined through a funding forintila. A different formula was used for each sce n ario. Today, BACS remains totally funded by the Florida Department of Transportation The reason additional revenue streams have not been tapped stem largely from local governments objections to the regional approach during the formation process. Additionally, the original srudy neith er develops funding scenarios for cities within the region nor does it specity whether cities should be expected to make financial contributions. However many of the Tampa Bay region communities accept the regional commuter assistance approach and prov i de non-financial support to the program. In evidence of that support, the local communities and regional agencies allocate financial resources to TDM services other than BACS and provide infrastrucrure that complements and supplements BACS services. These include committing Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to support a regional vanpool program, initiate a guaranteed ride home program, and construct commuter centers. Local governtnents use CMAQ and local funds to support four transportation management organiz.atiollS (TMOs) and the development of several others. The use of CMAQ funds to support these other TDM programs may have implications on BACS in the near future. The federal government is currently reviewing the status of CMAQ eligibility. One of the issues to be resolved is the use of CMAQ funds to support existing TMOs and ridesharing programs. If CMAQ funds are no longer available for this region (e.g., we are declared to be in attaintnent) or for particular uses (e.g., funding existing TMOs), the desire for more funding from FOOT will grow. Recommendation #5: The Florida Department of Transportation should continue to fund BACS without requiring a local cash match. However, FOOT should continue to monitor developments on the eligibility and use of CMAQ funds and other sources of revenue for the area's TDM programs and services. BACS budget is comparable with regional commuter assistance io metropolitan areas of similar size in other states. A close scrutiny of the proposed operating budget, as detailed in the original BACS document, versus the most recent Joint Participation Agreement (JPA) reveals some minor problems. One area of concern is an incentive program for marketing representatives contained in the current JPA. The second area of concern deals with lack of linkage between budget and performance. The incentive program, though well-intentioned on th.e part of BACS and FDOT, was not designed to reward exceptional performance. Contract supplements between BACS and FOOT allowed BACS to pay its marketing representatives bonuses based on the number of names added to the data base. While data base size is one element in developing a computerized ridematching system that can match a high percentage of commuters, it is not the only element for encouraging use of alternatives to the single occupant vehicle (i.e., the primary objective for BACS) Developing a database that allows placement nf individuals into alternative 12


transportation modes relies more on being able to provide quality matches (persons who want to try carpooling/vanpooling) than on size of the database. According to FOOT, the incentive pro g ram has been discontinued but it remains i n the JP A. The second area of concern is the lack of linkage between budget and performance. The idea of funding based on performance is not a new concept. In fact, it has been utilized by the Florida Department of Transportation in many areas of the state The FOOT Transportation Management Association (TMA) seed funding program is one such quasi pay-for-performance arrangement. Each TMA rece iv es funding from the FOOT for the first three years of operation, with additional years based on how well they are performing in helping the FOOT meet some of its public transportation goals. Other commuter assistance programs in other states also follow these performance-based funding scenarios. The greatest d ifticulty in developing funding scenarios based on performance is determining adequate performance. A number of parameters and measurements can be used to measure program performance. Selecting what should be measured has been simplified through the recent completion of the Tampa Bay area TDM program evaluation. That report selected specifi c criteria to examine to determine performance. With the criteria already selected the only remaining obstacle to determining performance is defining what should be considered adequate. One method is baseline versus current measurem ents. The recent Tampa Bay report has established baseline conditions for the program. I n subsequent years, BACS should show improved performance on each criteria. The other method is benchm ar king, in which recognized leaders in the field are examined to see what their achieve ment levels are in each of the selected performance indicators For example, if placement rate of rideshare applicants is a performance measure, then a CAP program of similar size and demographics as well as r ecognized leader in the CAP field would be examined and their placement rate used as the benchmark. Recommendation #6: Recommendation #7: The practice or rew arding BACS employees solely for the number of names added to the database was recently disallowed by FDOT. However, FDOT needs to weigh the benefits of the incentive program with the potential negative perceptions that a publicly-funded program allows such a system. An incentive system should only be used if it can be demonstrated that the incentive program will yield exceptional performance. The Florida Department of Transportation should include performance standards in all CAP contracts (including BACS) AND link ftmding to meeting mutually acceptable performance improvements. Using the established BACS baseline as defined in the Tampa Bay report as the lowest figure and researched benchmarks from exemplary programs as the goallbighest performance standard, BACS should show continuous improvement from the established baseline. 13


