May 31, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Westport Transit District Directors’ Meeting Minutes

 

May 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM – Westport Town Hall, Room 201

 

Attending

Westport Transit District (WTD) Directors:

            Patsy Cimarosa

            Martin Fox

 

Norwalk Transit District (NTD) Staff:

            Kimberlee Morton, CEO

            Steve Burka, CFAO

           

Public:

            Peter Gold (Chairman of RTM Transit Committee)

 

The meeting was called to order at 10:04 AM. 

Public Comment

Members of the public who wished to address the Directors were asked to do so.       Mr. Gold shared with the Directors potential future developments regarding the availability of parking spaces for commuters at the two Westport train stations, including:

Ø  Ferry Lane West (Saugatuck station) – The Town of Westport is considering converting some existing parking spaces to commuter use.

Ø  The addition of 40-50 spaces at Greens Farms is being considered for the future.

Ø  Lot 5 (59 spaces at Saugatuck station) will be closed during the summer.  There is expected to be little impact on parking availability for commuters given the lower summer activity.

Mr. Fox added that the RR parking waiting list is down 27% from last fiscal year-end due primarily to a 9% increase in the number of spaces available at the train stations. 

Approval of Minutes of March 28, 2017 meeting

The minutes of the March 28, 2017 meeting of the Directors were approved as presented. 

FY17 YTD Ridership

Mr. Fox reviewed the monthly ridership report prepared by Mr. Liotta.  He noted the continuing shuttle ridership decline.  Ridership was down about 20% in the month of April 2017, when adjusted for the one fewer day in April 2017 vs. April 2016.   He noted that the addition of parking spaces at the train stations and the associated increase in parking permits issued has had a significant negative impact on ridership.

Ridership on the G2 and S4 routes remains a concern.   While ridership levels on all routes have been impacted by the number of new RR parking permits issued during the current fiscal year, the S4 and Imperial Avenue shuttle have been most heavily affected.

Mr. Fox then reviewed Door-to-Door ridership, which has been lower than expected during the current fiscal year.  Overall, Door-to-Door ridership is down 12.6%, year to date through April.  Mr. Fox noted again that the Door-to-Door ridership varies significantly over time because the majority of trips are taken by a small number of riders. 

FY17 Budget Update

Mr. Fox commented that the latest WTD FY17 financial forecast indicated that little, if any, of the $87,500 Westport special appropriation would be needed for the current fiscal year.  Mr. Fox indicated he would initiate a request for carryover of unused funds from the Town into the new fiscal year. 

FY 2018 proposed budget

 

Mr. Fox stated he and Ms. Cimarosa met with the RTM Transit Committee on April 19th to discuss the WTD’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget, which had previously been approved by the Westport Board of Finance.  On May 1, 2017, the full Westport RTM approved the Town’s $371,000 contribution to the WTD budget, which was the last step of the FY 2018 budgetary process. 

 

 

Connecticut Funding Update

 

Ms. Morton stated that CT DOT has not provided guidance regarding funding for the FY 2018 budget.  Ms. Morton then gave an update on the Municipal Grant program and indicated that the required information and certifications would be submitted by NTD on behalf of Norwalk and Westport by the required June 2nd deadline.

Marketing

 

Mr. Fox stated that there haven’t been any significant proactive marketing activities for the commuter shuttles for a significant period of time.  He noted that, as a first step, the WTD recently developed a WTD page for the biennial Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Guide and Membership Directory. 

 

Mr. Fox reported that he had interviewed a number of experienced marketing professionals about assisting the WTD with a new marketing campaign to increase awareness of the shuttles and highlight the benefits of taking them.  He noted that after these discussions, he and Ms. Cimarosa decided to work with Rob Feakins, an award-winning advertising executive who has developed a number of successful advertising campaigns for well-known companies over his career.  Mr. Fox added that the new campaign with leverage the recent availability of the myStop app as part of this effort.  Mr. Feakins and the WTD Directors have also been working with Jyoti Dasgupta, Founder and Creative Strategist at GreatOwl Creative, who is developing new designs for the campaign.

 

The campaign will include:

 

1.    A series of email messages to railroad parking permit holders and people on the permit waiting list that will be sent out in June and the Fall.

 

2.    New posters placed at the Saugatuck and Greens Farms rail stations and other locations around Westport later in the summer.

 

3.    Cards showing the shuttle route map and other information, including the website.

Route Planning Preparation

Mr. Fox then gave an update on the preparatory steps underway to support the upcoming review of the WTD’s route structure and schedules.  These include: 

1.    Plotting of the addresses of RR parking permit holders and people on the RR parking wait list addresses on a Town map, which also shows the existing WTD routes.  This will enable the WTD to clearly see the relative density of potential shuttle riders by area.  Mr. Fox expressed his appreciation to the WestCOG GIS team for their significant assistance with this project.

 

2.    Passenger spotting of current users by where they board and depart the shuttles.

 

3.    Analysis of productivity by trips and routes.

Results of this review will be forthcoming later in the calendar year.

