Management & Operations

How are agencies innovating to generate revenue, saving money?

Posted on May 20, 2019

What are you doing, or planning to do, at your agency that is innovative to generate revenue or save money?


Tina Quigley
Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas
The RTC is always looking at innovative ways to successfully generate revenue and save money. For example, we have generated nearly $130 million through grant funding, tax rebates, and fuel savings as we convert our fleet from diesel to compressed natural gas. We also generate millions in revenue through a competitive bus advertising program and saved 52 percent in paratransit operating costs through partnerships with Lyft and Tango.


Doug Kelsey
Portland, Oregon
One of our larger, long-term projects, which will simultaneously create new revenue, save money, and boost ridership, is expanding our Transit Oriented Development (TOD) goals. While TOD is not a new concept, we are looking to leverage our air-rights and adjacent real estate in aggressive new ways. We want to create accessible communities and encourage creative and sustainable development. We believe this will ultimately result in transit centers becoming community hubs, directly woven into our social fabric.


Clinton B. Forbes
Executive Director
Palm Tran
West Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Tran recently identified $5 million in savings by eliminating unproductive segments and routes that was reinvested into a new bus network system. Prior to September 2018, Palm Tran’s bus network had not been updated in 22 years. Many inefficiencies existed in the system, such as routes going into apartment complexes with very few passengers boarding at the stops. This was the motivation for the Route Performance Maximization project, or RPM, which created more direct routes. The 62,000 hours, or $5 million, saved was utilized to extend hours on several routes and increase the frequency of buses. On-time performance went from 72 percent to 79 percent.


Ed Benning
Flint Mass Transportation Authority
Flint, Michigan
The MTA has developed an innovative service model that is transforming public transportation in our community today. This model includes a variety of new on-demand special services that better address rides to medical appointments, groceries, and work-related expansion — all possible through extensive partnerships with local agencies and businesses. The MTA is building a sustainable future through the use of alternative fuels, partnerships, new technology, and an aggressive approach to providing the on-demand services needed today.

S. Donaghy
S. Donaghy

Shawn M. Donaghy
Vancouver, Washington
In recent years, C-TRAN has raised tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorship money to provide special services and expand our advertising reach without using agency funds. Sponsor contributions from local partners covered the entire cost of shuttles to special events and, most recently, system-wide free service and extended hours on New Year’s Eve in 2018 — a public health initiative we believe can save lives by reducing drunk driving. C-TRAN raised $15,000 from sponsors in 2018 and has secured $30,000 so far in 2019.

M. Donaghy
M. Donaghy

Mark Donaghy
Greater Dayton RTA
Dayton, Ohio
Transit systems can’t ‘bake sale’ their way to fiscal nirvana. That said, we should be constantly looking for additional resources. In Dayton, our list includes acting as the Greyhound Agent for our region, leasing space at our transit centers, courting sponsors for targeted services, and our experiment with TNCs in underserved areas to redirect the unproductive fixed-route service hours to a better purpose like our new Flyer circulator. A huge success.


Robbie Makinen
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Kansas City
KCATA is getting the fares off the bus by diversifying our funding streams to include non-traditional partnership subsidies. More than 85 percent of operator assaults are related to collecting $1.50 fare. The related claims, lost time, legal expenses, fare collection costs, and impacts on schedule adherence cancel out that $1.50 and more. I am convinced that the advantages of getting the fares off the bus far outweigh the tiny revenue generated by $1.50 fare and result in a safer, more efficient, and cost-effective service.


Erika Mazza
Mountain Line
Flagstaff, Arizona
Mountain Line is funding an on-demand pilot program to address areas that are marginally served or not served at all. We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in paratransit costs, but it’s coupled with a reduction in demand as many clients have moved to our taxi program or onto fixed route. We are looking at ways to utilize the space in the paratransit vehicles and provide a new level of service to underserved areas.

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