lastly, it should be remembeted that this report is an examination o f BACS operations. A more complete picture in regards t o funding, finances, revenue stream and cash flow perfonnaoce would result from a financial audit. Since such an audit is beyond the parameters o f this study, financial performance will not be discussed in this report. Howeve r a yearly financial audit which includes r ecommendations on how to better manage BACS fmances is requited by the JP A. Staffing and Operations In the origin al BACS rep01t it was recommended that BACS be started witlt an initial staff of five and a half full time positions. These positions were : an Executiv e Director, M anager of Marketing, O perations Support Specialist, a Ser vice Representative, a Secretary/Receptionist, and a part-time data entry operator. During the second year of operations, five full time positions and one part-time position were to be added These new positions were: a planning manager, an administrative manager, two service representatives, a receptionist and a part-time data entry operator. A complete list of original positions, with job descriptions, is included in Appendix A. The originally proposed organizational chart is also included as Appendix B. This staffmg plan was developed to help BACS fulfill its three part operating mission. BACS was to provide regional marketin g, support services to transportation management associations and employers, and a regional commuter services. While most TDM professionals in the Tampa area are familiar with BACS' marketing efforts, the other two functions have not fulfr.Jled the initial intent. The intended support services operations were detailed by the FDOT Central Office in December, 1991. At tbat time, the acting commuter progr ams manager's plan was to have BACS develop a regional TDM Clearinghouse with similar tasks as the statewide TMA Clearinghouse housed at CUTR, though at a less technical level. Thus BACS would be responsibl e for keeping up a r esource center, provide technical assistance to groups, agencies, and IMAs, in the development of TDM initiatives, and t o provide educational outreach in the Tampa area. The commuter services function was intended to be the actual prognu:ns offeted to Tampa Bay area commuters. This would include the ridematcbing function, vanpool programs and other TDM services that coold be offered on a regional scale. The most recent BACS report shows that the current staffing level is thirteen fuJI time employees. The positions are: the Executive Director, the Area Representative Supervisor two area representatives, an administrative supervisor, an executive secretary, an accounting specialist, a computer systems administrator an operations assistant, a customer service supervisor, and three service representativ es In esseJJCe, the posi tions represent a heavy emphasis in marketing, at the expense of the support service and commuter services track. Recommendation #8: B ay Area Commuter Services should be restructured to balance its promo tional co mponent of the program with Improved commuter and employer service elements. BACS should work towards its intended structure by d eveloping, with equal 14


Recommendation # 9 : Acliyities emph asis, the mark eting cleme nt, the support services element, a n d tbe commuter services clement. Becau s e of t h e current strength in marketing, and the existence of a portion of the commuter services eletnent BACS shoul d immediate l y begin to redirect Its efforts in es tablishing the technical assistance eletneJlt and strengthening It s commuter services element. To fulfill its new organ izational structure, BACS should develop a new staffmg plan. This plan should co ntinue with an E x ec u tive Director with f our element leaders, each with equal authori ty, and each leading one of the f our elelDents (marketing, tec hnical assist ance, administrative and commuter services) In the origi n a l B AC S document, these p os ition s were titled Manager. of Marketing, Planning Manager, Administrative Manager, and Manager of Operations. The job d es criptions for each o f t h ese positions have been detailed in the original BACS docwnm t (which have been include d here as Appendix A ) and are reflecti v e of the d esired job descript ions disc usse d h e re. Additional pos iiJo ns, to b e d etermined after restructuring could be added. Ba y Area C ommuter Servic es is the Tamp a Bay area' s re gional c ommuter assis tance program. As such i t prov i des co mmute alternativ e services t o e veryone who w ants t o use its serv i ces Acti vitie s commonly associated wit h comm uter assistaru:e p rog r ams include ridematching s ervices, vanpool programs, e m p loyer outreach, and o th e r TDM support programs. Howe v e r, when the decision to move forward with BACS was made, Tampa Bay's regional program was intended to be more than a typical commuter assistance program As was discussed earlier, BACS was developed to provide commute alternative programs in three major areas, marketing, technica l assistance, and commuter services. In addition t o ridematching services, van pool programs, and the lik e B A CS was also developed to assist in the formatio n of TMAs, prov i de technical assistance t o local MPOs and other governme n t agencies, facili tate the provision of H AR TLine and PS T A transit se rvices, as w e ll as s erve as an advocate for TOM serv i ce s and a cu stome r ser vice driven "store" for comm ut ers to access commut e a l terna tives The original BA CS report d e tailed a wi d e array of BACS servi ces that were t o be implemente d T hese include employ e r ride share planning and ass istance thro ugh an employer outreacll program, individual matching services, a vanpooi brokerage program, development o f transportation management associations, and transportation demand m anagement services which was to include employer TDM plans. In addition BACS was charged with promoting existing public tranSponation by providing transit infonnation to custo m ers, advocating transit improveme nts to meet customer needs, f acilitating the sale of trans i t p asses to individuals and employers, and p roviding liaison/brok erage s e rvices for employers and transit operators. As to wha t services BACS s hould offer, th e original BACS report pro v ides a fou ndation 1 5


