Management & Operations

Transit workshop touts revenue boosters, cost reducers

Posted on September 27, 2005

Transit systems should take advantage of new revenue streams and cost savings ideas to head off funding challenges, according to APTA workshop panelists. The Tuesday workshop session entitled, "Getting Down to Business: Creative Funding with Your Own Resources", featured a panel discussion by Joel Volinski (director, National Center for Transit Research), Paul P. Skoutelas (senior vice president with PB Consult Inc.) and Dr. Steven Polzin (vice chair, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority). A workshop highlight included the presentation by Volinski, who discussed results of a survey of 100 transit systems across the U.S., and their various efficiency practices. Some practices included ways transit systems generate additional revenue from equipment by selling naming rights to vehicles, becoming warranty centers for vehicle repairs and cleaning other vehicles with bus wash equipment. A transit agency's passengers can also be looked at as revenue generating assets, said Volinski. "Companies can pay for the right to access your passengers. They are a targeted market," he said. Installing video monitors with advertising is an example of this tactic. During his presentation, Skoutelas, former President/CEO of Pittsburgh's Port Authority of Allegheny County, discussed the various methods used to save the agency $211 million over the past eight years, which included the imposition of hiring, wage and salary freezes for all employee groups. Capping off the session, Polzin discussed the pros and cons of creative revenue streams and illustrated industry growth trends over a 12-year period.

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