Difference between revisions of "California Vanpool Authority"

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[[Category:New service models]]
 
The '''California Vanpool Authority''' (also known as '''CalVans''') is a Joint Powers Authority with member agencies throughout Central California.  CalVans original emerged as a program of the Kings Area Rural Transit system to fill a gap created when Caltrans ceased operating vanpools to state facilities.  Since 2001, CalVans has operated vanpool service, beginning with a single van serving county employees and expanding to almost 400 routes serving 23 counties statewide. The program (now called CalVans) has been able to expand transit service to residents of low population density areas, connecting workers to jobs in ways that fixed-route transit systems could not.
 
  
The Authority is sponsored by the Kings County Area Public Transit Agency.   
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[[Category:Managing transit]]
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[[File:Calvans promo photo.jpg|thumbnail|right|A Caltrans van Source: California Vanpool Authority]]
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==Introduction==
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The '''California Vanpool Authority''' (also known as '''CalVans''') is a Joint Powers Authority formed in 2012.  The Authority evolved from a vanpool program established by Kings County in 2001.  The Authority's vanpool services connect residents in areas with low population density with employment centers, operate at 100% cost recovery, and generate operating funds for fixed route transit and paratransit in the areas it serves.
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==History==
 +
The vanpool program was established in 2001 by Kings County Area Public Transit Agency (KCPTA)to fill a gap created when Caltrans ceased operating vanpools to state facilities. Beginning with a single van serving state correctional employees, it expanded to include agricultural workers in 2002.  The agricultural vanpool project was established as a pilot program called AITS (Agricultural Industries Transportation Services) funded by in part by a JARC grant.   
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 +
AITS sought to be a safer, low-cost alternative to private "raiteros" linking residences with agricultural jobs. According to Hughes, these agricultural workers travel an average of 85 miles per day. The AITS program was originally started after a 2002 accident with a private van killed 13 agricultural workers [1]. To keep cost of service low, the Authority transitions used vans to AITS participants. AITS vans are outfitted with rugged interior flooring, water coolers, and toolboxes for use in agricultural settings. The Authority bills for AITS services weekly as agricultural workers are paid weekly. AITS vans have been used to transport agricultural workers to seasonal jobs in the Imperial Valley, which increases the utilization rate of the vans and allows workers based elsewhere in the state to stay employed during the winter growing season.
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By 2011, the CalVans program expanded to 18 counties, providing over 400 vans to agricultural and non-agricultural vanpools.  The California Vanpool Authority Joint Powers Authority was formed in 2012 to allow multiple stakeholders to have oversight over the growing program.
  
 
==Service model==
 
==Service model==
The public Authority owns and manages the operation of Vanpools.  This publicly-owned model contrasts with the private model offered by VPSI Inc, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and other companies that has been more common in California. [http://www.sanbenitorideshare.org/vanpool.htm San Benito County] also offers public vanpool services. 
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The public Authority owns vans and manages the operation of Vanpools.  This publicly-owned model contrasts with the private model offered by [http://www.vride.com/ vRide], [https://www.enterpriserideshare.com/vanpool/en.html Enterprise Rideshare], and other companies that has been more common in California.  
  
 
Individuals who wish to commute with their co-workers may apply to form a vanpool and be a driver.  Drivers must meet certain conditions and agree to manage and operate the van in a non-profit manner.  The Authority pays fuel and maintenance expenses.
 
Individuals who wish to commute with their co-workers may apply to form a vanpool and be a driver.  Drivers must meet certain conditions and agree to manage and operate the van in a non-profit manner.  The Authority pays fuel and maintenance expenses.
  