 

Other Business

No other business was noted. 

 

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:28 AM.  The next meeting is scheduled for July 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM at Westport Town Hall in room 201.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Martin Fox

Westport Transit District Director

 

 

March 28, 2017 Meeting

Westport Transit District Directors’ Meeting Minutes

March 28, 2017 at 7:30 PM – Westport Town Hall, Room 201

 

Attending

Westport Transit District (WTD) Directors:

            Patsy Cimarosa

            Martin Fox

 

Norwalk Transit District (NTD) Staff:

            Kimberlee Morton, CEO

            Britt Liotta, COO

           

Town of Westport

            Foti Koskinas, Chief of Police

            Sam Arciola, Deputy Chief

 

Public:

            None

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 PM. 

Public Comment

Members of the public who wished to address the Directors were asked to do so.  There were no comments offered. 

Approval of Minutes of February 28, 2017 meeting

The minutes of the February 28, 2017 meeting of the Directors were approved as presented. 

 

 

FY17 YTD Ridership

Mr. Fox reviewed the monthly ridership report prepared by Mr. Liotta.  He noted that the more negative trend in commuter shuttle ridership that started in January continued into February.  Mr. Fox added that this change in shuttle ridership trends occurred about the same time as there was an increase in available railroad parking spaces and additional parking permits were issued.  Chief Koskinas and Deputy Chief Arciola noted that there has been a 9% increase in available railroad parking spaces since the Fall.  Chief Koskinas and Deputy Chief Arciola also noted that they believe that commutation from the Westport rail stations has been less than usual in January and February overall, as they observe that the use of available parking spaces has been less than they expected during this period, in addition to the shuttle ridership being lower.

Ms. Morton added that she believes that it’s clear that there has been a negative impact on ridership from the added parking.  Ms. Morton expressed a concern that reductions in ridership could ultimately contribute to a reduction in the level of State funding support for the Westport shuttles.

Mr. Fox and Mr. Liotta then reviewed the trends in the number of Door-to-Door trips by category, which continued the lower year-over-year ridership trends of recent months. Mr. Fox noted again that the Door-to-Door ridership varies significantly over tine because the majority of trips are taken by a small number of riders.

 

FY17 Budget Update

Mr. Fox commented that the latest WTD FY17 financial forecast, completed in early February, projected that WTD would only require about $23,000 of the $87,500 supplemental appropriation approved by the Town of Westport late last year. This is due to expenses being lower than the revised WTD budget prepared last Fall.  Mr. Fox then said that if the recent lower Door-to-Door ridership continues for the rest of the fiscal year, it’s likely that even less than $23,000 of the Westport supplemental appropriation would be required.

Mr. Fox said that the cost reductions have been generated primarily from the elimination of dedicated vehicles for the “Within Westport” Door-to-Door services by integrating these trips into the overall Norwalk Transit system, savings in healthcare costs based on NTD’s decision to move to the State medical plan, enhanced management of parts inventory, as well as the lower than forecast Door-to-Door ridership.  Ms. Morton noted that union negotiations are ongoing and wage rates continue to be unresolved.

 

FY 2018 proposed budget

 

Mr. Fox reviewed the WTD’s FY18 budget and provided an update on the WTD’s discussions with the Westport Board of Finance.  He indicated that on March 15th,  the Westport Board of Finance approved a $371,100 contribution to the WTD budget for FY18. He added that the next steps in the Westport budget process are a meeting with the Westport RTM Transit Committee and then consideration of the WTD FY18 budget by the full Westport RTM in early May.

 

Ms. Morton advised that the Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 Grant application was submitted on behalf of the Town of Westport and the Norwalk Transit District.  Mr. Fox thanked the NTD for leading this effort.  Ms. Morton further advised that there continues to be no news on the Connecticut Municipal Grant Program at this time.  Mr. Fox noted that last year the Municipal Grant application had been made available earlier in the calendar year and the due date had been March 31.

Ms. Morton stated that CT DOT has not provided guidance regarding funding for

FY 2018.  She indicated that the CT DOT had advised Norwalk Transit that it would issue a contract in the amount of 50% of the FY 2017 contract value to facilitate Norwalk Transit’s cash flow until such time they finalize the FY 2018 funding.

Ms. Morton indicated that the final resolution could be months into the fiscal year and will be dependent on the Governor’s final budget details.

 

Marketing

 

Mr. Fox gave an update on WTD marketing.  He presented the recently developed WTD page that will be included in the biennial Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Guide and Membership Directory.  He noted that he has been and will be speaking with a number of marketing professionals in the coming weeks about assisting WTD with a marketing program.  Mr. Fox stated that the objective of the WTD marketing initiatives will be to positively impact ridership by increasing awareness of the shuttles and highlighting the benefits of riding them.  He commented that WTD intends to leverage the recent availability of the myStop App as part of this effort. 

