General Reimagine RTS FAQs

What is Reimagine RTS?

Reimagine RTS is a planning process that is exploring changes to the RTS transit system to better meet the changing needs of the region. This project focuses on transit service within Monroe County, NY, including Downtown Rochester and the surrounding suburbs.

 

Why is RTS doing this now?

The region’s economy and the needs of the community are changing. As a result, RTS is reimagining public transit in Monroe County to promote growth and better meet the mobility needs of the community.

The public transit system in Monroe County was designed decades ago when downtown Rochester was the center of our community from every perspective – economically, residentially and culturally. Since then, the demographics of our area have changed, the locations of employment centers have changed, and the number of available mobility options has changed. Demands from senior citizens, millennials, individuals with disabilities, and those working to escape poverty continue to grow. More businesses are locating to areas of our region that we do not serve well, if at all. With the emergence of new transportation options such as bike sharing, car sharing, ride sharing and vanpools, it is no longer the case that public transit and the personal automobile are the community’s only options to reach their destinations. This has created a new reality for public transit that we will not ignore.

 

Who is involved in Reimagine RTS?

During Stage 1 of Reimagine RTS, we ensured the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders. This included RTS customers and employees, business partners, community and neighborhood organizations, advocacy groups, elected officials, business owners, community members, potential future customers, and residents of Monroe County.

To assist with technical analysis and community engagement during Stage 1, RTS engaged the services of a consulting team comprised of Transportation Management & Design, Inc. (TMD) and Highland Planning.

 

What is the Reimagine RTS Timeline?

September 2017 – August 2018: Stage 1 – this involved getting a recommendation for the fixed-route transit system from our consultant Transportation Management & Design, Inc. COMPLETE

Fall 2018 – Late Winter 2019: Stage 2 – this will involve a study of the various transportation options that would work best in the Community Mobility Zones.

Spring 2019: Stage 3 – We will then determine solutions for Paratransit Service.

Summer 2019: Stage 4 – We will present the finalized transit plan for approval. We will also present the implementation plan.

Summer 2020: Stage 5 – We anticipate implementation of the reimagined public transit network.

 

What are Reimagine RTS’ Guiding Principles and Goals?

The guiding principles are the themes of the reimagined system and the goals detail what we want to accomplish to make the themes a reality. The five guiding principles and related goals are as follows:

Maximize Ridership
Goal: Increase the total number of boardings

Enhance the Customer Experience
Goal: Decrease customer wait time
Goal: Decrease customer travel time

Ensure System Sustainability
Goal: Decrease the net cost per customer

Expand Public Transit to Include More Mobility Options
Goal: Increase the diversity of services available to customers

Coordinate with Community Initiatives
Goal: Encourage community development around the frequent transit network

 

How were the Guiding Principles and Goals developed and why are they important?

The guiding principles and goals are based on analysis of data and public input provided during phase one. They are important for two reasons. First, because we want to ensure changes to the transit system include significant input from the community. Second, because any proposed changes to the transit system will be linked directly to the guiding principles and goals. The guiding principles and goals are the part of the process that link community input to the changes that will be made to the transit system.

 

Will my bus route change as a result of Reimagine RTS?

Many routes will be improved and some routes will be replaced by something other than the standard 40- and 60-foot buses in areas known as Community Mobility Zones. We have just finished Stage 1 of Reimagine RTS, which produced our consultant’s recommendation for fixed-route service in Monroe County. During Stage 2, which will begin this fall, we will study the various transportation options that will work best in the Community Mobility Zones. The complete and final improvements to the transit system will be proposed for approval in the summer of 2019.

 

If the recommended transit system is what RTS implements, what impact will that have on the paratransit service area and supplemental area?

RTS is not able to answer that question at this time. Complementary paratransit service will be provided as required by the ADA. RTS has a history of providing service levels beyond what the ADA requires. Our goal for paratransit service is to continue to provide service levels beyond what is required. We plan to determine the solutions for Paratransit Service in the Spring of 2019, during Stage 3 of Reimagine RTS.

 

Is Reimagine RTS just an excuse to cut routes, eliminate staff and save money?

No. The purpose of Reimagine RTS is to study what the community needs from a public transit system that faces a new reality. Rapidly changing demands, new technologies, and the emergence of more transportation options have created this new reality. Reimagine RTS is how we will ensure RTS is able to provide public transit that is safe, reliable, convenient and relevant for many years to come.

 

If different transportation options are incorporated into the system, would RTS subsidize those options?

The financial model used for different transportation options would depend on whether RTS expands the products we offer or partners with private companies to provide those options. This is something RTS is exploring as part of Stage 2 of Reimagine RTS.

 

If routes will be discontinued in the new system, what criteria will be used to make those decisions?

Decisions about the new system and its routes will be made after the completion of the Reimagine RTS study. If the new system does include the discontinuation or combination of routes there are a number of factors that would go into those decisions. These include ridership, the per-customer subsidy cost, and whether or not the customers on that route would be better served by other routes or transportation options. Stage 2 of Reimagine RTS is studying potential solutions for customers in these areas.

 

Reimagine RTS Fixed-Route Transit FAQs

 

How did you decide that this is what the new transit system in Monroe County should look like?

RTS has not yet made a decision on what the new transit system in Monroe County should look like. We just completed Stage 1, which ended with a recommendation from TMD for the fixed-route component of the transit system. We still have two stages to complete before presenting our final plan for approval in the summer of 2019. 

 

How was TMD’s recommendation developed?