Having a driver who is responsible for making payments, acquiring new passengers, and managing day-to-day operations reduces labor costs that might be incurred by a centrally-administered vanpool program.  According to Hughes, the CalVans model allows it to accept the 30-40% applicants who would be declined by for-profit vanpool companies due to poor credit.  Because of this, he sees the service as providing a lifeline to individuals who would not otherwise be able to access jobs.  Additionally, Hughes said that a leasee who looses a job or is unable to maintain payments can return a van if needed because the van can be reassigned to other routes as the system continues to grow.
+
Having a driver who is responsible for making payments, acquiring new passengers, and managing day-to-day operations reduces labor costs that might be incurred by a centrally-administered vanpool program.  According to Hughes, the CalVans model allows it to accept the 30-40% applicants who would be declined by for-profit vanpool companies due to poor credit.  Because of this, he sees the service as providing a lifeline to individuals who would not otherwise be able to access jobs.  Additionally, Hughes said that a leasee who loses a job or is unable to maintain payments can return a van if needed because the van can be reassigned to other routes as the system continues to grow.
  
The Authority offers two service products: Agricultural Industries Transportation Services (AITS) for agricultural workers and CalVans for non-agricultural workers.   
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CalVans tracks demand for vanpools that is not currently being realized: requests for vanpools on routes and times that don't currently existTracking these routes allows potential users to express interest, and allows CalVans to convert suggested routes to operating routes when sufficient demand exists.  CalVans for non-agricultural workers are billed monthlyThe capital cost of vans is amortized over 5 years, at which point the monthly rate charged for the vanpool decreases.
===Agricultural Industries Transportation Services (AITS)===
 
AITS strives to be a safer, low-cost alternative to private "raiteros" linking residences with agricultural jobs. According to Hughes, these agricultural workers travel an average of 85 miles per dayThe AITS program was originally started using JARC grant funds after a 2002 accident with a private van killed 13 agricultural workers <ref>[http://www.aitsvp.com/index.php AITS Vanpool]</ref>. To keep cost of service low, the Authority transitions used CalVans vans to AITS services and sells discounted used vehicles to agricultural workers.  The Authority bills for AITS services weekly as agricultural workers are paid weeklyAITS vans have been used to transport agricultural workers to seasonal jobs in the Imperial Valley, which increases the utilization rate of the vans and allows workers based elsewhere in the state to stay employed during the winter growing season.
 
  
===CalVans===
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==Funding==
CalVans are targeted at non-agricultural workers and employers, including state institutionsHistorically, many of the passengers have been state employees who are eligible for Caltrans vanpool subsidies.  The vans offer an alternative to the long-distance commutes. CalVans tracks demand for vanpools that is not currently being realized: requests for vanpools on routes and times that don't currently exist.  Tracking these routes allows potential users to express interest, and allows CalVans to convert suggested routes to operating routes when sufficient demand existsCalVans  for non-agricultural workers are billed monthly.
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The Kings County Area Public Transit Authority Board originally decided to pursue vanpools only if they could achieve 100% recovery of operating and capital costsThe program has been financially self-sustaining from the day it began, according to Hughes. In contrast to some privately operated vanpool providers, the public Authority reports operations data to the [[National Transit Database]]This makes the authority's members eligible for federal formula funds.
  
==Funding==
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The ability to generate revenues in excess of expenses is not uncommon for publicly-sponsored vanpools in California.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has sponsored vanpools since 2007. During this time, the MTA has subsidized vanpools an average of $1.48 per passenger trip, but has received $6.88 per passenger trip in federal formula funds.<ref>[http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2011/02_February/20110224RBMItem8.pdf LACMTA "Metro Vanpool Program Funding." 2011]</ref>
The Kings County Area Public Transit Authority Board originally decided to pursue vanpools only if they could achieve 100% recovery of operating costs.  The program has been financially self-sustaining from the day it began, according to Hughes. In contrast to privately operated vanpool services, the Authority reports operations data to the National Transit Database, which increases formula funds available to Kings Area Rural Transit and agencies in other areas CalVans serves.  
 
