This item was passed by the Finance-Auditing Committee/Committee of the Whole Meeting on December 18, 2003 and by the Board of Directress at their meeting on December 19, 2003

 

 

 

Agenda Item No. 5

 

To:                   Finance-Auditing Committee/Committee of the Whole

                          Meeting of December 18, 2003

 

From:               Alan Zahradnik, Planning Director

                          Celia Kupersmith, General Manager

 

Subject:            AUTHORIZE THE SETTING OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO ESTABLISH SPECIAL EVENT BUS AND FERRY SERVICE FARES FOR 2004

 

Recommendation

 

The Finance-Auditing Committee recommends the Board of Directors approve setting a Public Hearing on Thursday, January, 22, 2004, at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Room preceding the Building and Operating Committee and Finance-Auditing Committee meetings, for the purpose of receiving public comment relative to the proposed increase in Special Event ferry fares to Pacific Bell/SBC Park and bus fares to Candlestick Park as follows:

 

 

2003

Special Event

Round Trip Fares

2004 Proposed

Special Event

Round Trip Fares

Larkspur- Pacific Bell/SBC Park (ferry)

$11.20

$13.00

Larkspur-Candlestick (bus)

$13.00

$16.00

Santa Rosa-Candlestick (bus)

$16.00

$20.00

Sonoma-Candlestick (bus)

$17.00

$22.00

 

This matter will be presented to the Board of Directors at its meeting of December 19, 2003, for appropriate action.

 

Summary

 

This report is the first effort responding to the Board of Directors direction to staff to develop a comprehensive Transit Fare Program for existing services.

 

The need to address transit fares for Special Event bus and ferry services is presented in this report since the S.F. Giants baseball season will begin in late March at Pacific Bell Park (to be officially renamed SBC Park on January 1, 2004). Special Event bus fares to Candlestick Park are also presented to facilitate a comprehensive discussion of the Districts Special Event transit fares.


FARE POLICY

 

The Districts Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP) describes transit goals, objectives, measures, and standards:

 

*       To ensure mobility across the Golden Gate Bridge,

*       To contribute to the protection of the environment, and

*       To provide cost-efficient transit services insofar as resources permit.

 

To achieve this last goal, the SRTP specifically states an objective to maintain transit fares at levels so that users make a reasonable financial contribution to meeting the operating costs of the service and at least 33 percent of operating expenses should be covered by operating revenue. This is a system-wide fare policy. Specific to special event service fares, District policy has been to set fares to cover direct operating costs of these discretionary, special services.

 

The following review of the Districts current fare structure for Special Event ferry and bus services has been prepared in response to these financial objectives.

 

EXISTING SPECIAL EVENT FERRY FARE STRUCTURE

 

By Resolution No. 2002-022, the Board of Directors approved adopting the same Larkspur-San Francisco ferry weekend fare structure for Special Event Larkspur-Pacific Bell/SBC Park ferry service.

 

The Districts Master Ordinance 2003 establishes fares for Larkspur-San Francisco service (for the Bay-to-Breakers race in May) at the full adult fare, including employees, with no discounts available except for seniors and disabled persons. Children under the age of 5 will be carried at no charge if accompanied by an adult paying full fare, with a maximum number of two children per adult.

 

The Districts Master Ordinance 2003 also establishes fares for Larkspur-Pacific Bell/SBC Park for baseball games and other special events at this location to be set at levels that cover the total cost of service, and calls for the fare to be updated as needed by the Board of Directors.

 

Given the Districts Master Ordinance 2003 policy and since the Bay-to-Breakers race occurs on a weekend, all special event ferry fares are currently equal to weekend fares for regularly scheduled Larkspur - San Francisco service: $5.60 one-way adult fare.

 

EXISTING SPECIAL EVENT BUS FARE STRUCTURE

 

In April 2002, the Board of Directors approved adopting Special Event bus fares to Candlestick Park from Larkspur, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma. Special Event bus service fares and service to U.C. Stadium in Berkeley, Oakland Coliseum, Cow Palace, Concord Pavilion, and Stanford Stadium were eliminated due to the lack of service to these locations with the understanding that special event service would be brought before the Board of Directors on a case-by-case basis.