for building the envisioned commuter ass i sta n ce program In addition to those listed in Table 2 below, other services and programs were inte n ded. T ab l e 2 B ACS Services to Be O ffered Rideshare Planning and Assistance Emp l oyer O utreach Ind i v i d ual Matchi n g Services Vanpool/Buspool Services Third Party Vanpool Brokerage Transportation P lanni ng Assistance Assist in the Development of Transportation Manage ment Associations Transportation Demand Management Services Polic y Advocacy P r omo ti o n of Public Transpo r tation Transi t htformati o n Transi t Improvements Employer S u bsidized P ass Prog ram Informat ion Brokerage Services Information on All Transportation Al ternatives The services deta il ed in Table 2, and listed above h ave not been completely implemented because several obstac l es were encountered early on. The fi.rst of these were the inability of the parties involved to reach consensus on the delivery system. Because each county opera t ed thei r own program, each felt existing programs better served their constituents. After th i s issue was resolved problems arose over duplication of efforts between BACS and existing TMOs A great deal of time and effort, by tb e TMOs, BACS, the Florida Department of Transporta t ion, and CUTR went in to trying to reso l ve this issue R ecommendation #10: The FD O T should continue its posi tion that i t w ill neither fun d nor support progra m s or activities that w o uld be dupli cating B ACS services. The services of. BACS shall be c o nside r e d "baseline" services and other transportation and transportat ion service providers (e.g TMOs) shoul d examine delivering addit i onal value-added services to thei r customers s uch as personalized rid ematching assistance 16


Recommendation f/11: Long Range Pla nni ng The technical assistance and support element should be established. Upon completion of reorganization, BACS' Executive Director Planning Manager, and Manager of Operations in consultation with FOOT, the TDM Clearinghouse at CUTR, and tl1e TMAs, s hould develop a technical assistance and support program. At a minimum, this program should expand support services to TMAs to include similar tasks as the statewide TMA Clearinghouse housed at CUTR, though at a less technical level. Thus BACS would be responsible for assisting in the design, processing, and analysis of employer surveys for TMAs, education/training for employee transportation coordinators, and collection of data for regional transportation planning purposes on the effectiveness of TDM strategies. BACS should develop a work plan and time line for implementation. To ensure the future of BACS, a c lear vision needs to be established for the organization. As other non-profi t organizations have learned, short and long range plans for agency direction can prevent a wide variety of problems. Staff members and potential funders can also discern their roles in the future of the organization. The original BACS document developed a plan of action for the first two years of operation. Since the two years covered by the report has passed, questions have arisen as to the lo ng term goals and direction for BACS. It is therefore imperative that a c lear directio n be specif ied Several types of short and long range planning models are available, including transit development plans required of all Florida transit properties. While long range planning for the organization is the responsibility of the Board of Directors a planning process that allows for public input ensures that the needs of Tampa Bay area conunuters are met. A recently completed survey of commuters in th e Tampa Bay region provided baseline statistics on BACS' operations. While this analysis will not detail the results of that survey, the recommendations of that report have a direct impact on some of BACS o perati ons. The reconunendations of the Tampa Bay Commuter Survey were: 1 BACS and the TMOs should share the results of this survey with their respective Boards of Directors with the goal of continuous pro gram improvement and f oste ring communication in deciding the direction of the individual agencies. The results should b e used as baseline information to measure progres s frorn one period to the next. 2 There is no comparable cost per VMT reduced and cost per ve hicle trip reduced readil y available to draw conclusions as to their rela tive trip reduction effectiveness to alternatives such as expanding capacity or adding transit service. However, the cos t per 17


