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Overview of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority

This section describes the makeup and responsibility of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.

Table of Contents

Regional Transit Authorities

Chapter 161B of the Massachusetts General Laws established regional transit authorities (RTAs) to provide a public transportation system under the control of municipalities. Each RTA supports a number of communities (member communities) and is governed by an advisory board composed of the chief elected officials from those communities. Chapter 161B of the General Laws gives the Commonwealth certain oversight responsibilities, and it defines the process by which RTAs may be formed or expanded within the Commonwealth, as well as the duties, powers, and limitations of these RTAs. This law also outlines the membership of RTA advisory boards and their authority to appoint administrators, approve budgets, and approve significant changes in service fares. Currently, there is a network of 15 RTAs (12 urban and 3 rural) operating in the Commonwealth, in addition to the transit services provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). These RTAs serve a total of 262 cities, suburban municipalities, and rural communities outside the greater Boston area and provide transportation via buses and minibuses operated by private transit service companies. RTAs, which are locally controlled, manage their own operations but must hire private operating companies to provide their services in accordance with Chapter 161B of the General Laws.

Section 53 of Chapter 6C of the General Laws makes the Rail and Transit Division (RTD) of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation “responsible for overseeing, coordinating and planning all transit and rail matters throughout the commonwealth,” including intercity buses, the MBTA, and RTAs. RTD carries out its responsibility of providing and managing financial assistance for RTAs through its Community Transit Program Unit, which oversees the federal, state, and local programs that financially support RTAs. State appropriations for the 15 RTAs increased from approximately $70 million in fiscal year 2014 to approximately $80 million in fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) was established on October 13, 1976 and reports to RTD under Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2009, “An Act Modernizing the Transportation Systems of the Commonwealth.” According to its website, CCRTA’s mission is “to provide excellent customer service through efficient, reliable, safe, and affordable transit options to all of our customers and communities.” An administrator is responsible for day-to-day administration of the agency, which had 14 full-time and 2 part-time staff members during our audit period. CCRTA’s operations are overseen by an advisory board made up of one member from each of the 15 communities1 the agency serves and a disabled-commuter representative. The advisory board is responsible for hiring an administrator, setting fares, establishing service levels, and authorizing real-estate purchases. During our audit period, CCRTA contracted with Eastern MA Transit Company, a subsidiary of MV Transportation, Inc., to provide fixed-route and demand-response2 transportation services, including maintenance and administrative functions.

During our audit period, CCRTA’s capital contributions were $3,611,836 for fiscal year 2016 and $3,279,273 for fiscal year 2017.

In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, CCRTA received revenue from a variety of sources, including fares from riders and assistance from various federal, state, and local sources. The largest source of funding is brokerage service3 income, followed by Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants, state contract assistance,4 local assessment5 payments, and farebox revenue. The table below shows the types of funding CCRTA received during the audit period.

CCRTA Operating Funding Sources

Type of Funding

Fiscal Year 2016

Fiscal Year 2017

Farebox Revenue

$  1,528,117

$      1,438,920

Brokerage Service Income

  10,744,036

     11,178,494

Federal Grants

    4,908,061

  6,716,948

State Contract Assistance

    4,394,256

  4,440,656

Local Assessments

    1,823,151

  1,868,730

Parking

       246,852

     232,308

Other Funds*

       138,880

       87,446

Total

$ 23,783,353

$ 25,963,502

*     Other funds include shuttle fares and reimbursements.

 

During our audit period, CCRTA’s operating costs were as follows.

CCRTA Operating Expenses

Type of Expense

Fiscal Year 2016

Fiscal Year 2017

Transit Service

$ 19,237,506

$ 20,107,803

Maintenance

     3,388,513

     3,908,723

Other Operating Expenses

     1,271,180

     1,708,738

Total

$ 23,897,199

$ 25,725,264

Vehicle Fleet and Service Route Area

CCRTA operates local fixed-route and demand-response services within the 394-square-mile Cape Cod area, serving a population of more than 200,000. It operates a network of seven local transit routes, six commuter routes, and three supplemental seasonal trolley routes. The local fixed-route service operates six days a week; weekday service runs from as early as 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday service runs from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The supplemental seasonal trolley routes operate seven days a week in the summer, from as early as 7:00 a.m. to 10:35 p.m.