 

The Districts Master Ordinance 2003 sets fares for the Districts three Special Event bus routes to Candlestick. Special Event bus fares are based on covering estimated costs of operating the service with a minimum of 35 passengers per bus. Special event bus fares are currently greater than regular Golden Gate Transit cash fares from Santa Rosa or Larkspur to San Francisco.

 

COST TO OPERATE SPECIAL EVENT SERVICE

 

The Districts Bus Division, Ferry Division, Planning Department, and the Auditor-Controllers office determined the direct cost of ferry service to Pacific Bell/SBC Park and bus service to Candlestick Park. Indirect costs, such as administrative overhead, are not included in this calculation.

 

Operating cost estimates include allowances for labor, fuel, docking fees, ticket vendor commissions, maintenance, and the total number of crossings during the baseball season. Passenger estimates are based on number of tickets sold during previous baseball seasons. District staff estimates Pacific Bell/SBC Park ferry service to cost $6.30/passenger per one-way trip (or $12.60/passenger per round trip).

 

Similarly, operating costs for Candlestick bus service include allowances for labor (bus operations, bus supervision, and direct administration), fuel costs, and stadium parking fees. Passenger estimates are based on number of tickets sold during previous football seasons. District staff estimates Candlestick bus service to cost $15.50/passenger for a Larkspur-Candlestick round trip, $19.50/passenger for a Santa Rosa-Candlestick round trip, and $21.50/passenger for a Sonoma-Candlestick round trip.

 

To date, District has priced Special Event services to cover direct operating costs. In keeping with the goal to recover operating costs, the following table shows how 2004 operating costs per passenger will exceed 2003 fares, and presents proposed fares, rounded up to the nearest dollar, to cover 2004 costs for Special Event services.

 

 

2003

Special Event

Round Trip Fares

2004

Operating Costs of Special Event Service

Potential 2004

Special Event

Round Trip Fares

Larkspur-Pacific Bell/SBC Park (ferry)

$11.20

$12.60

$13.00

Larkspur-Candlestick (bus)

$13.00

$15.50

$16.00

Santa Rosa-Candlestick (bus)

$16.00

$19.50

$20.00

Sonoma-Candlestick (bus)

$17.00

$21.50

$22.00

 

Conclusion

 

Staff is recommending that 2004 Special Event fares be set at the proposed levels, sufficient to cover operating costs or services. However, staff also recommends that in the context of the Districts Strategic Financial Plan and staff development of a Comprehensive Fare Program, further consideration be given to setting fares at higher than breakeven levels in the future with discounts for family travel.

 

 

 

Fiscal Impact

 

The policy and intent of the Districts Special Event services is to set fares at a breakeven level. Based on this premise, it is estimated that costs in 2004 will increase and provide justification to raise fares. It is estimated that approval of the fares at the breakeven level will generate $225,000 in additional revenue beyond what was budgeted, sufficient to fully cover service operating costs in 2004.

 

Background

 

DISTRICTS STRATEGIC PLAN TO ACHIEVE FINANCIAL STABILITY

 

Given the Districts Strategic Plan to Achieve Long-Term Financial Stability and the need to generate revenue to help sustain regularly scheduled transit services, staff considered the potential of establishing new Special Event fares not solely from the perspective to operate the service but also in terms of the value provided and costs associated with alternative modes of travel to Pacific Bell/SBC Park or Candlestick Park.

 

District staff compared fares for Special Event services (non-stop, no transfers required, very little walking, guaranteed boarding, no standees, transit schedules coordinated with stadium events) with fares for regularly scheduled transit services (multi-stop, local, transfers may be required, additional walking may be required, no guaranteed seating, schedules not coordinated with stadium events) to and from Pacific Bell/SBC Park or Candlestick Park.

 

The following table shows that although Special Event service affords a higher level of service compared to regularly scheduled transit service, most Special Event fares are either comparable or cost less than adult cash fares.