passenger trip ($1.40) is com parab le to the cost per passenge r trip for transit ($2. 1 6 in Flotida). FDOT should cons ider us ing the cost per passenger trip as one of the reporting requirements for BACS and the TMOs 3. TDM strategies are viable alternatives in thls region. Comm u ter interest exis ts in alternatives to the sing le occupattt vehicle in the Tampa Bay region In particular, commuters seem most interested in telecommuti ng options. FDOT, BACS TMOs and CUTR should examine telecommu ting's market potential and resultant transporta tion benefits. 4 Emphas i s on building the commuter database at BACS has not yet demonstra ted chan ges in behavior. BACS sho uld distinguish between commuters who asked to be added to the ride-matchin g database, and those who simply failed to return the letter requesting not to hav e their nam es electroni cally entere d. The latter group could be used for direct marketing of commute alternatives and futu re programs by the BACS and the TMOs. FDOT should be prepare d for a significant d ec line in the customer database size but should expect to see increases in the placement rate (i.e., similar number of people influence but from a smaller pool of customers). 5. In the nex t quarter, TMOs should channel existing resources to follow-up with registrants to i dent ify those who are interested in the services offered, while treating those who are not intere sted only as leads for target marketing (e.g., intro ducd on of vanpoo l program). 6. BACS and the TMOs sho uld focus strategi es and tactics on each element of the alternative mod e d ecis ion process (e.g., registration rate, matching rate contact rate placement rate frequency, occup ancy duration and customer satisfaction) Each of these aspects contributes to changes in trav e l behavior which affect vehicle trips and vehicle miles of travel. FDOT should work with these agencies to develop, fund, and moni t o r approaches in these areas. 7. In consultation with BACS and the TMOs, FDOT should establish common criteri a for tracking program performance and jointly fund eval uations of BACS and the TMOs throughout Distri c t Seven. These evaluations s h o uld be conducted by a third party. To minimize costs, considera tion s h ould be given to collecting performanc e data (e.g., placement rate, duration, frequency, pool occupancy, etc.) only once every two years. A similar precedent can be found in tl1e "waiver" process for Section 15 reporting requirements for transit agencies This waiver allows smaller transit a ge n cies the option of using the previous year's riders hi p count as part of their fed!!ral fund reporting instead of incurring the cost necessary to collect the data yearly. If the transit agency chooses, it may still collect ridership statistics yearly, and will usually choose to do so when their ridership improves. This data will b ecome the accepted formula factors applied to constants against whicb tbe ear-ly tracked statistics sucb as number of customers will be factored throughout the two year period. If the agencies believe they have s ignificantly 18


