There’s no getting around that persuading people to take transit to work can be a challenge, especially in a place as sprawling and car-centric as Los Angeles County where free parking at work is often the norm.
But there’s some good news on this front. As the above staff report to the Metro Board explains, the agency’s Employer Annual Pass Program continues to perform well. Ninety one percent of firms that bought transit passes for their employees last year renewed for 2017. And the program has enjoyed 38 percent annual growth since it began in 2003.
About 550 firms in Los Angeles County participate in the program covering about 20,000 employees. In the 2016 fiscal year, the program brought in $6.37 million and managed to turn a profit of more than $4 million.
Some background: Metro has two employer pass programs. The ATAP program allows employers to buy annual non-discounted passes for individual employees. The BTAP program allows employers to buy annual passes for all employees at a heavily discounted group rate ranging from $11 a month to $23 a month, depending on the level of Metro service near the employer.
That’s an amazing deal, considering a Metro 30-day pass costs $100. It’s a good way for employers to provide a nice benefit to employees who don’t drive or don’t want to drive to work. The program is a win for Metro because it introduces employees to the system and boosts ridership.
In that sense, there are similarities to Metro’s U-Pass program, which is designed to make it cheap and easy for college students to get a Metro pass. How it works: colleges buy passes from Metro (the price is adjusted to reflect actual student boardings at the end of each term) and then sell them to students when they register for classes each quarter or semester. The schools can decide how much of the cost to subsidize. And students are saved the hassle of applying for a Metro pass, which can take weeks. Instead, an electronic sticker is put on their student ID allowing to be used as a TAP card. Easy peasy.
Thus far, eight colleges are using the U-Pass program (with Pierce College on deck to become the ninth) and more than 8,000 students. The sticker idea will soon be used as part of the Employer Pass program because it just makes everything easier.
My two cents: it’s great to see that the Employer Annual Pass Program growing. And the program can probably do even better as there are certainly more than 550 firms in all of Los Angeles County! I think this effort is especially important given that no transit agency can afford to overlook potential riders, and Metro is going to have a lot more potential riders as the system expands in the coming years.
To find out how you can partner with Metro and become an ATAP or BTAP client, please click here: //metrola.wufoo.com/forms/m1cx0f9p1ixow34/ or call 213.922.7983 and a Metro annual transit pass expert will gladly assist you.
Any Source readers have a pass purchased by your employer? Your thoughts?