 

 

2003

Special Event Round Trip Fares

2003

Regularly Scheduled

Round Trip

Fares a

Comparison of Special Event Fare with Regular Adult Fare

Larkspur - Pacific Bell/SBC Park (ferry)

$11.20

$11.20 1

Same fare

Larkspur - Candlestick (bus)

$13.00

$9.30-$12.80 2

1.5 to 40% higher

Santa Rosa - Candlestick (bus)

$16.00

$15.70-$19.20 3

2% higher or

20% lower

Sonoma - Candlestick (bus)

$17.00

$20.20-$23.70 4

19 to 40% lower

NOTES

(a) Range provided for Candlestick Park fares since MUNI offers regular scheduled or express bus service with varying fares

(1)  Regular GG Ferry with MUNI transfer (free) or walk

(2)  Regular GGT bus with MUNI transfer (addl fare required)

(3)  Regular GGT bus with MUNI transfer (addl fare required)

(4)  Regular Sonoma Co. Transit bus with transfer to GGT bus and MUNI bus (addl fares required)

 

Staff also compared Special Event transit fares with costs associated with driving to and from Pacific Bell/SBC Park or Candlestick Park. The following table demonstrates how special event transit service is extremely competitive with those who choose to drive to Candlestick alone and competitive for carpools. Ferry service to Pacific Bell/SBC Park can be relatively expensive for family travel.

 


2003 Special Event Round Trip Fares

Estimated

Per Person Driving Costs:

1 person

Estimated

Per Person Driving Costs:

2 people

Estimated

Per Person Driving Costs:

3 people

Larkspur - Pacific Bell/SBC Park (ferry)

$11.20

$20.75

$10.38

$6.92

Larkspur - Candlestick (bus)

$13.00

$37.91

$18.95

$12.64

Santa Rosa - Candlestick (bus)

$16.00

$49.43

$24.72

$16.48

Sonoma - Candlestick (bus)

$17.00

$51.98

$25.99

$17.33

NOTES

Driving costs include: Golden Gate Bridge Toll, parking fees at stadium, driving costs per mile, and round trip mileage.

Bridge Toll = $5

Pacific Bell/SBC Parking = $12 assumed

Candlestick Parking = $25

Driving costs = $0.134/mile (fuel only)

 

 

Finally, District staff compared Special Event fares with regular transit fares for various transit operators in the Bay Area. This table suggests Special Event fares vary greatly by operator and by destination served. Consistently, however, it is worth noting that Special Event fares for Pacific Bell/SBC Park service is the same as regular scheduled transit whereas Special Event fares for Candlestick Park are higher than for regular transit service.

 

Transit Provider

Location

Served

Comparison of Special Event Fare with Regular Adult Fare

Golden Gate Ferry

Pacific Bell/SBC Park

Same fare

Vallejo Baylink Ferry

Pacific Bell/SBC Park

Same fare

Alameda/Oakland Ferry

Pacific Bell/SBC Park

Same fare

Caltrain

Pacific Bell/SBC Park

Same fare

SF MUNI

Pacific Bell/SBC Park

Same fare

Golden Gate Transit

Candlestick

40% lower 40% higher

SamTrans

Candlestick

240% 480% higher

VTA

Candlestick

232% higher

TriDelta Transit

Candlestick

8% lower

SF MUNI

Candlestick

240% higher

 

Amtrak

Oakland Coliseum

26% 47% higher

AC Transit

Golden Gate Fields

67% higher

AC Transit

UC Berkeley

Same fare

Caltrain

Bay Meadows

Same fare

Caltrain

Stanford Stadium

Same fare

Caltrain

HP Pavilion

Same fare

CCCTA

Concord Pavilion

Free service

CCCTA

UC Berkeley

46% higher

CCCTA

Stanford Stadium

18% higher

Golden Gate Transit

Marin Co. Fairgrounds

Same fare

LAVTA

Alameda Fairgrounds

60% lower

SamTrans

Año Nuevo State Reserve

480% higher

VTA

HP Pavilion

Free service