  
 
===Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC)===
 
===Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC)===
Federal funds formulas for small urbanized areas have historically included demographic factors but not service characteristics.  SAFETEA-LU established section 5307 funding for for cities that offer high levels of transit service relative to their size <ref>[http://www.fta.dot.gov/7926.html Federal Transit Administration. "4. Small Transit Intensive Cities." n/d]</ref>.  The program has brought new operating funds to communities that CalVans serves, and have been key in the Authority's expansion. KART and other agencies have used these funds to expand vanpool service and to cover operating fund deficiencies for fixed route transit.
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Federal funds formulas for small urbanized areas have historically included demographic factors but not service characteristics.  SAFETEA-LU established Section 5307 funding for cities that offer high levels of transit service relative to their size <ref>[http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Table_6_FY_2014_STIC.pdf FY 2014 Small Transit Intensive Cities Performance Data and Apportionments] Federal Transit Administration. 2014.]</ref>.  The program has brought new operating funds to communities that CalVans serves, and have been key in the Authority's expansion. KCAPTA and other agencies have used these funds to expand vanpool service and to cover operating fund deficiencies for fixed route transit.
  
 
===Job Access / Reverse Commute (JARC)===
 
===Job Access / Reverse Commute (JARC)===
The has used 5316 funds to acquire vans.
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The Authority has used section 5316 funds to fund a portion of the AITS program and currently uses these funds to provide vouchers to new vanpool riders in select counties.  The JARC program [https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/grant-programs/job-access-and-reverse-commute-program-5316 expired] in 2016 with the FAST Act.
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===State and Local Transportation Funds===
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State funds that are in excess of what is available to meet local transit needs can be used to purchase new vans. This was enabled by Assembly Bill 276.
  
 
===Urbanized Area Formula Program===
 
===Urbanized Area Formula Program===
Calvans serves multiple Urbanized Areas (UZAs) in California.
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CalVans serves multiple Urbanized Areas (UZAs) in California. Calvans service can generate formula funds for member agencies which act as CalVans sponsors.
 +
 
 +
==Joint Powers Authority Members==
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As of January 2012, the following local government entities are members of the Joint Powers Authority:
 +
* Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments
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* Fresno Area Council of Governments
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* Kings County Association of Governments
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* Madera County Transportation Commission
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* Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency
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* Sacramento Area Council of Governments
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* Santa Barbara County Association of Governments
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* Tulare County Association of Governments
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* Ventura County Transportation Commission
  
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
Portions of the content appearing on this page are based on an interview between Juan Matute and Ron Hughes on September 9, 2011.
+
Portions of the content appearing on this page are based on an interview between Juan Matute and Ron Hughes on September 9, 2011 and an email exchange in March of 2012.
 +
 
 +
===References===
 +
<references />
  
 
===External Links===
 
===External Links===
 
[http://www.calvans.org/ CalVans web site]
 
[http://www.calvans.org/ CalVans web site]
 
===References===
 
<references />
 

Latest revision as of 20:06, 6 March 2018

A Caltrans van Source: California Vanpool Authority

Introduction

The California Vanpool Authority (also known as CalVans) is a Joint Powers Authority formed in 2012. The Authority evolved from a vanpool program established by Kings County in 2001. The Authority's vanpool services connect residents in areas with low population density with employment centers, operate at 100% cost recovery, and generate operating funds for fixed route transit and paratransit in the areas it serves.

History

The vanpool program was established in 2001 by Kings County Area Public Transit Agency (KCPTA)to fill a gap created when Caltrans ceased operating vanpools to state facilities. Beginning with a single van serving state correctional employees, it expanded to include agricultural workers in 2002. The agricultural vanpool project was established as a pilot program called AITS (Agricultural Industries Transportation Services) funded by in part by a JARC grant.

AITS sought to be a safer, low-cost alternative to private "raiteros" linking residences with agricultural jobs. According to Hughes, these agricultural workers travel an average of 85 miles per day. The AITS program was originally started after a 2002 accident with a private van killed 13 agricultural workers [1]. To keep cost of service low, the Authority transitions used vans to AITS participants. AITS vans are outfitted with rugged interior flooring, water coolers, and toolboxes for use in agricultural settings. The Authority bills for AITS services weekly as agricultural workers are paid weekly. AITS vans have been used to transport agricultural workers to seasonal jobs in the Imperial Valley, which increases the utilization rate of the vans and allows workers based elsewhere in the state to stay employed during the winter growing season.

