Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
City’s Public Transportation Deemed Best in the West
The city’s Metropolitan Transit System, which operates 53 miles of light rail and more than 90 bus routes, received a perfect score from the Federal Transit Administration for the second consecutive time.
The esteemed distinction means that for the past six years, MTS has not only been one of the most efficiently operated agencies in the nation, but also that the FTA found no deficiencies in the 24 areas of grant management practices and program implementation it reviewed.
“These audits reflect the results of our continuing efforts to place our limited resources where they are most needed and used,” said Harry Mathis, chairman of the MTS Board of Directors. “This shows that we have a highly efficient and well run operation which provides a high level of service at the lowest cost to the taxpayer compared to other transit agencies.”
In rail and bus route comparisons with nine peers, including Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, and Phoenix, MTS outperformed them all in categories such as operating cost and subsidy per boarding, operating cost per revenue mile, and farebox recovery ratio (the percentage of operating costs paid by riders’ fares).
For example, where the average operating cost per rail boarding is $3.58 in other agencies, (Dallas operates at a cost of $6.29 per boarding) MTS’ costs are $2.00 per boarding; and with bus operating costs, the average among the other agencies is $4.48 (Dallas again the highest at $6.52), while MTS' bus operating cost are $2.66 per boarding. MTS also has a farebox recovery ratio of 54% while its nine peers average 27.5%.
This is great new for MTS, who recently experienced an 11 percent increase in ridership despite service reductions, and is on pace to generate more than 90 million trips in fiscal year 2012.