affected these constant multiplien;, they may reevaluate using methods reviewed by the TMA Clearinghouse and approved by FDOT p r ior to the biannual survey and analysis. 8. TMOs and BACS should place a higher priority on customer retenti on. follow-up. and support. FDOT should r eco gnize the importance and effort required to maintain current market share in addition to market growth (i.e., size of the database ). FDOT shou ld require TMOs and BACS to inclu de activities in these areas and all ow them the freedom to decide how to implement these programs. 9. BACS, TMOs and FDOT should closely monitor trends and changes in mark e t needs to improve 1-elationships with custom ers, knowledge of customer requirements, and the key quality factors that encourage the ir participation. They should establish ben chmarks for these key factors based on TDM programs in other parts of the country 10. FDOT should explicitly recognize that some activities of BACS and the TMOs will not immediately result in changes in travel behavior (e.g., building support for the provision of amenities and polic ies supponive of alternative modes such as bicycling, transit, etc.). BACS and the TMOs should not lose sight that their a pproaches and deployment strategies are based on reaching a desired end result typically, a change in travel behavio r o r employer p olicy. It is healthy to periodically review thes e s tr ategies and their co ntribution to the organization's goals and objectives relative t o th e resources allocate d to them. 11. FDOT should develop information on th e average duration of alteruat ive mod e u se in F lorida. Duration can have a significant impact on the benefits received and the cos t effectiveness of the program FDOT should develop a syslen! for trackin g the actua l individuals placed into a poo l for several years. 12. In consultation with FDOT, BACS and the TMOs, CUTR should review the survey methodology to be used for future surveys (mail, phone, or e mployer distribution) to improve response rates and protect co nfide ntiality. The impleme n tation element of B ACS long range plan s hould considered these recommendations. R econunendatio n #12: To provide lon g range guidance to BACS, a commuter assistance dev e lopment plan should be developed that is coordinated with l ocal and regional p l ans and reflects fiscal realities. The plan s h ould consider the recommendations rrom the Tampa Bay Commuter Survey above. Such a document would be similar to the transit development plans required of all transit properties. Long range plans provid e a multi-year (5 years for TDPs) program 19


Final Thoygbts for guiding the organization. The plan portion of the document details how the organization will move from present to the desired program. Such plans provide an opportunity for public participation, asking both users and non-users what services they need to be willing TDM participants. In the odginal BACS document, several recommendations were made to clarify BACS' role in the future. Two of those six recommendations hav e yet to be fully acted upon. Paraphrasing those recommendations: 1. The development of a CAP is a continual analytical process that must incl ude consensus building. 2. The roles of FOOT and the organization's Board of Directors should be more clearly defined as they relate to the program s mission and operation. For the most part, the recommendations contained in this report address these concerns. Hopefully, the recommendations regarding Board of Director membership will help build consensus, the last recommendation in this report should address both the need for communication both and externa ll y, and several other recommendations, taken collectively should address the roles of the Board and FDOT. 20


Appendix A POSITIONS AND THEIR RESP ON S mU..IT IES (INITIAL O P ERATIONS) Board of Di rectors: policy direction performanc e monitoring and evaluation Exec u tive Director : (1) overall management of organization internal relations external relations budge t preparation grant preparation/administration staff performance monitoring personnel contract adm in istration Mana ger of Marke t i n g: (1) program image media management press releases advertising brochures and other handout materials monitor performance of service representative(s) inrerface with local governments and other public/private organizations active in transportatio n management public awareness Operations S upport S p ecialist: ( 1 ) responsibl e for organizing and managi n g the compu te r matchi n g system work with service repres entatives from third-party vanpool contractors in the development o f vanpools purge files on a regular basis and monitor progr am performance prepare reports documentin g achievements of BACS


Service Representative: (1) market progra m to area employers employer contact coordinate the reg istration of employees in the matching progl"am coordinat e the formation of vanpools in conjunction with the operations support specialist transit information transit improvements emp loyer subsidized pass programs monitor progress of member employers and follow u p with new batch runs when ._ appropriate Secretary/Receptionist: (1) handle all telephone inquiries carry om all secretaria l duties Part-Time Keypunch: (.25) coding key punching editing data entry and execution


POSITIONS TO BE ADDED IN SECOND YEAR Planning Manager: (1) pr epare Transportation Management Association p lans for those organizations w ishing to establish a program provide any technical support that may be required through the course of operation flexible work hours parking management and other TSM employee incentives policy advocacy reverse commuting assistance to planning agencies Administrative Manager: (1) likel y to be filled by executive director in the early development of the program personnel develop and monitor program budget develop and implement an annual work plan which outlines achievements and objectives of t h e program Service R epresentatives: (2) Receptionist: (1) P I T Keypunch: (.25)


Proposed Organization BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE D IRECTOR (1) I I MGR. OF MARKETING PlANNING MGR. All!MNIST'RAT1VE MGR. (1) ( 1 ) (1) .. Service RepresentativE Secretary (3) (1) Receptionis t ( 1 ) I MGR. OF OFERATIOHS (1) P I T Keypunch (.50) )> "0 "0 (1) :::J a. x w

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