By 2011, the CalVans program expanded to 18 counties, providing over 400 vans to agricultural and non-agricultural vanpools. The California Vanpool Authority Joint Powers Authority was formed in 2012 to allow multiple stakeholders to have oversight over the growing program.

Service model

The public Authority owns vans and manages the operation of Vanpools. This publicly-owned model contrasts with the private model offered by vRide, Enterprise Rideshare, and other companies that has been more common in California.

Individuals who wish to commute with their co-workers may apply to form a vanpool and be a driver. Drivers must meet certain conditions and agree to manage and operate the van in a non-profit manner. The Authority pays fuel and maintenance expenses.

Having a driver who is responsible for making payments, acquiring new passengers, and managing day-to-day operations reduces labor costs that might be incurred by a centrally-administered vanpool program. According to Hughes, the CalVans model allows it to accept the 30-40% applicants who would be declined by for-profit vanpool companies due to poor credit. Because of this, he sees the service as providing a lifeline to individuals who would not otherwise be able to access jobs. Additionally, Hughes said that a leasee who loses a job or is unable to maintain payments can return a van if needed because the van can be reassigned to other routes as the system continues to grow.

CalVans tracks demand for vanpools that is not currently being realized: requests for vanpools on routes and times that don't currently exist. Tracking these routes allows potential users to express interest, and allows CalVans to convert suggested routes to operating routes when sufficient demand exists. CalVans for non-agricultural workers are billed monthly. The capital cost of vans is amortized over 5 years, at which point the monthly rate charged for the vanpool decreases.

Funding

The Kings County Area Public Transit Authority Board originally decided to pursue vanpools only if they could achieve 100% recovery of operating and capital costs. The program has been financially self-sustaining from the day it began, according to Hughes. In contrast to some privately operated vanpool providers, the public Authority reports operations data to the National Transit Database. This makes the authority's members eligible for federal formula funds.

The ability to generate revenues in excess of expenses is not uncommon for publicly-sponsored vanpools in California. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has sponsored vanpools since 2007. During this time, the MTA has subsidized vanpools an average of $1.48 per passenger trip, but has received $6.88 per passenger trip in federal formula funds.[1]

Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC)

Federal funds formulas for small urbanized areas have historically included demographic factors but not service characteristics. SAFETEA-LU established Section 5307 funding for cities that offer high levels of transit service relative to their size [2]. The program has brought new operating funds to communities that CalVans serves, and have been key in the Authority's expansion. KCAPTA and other agencies have used these funds to expand vanpool service and to cover operating fund deficiencies for fixed route transit.

Job Access / Reverse Commute (JARC)

The Authority has used section 5316 funds to fund a portion of the AITS program and currently uses these funds to provide vouchers to new vanpool riders in select counties. The JARC program expired in 2016 with the FAST Act.

State and Local Transportation Funds

State funds that are in excess of what is available to meet local transit needs can be used to purchase new vans. This was enabled by Assembly Bill 276.

Urbanized Area Formula Program

CalVans serves multiple Urbanized Areas (UZAs) in California. Calvans service can generate formula funds for member agencies which act as CalVans sponsors.

Joint Powers Authority Members

As of January 2012, the following local government entities are members of the Joint Powers Authority:

  • Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments
  • Fresno Area Council of Governments
  • Kings County Association of Governments
  • Madera County Transportation Commission
  • Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency
  • Sacramento Area Council of Governments
  • Santa Barbara County Association of Governments
  • Tulare County Association of Governments
  • Ventura County Transportation Commission

Notes

Portions of the content appearing on this page are based on an interview between Juan Matute and Ron Hughes on September 9, 2011 and an email exchange in March of 2012.

References

External Links

CalVans web site