TMD’s completed report and recommendation is the result of a four phase, year-long study – Stage 1 of Reimagine RTS. During Phase 1, we gathered input and set goals. During Phase 2, we analyzed data and developed the guiding principles for the reimagined system. During Phase 3, we shared the draft of TMD’s recommendation to get feedback from the community. During Phase 4, we released TMD’s completed report and recommendation. We conducted outreach to the community throughout Stage 1 to ensure customers, employees and stakeholders were involved, and that their priorities were represented in TMD’s recommendation.

 

How will the new system affect transfer time at the RTS Transit Center?

If we implement a new system that is similar to what TMD recommends, customers will not have to wait as long to transfer, especially if transferring to routes that are part of a frequent network.

 

What is a Short Line?

A short line is part of a route in the fixed-route transit plan that is part of the frequent network of routes. The short line makes trips that only cover a designated portion of a route that is completed by the Long Line portion. Short lines are used to provide increased frequency on higher-demand segments of a route, for example, on the 1 Lake between the RTS Transit Center and Eastman Business Park.

 

What is a Long Line?

A long line is part of the fixed-route transit plan. The long line makes trips that cover the entire portion of a route. For example, the 1 Lake runs from the RTS Transit Center all the way to Charlotte Beach.

 

What are Crosstown routes?

Crosstown routes are also part of the fixed-route transit plan, and connect communities without traveling downtown. These routes do not serve the RTS Transit Center but connect with many routes that do.

 

If the recommended transit system is implemented, what impact will that have on the service provided to RTS’ business partners?

RTS partners with multiple organizations to provide safe, reliable, affordable transportation to the organizations’ employees, students, patients, and customers. It is too early in the process to know what impact the new system will have on individual business partners. They are invited to participate in the Reimagine RTS process to learn about potential changes and provide feedback on what would work best for them. Stage 2 of Reimagine RTS will involve identifying transportation options that would work for them besides a 40-foot bus.

 

How would a transit system like the one proposed by TMD influence connections with surrounding counties?

We do not yet know how the reimagined transit system would influence connections with surrounding counties. The implementation of connection hubs and efforts related to Community Mobility Zones have the potential to improve connectivity in Monroe County and between Monroe and surrounding counties.

 

Why doesn’t TMD’s recommendation utilize a grid-based design?

The draft plan recommends that the public transit system move from what has historically been a radial network where everything comes downtown, to one that reorients the network toward a grid, with the introduction of two new crosstown routes. The current street network and natural barriers like the Genesee River limit our ability to implement a true grid system.
The proposed network respects current travel patterns while creating new opportunities for faster trips using new transfers available in the radial/crosstown connections.

 

 

Reimagine RTS Community Mobility Zone FAQs

What is a Community Mobility Zone?

Community Mobility Zones are areas in the community where RTS is exploring more cost-effective mobility solutions to meet the transportation needs of the people in those specific areas.

How was IBI’s recommendation developed?

What the people in the CMZs are now reviewing represents the draft of what IBI will recommend as the mobility solutions for each zone. In addition to input from stakeholders in each zone, IBI utilized the recommendation RTS received from TMD in Stage 1, including all the data and community input specific to the areas of the community that fall within the CMZs. They also tapped into their extensive experience and knowledge of new technologies and mobility options to develop their recommendation for Stage 2.

 

What is RTS On Demand?

RTS On Demand (also known as flexible microtransit) is a transit option in which an ADA-accessible small bus or van provides on-demand service within CMZ boundaries, when requested by a customer. Customers will be able to request a ride through an RTS app or by calling RTS.

 

What is RTS Flex Route Service? 

RTS Flex Route Service (also known as deviated route microtransit) is a transit option in which an ADA-accessible small bus or van runs on a fixed route within CMZ boundaries, and will deviate to destinations within ¾ mile of the route. Customers can catch a ride at designated bus stops along the fixed route. Customers who need the bus to deviate off route, up to ¾ mile, to pick them up or drop them off will be able to request a route deviated ride through an RTS app or by calling RTS.

 

What is Personal Mobility on Demand (PMoD)?

Personal Mobility on Demand (PMoD) is a transit option provided by a third party where on-demand, curb to curb transportation for individuals or small groups is provided within a CMZ. Customers will be able to request a route deviated ride through an RTS app or by calling RTS.

 

What is a Vanpool?

A Vanpool is a transit option in which several individuals commute together to and from similar geographic locations in a van or SUV. Vanpool commuters share driving responsibilities, rotating daily or weekly. RTS currently offers vanpooling through its partner, Enterprise Rideshare. More information can be found at myRTS.com/vanpool.

 

What is a Connection Hub?

A Connection Hub is a designated point in the transit system where customers may transfer between multiple RTS routes or make the connection between the RTS fixed route system and other modes of transportation in order to get to their final destinations. Some of these other modes may include vanpools, microtransit, PMoD, bike shares, etc.

 

How much will the CMZ transit options cost?

Specific pricing details for the transit options have not yet been determined. Our goal is to make the CMZ transit options as affordable as possible for as many people as possible.

 

Why aren’t 40-foot buses going to run in CMZs?

Because 40-foot buses are too big and too expensive for the number of people who ride in these areas. Providing service differently in these areas with smaller vehicles is more cost effective and offers more flexibility and reliability.

 

If different transportation options are incorporated into the system, would RTS subsidize those options?

RTS is still in the process of exploring the best financial model and fares for mobility options provided in the CMZs.

If routes will be discontinued in the new system, what criteria will be used to make those decisions?
The final recommendation for the reimagined transit system will be made in the summer of 2019. If the new system includes the discontinuation or combination of routes there are a number of factors that would go into those decisions. These include ridership, the per-customer subsidy cost, and whether or not the customers on that route would be better served by other routes or transportation options. Stage 2 of Reimagine RTS is studying potential solutions for customers in the CMZs that could also be implemented in other areas of the system in the future.

 

Do you have additional questions?

Please contact us.