Minibuses provide transit services to the vast majority of CCRTA’s passengers, and its vanpool provides paratransit services. The table below shows the number of revenue-producing and non-revenue-producing vehicles6 used at CCRTA during fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Number of CCRTA Vehicles

Vehicle Type

Fiscal Year 2016

Fiscal Year 2017

Revenue-Producing

84

96

Non-Revenue-Producing

7

10

Total

91

106

 

Vehicle Maintenance

CCRTA operates its administrative office and a maintenance facility in an approximately
19,435-square-foot building in South Dennis. At the end of our audit period, CCRTA had a total of 106 vehicles in its fleet. The table below shows the types and average ages of the vehicles in CCRTA’s fleet during the audit period.

CCRTA Vehicle Fleet Average Age

Make and Model

Vehicle Type

Vehicle Count

Average Age (Years)

Gillig Standard Low Floor

Bus

26

9

Ford E450

Minibus

57

2

Ford F550/F350

Truck

3

4

Ford/GMC Van

Van

5

7

Ford E350

Minibus

13

7

John Deere Forklift

Mobile Equipment

2

5

 

The table below shows CCRTA’s maintenance expenses for the audit period.

CCRTA Maintenance Expenses

Expenses

Fiscal Year 2016

Fiscal Year 2017

Salaries

$  1,871,774

$ 1,894,017

Parts and Equipment

       504,772

      603,638

Contract Maintenance and Management Fees

       566,812

      730,291

Insurance

       349,031

      443,735

Other Maintenance

         96,124

      237,042

Total

$  3,388,513

$ 3,908,723

 

Below are the actual mileage and maintenance costs per vehicle for fiscal year 2017.

CCRTA Vehicle Mileage and Maintenance Expenses

Make and Model

Vehicle Count

Total Mileage

Labor Cost

Parts Cost

Total Maintenance Cost

Average Maintenance Cost per Vehicle

Gillig Standard Low Floor

26

1,241,672

$430,215

$433,922

$864,137

$33,236

Ford E450

57

1,626,644

307,759

85,159

392,918

$6,893

Ford F550/F350

3

3,878

5,765

2,240

8,006

$2,669

Ford/GMC Van

5

52,730

8,725

2,443

11,168

$2,234

Ford E350

13

62,064

7,645

6,032

13,678

$1,052

John Deere Forklift

2

N/A

1,144

114

1,258

$629

Total

106

2,986,988

$761,253

$529,910

$1,291,165

 

FTA requires all RTAs to report to it any information related to their transit vehicle inventories or maintenance and repairs that they conduct. This information is included in FTA’s National Transit Database. At the time of our audit, CCRTA was using fleet management software called Ez Bus to document all of its vehicle asset and expense information and report it to FTA.

CCRTA Community Programs

CCRTA created a Youth Educational Program to educate students in the Cape Cod community on all of the public transportation options available throughout Cape Cod. CCRTA also owns and operates the Hyannis Transportation Center, a hub of intermodal transportation that provides coordinated and efficient transportation in Cape Cod’s surrounding communities. During weather-related emergencies (e.g., snowstorms or hurricanes), CCRTA provides emergency transportation to and from shelters for people in need. CCRTA has recently initiated a collaborative effort with Cape Cod Healthcare, the area’s largest employer, to help schedule transportation for Medicaid-eligible patients, offer discounted transportation to low-income hospital employees, and alleviate parking congestion by shuttling hospital employees from remote parking lots.

1. The communities are Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth.

2. Demand-response transportation services are those that run on a flexible schedule and on flexible routes based on the needs of RTA passengers with special needs.

3. Brokerage services are contracted transportation for eligible residents who receive services through certain human-service agencies.

4. Under Section 23 of Chapter 161B of the General Laws, the Commonwealth, through the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, can contract with an RTA to fund 50% of the net cost of the service the RTA provides. Known as state contract assistance, this funding is provided through the Commonwealth Transportation Fund and the Massachusetts Transportation Trust Fund.

5. Under Section 9 of Chapter 161B of the General Laws, annual local assessment payments are adjusted based on the “loss” (operating cost minus revenue) for each specific transit route and the activity and the share of that loss attributable to each town or city.

6. Non-revenue-producing vehicles are light-duty vehicles for temporary use by CCRTA employees for agency-related business.

Date published: July 2, 2018
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