 

Route Planning Preparation

Mr. Fox then gave an update of the preparatory steps underway to support the WTD’s upcoming review of its route structure and schedules.  He indicated that the WTD plans to complete this project in the second calendar quarter. 

Mr. Fox then said that he has been working with WestCOG personnel to produce a Town map plotting the addresses of Town residents with railroad parking permits and who are on the waiting list for such permits, to enable the WTD to clearly see the relative density of potential shuttle riders by area.

Mr. Fox then thanked Mr. Liotta for the passenger spotting he and Stephanie Scavelli (NTD’s Manager of Planning and Marketing) had completed for all of the WTD routes (other than the Imperial shuttle).   Mr. Fox then indicated that he and Ms. Cimarosa would take care of mapping the data for the 3 routes that didn’t yet have a graphical representation.

Mr. Fox then asked Mr. Liotta if the NTD could do an update of the trip level productivity for the month of April to support the WTD’s evaluation of its schedules.  Mr. Liotta indicated that he would arrange for this to be done.

Ms. Morton then encouraged the WTD to consider modifications to its route structure based on analysis of all of the information that the WTD has been gathering.  Mr. Fox commented that the WTD’s target is to have a preliminary plan available for discussion and comment at the next WTD Directors’ meeting.

 

Other Business

Ms. Morton reported that it was recently brought to her attention that there aren’t any governing by-laws for the Westport Transit District.  She recommended that the Directors consider adopting by-laws to avoid problems that could occur in the future for failure to have any in place.  She also advised that absent by-laws the Directors’ could choose to adopt Roberts’ Rules of Order until such time by-laws can be prepared.  Ms. Morton suggested that this be a subject of formal discussion and added to the next meeting agenda. 

 

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 8:48 PM.  The next meeting is scheduled for May 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM.

 

February 28, 2017 Meeting

Westport Transit District Directors’ Meeting
Monday, February 28, 2017 at 10:00AM
Westport Town Hall – Room 309


Agenda

1)    Public comment
2)    Approval of minutes of January 30, 2017 meeting
3)    FY17 YTD Ridership
4)    State of Connecticut funding update
5)    FY18 proposed budget
6)    Passenger information tool update
7)    Door-to-Door alternatives
8)    Other business
9)    Adjournment

Meeting Minutes  


 

January 30, 2017 Meeting

Westport Transit District Directors’ Meeting
Monday, January 30 at 10:00AM
Westport Town Hall – Room 201

Agenda Items

1) Public comment

2) Approval of minutes of December 20, 2016 meeting

3) FY17 YTD Ridership

4) FY17 YTD Financial results

5) State of Connecticut funding

6) Passenger information tool update

7) Door-to-Door alternatives

8) Other business

9) Adjournment

 

Westport Transit District Directors’ Meeting Minutes

 January 30, 2017 at 10:00AM – Westport Town Hall, Room 201

PDF

Attending

Westport Transit District (WTD) Directors:

            Patsy Cimarosa

            Martin Fox

 

Norwalk Transit District Staff:

            Kimberlee Morton, CEO

            Britt Liotta, COO

            Steven Burka, CFAO

Public:

            Peter Gold

The meeting was called to order at 10:06 AM. 

Public Comment

Peter Gold representing the public commented on the fine job the Directors have been doing. 

Mr. Gold was advised in response to his question that the Town of Westport was responsible for posting minutes of the Westport Transit District on the Town’s website should it desire to do so.

Approval of Minutes of December 20, 2016 meeting

The minutes of the December 20, 2016 meeting of the Directors were approved as presented. 

FY17 YTD Ridership

A discussion of the ridership report ensued.  With the exception of the S-2 and the Imperial Lot, ridership continues to trend downward on the commuter shuttles.  It was noted that addition of commuter parking spaces is having a direct impact on ridership. 

Mr. Liotta noted that plotting of boarding and alighting’s as requested will be completed and presented at the next meeting. 

Mr. Fox indicated that the WTD is planning to evaluate its commuter shuttle route structure and schedule, examining the Green Farms shuttle routes first.  At this time, the WTD Directors have decided not to engage a consultant to assist with this project, but may reconsider this decision at another time.

Overall Door-to-Door usage is down year-to-date by 4.3%, with ridership below the WTD’s expectations.

FY17 YTD Financial results

Highlighted below are the financial results through December 2016 presented by

 Mr. Fox.

Ø  Operating loss prior to local subsidy was about $142,000

Ø  Additional local subsidy required over the original budgeted amount (excluding consideration of the mid-year Westport supplemental appropriation) was $5,500.

Ø  The shortfall for the year was anticipated to be $87,500 (consistent with the Supplemental appropriation approved by the Town governing bodies in November and December).

Ø  The better than expected financial performance was due to higher than forecast savings from eliminating the system of dedicating two vehicles for “Within Westport” Door-to-Door trips, lower than expected Door-to-Door usage and enhanced management of parts inventory.

 State of Connecticut funding

Discussion followed regarding the DOT’s “Budget Options” report to OPM for a 50% funding cut to Transit District fixed route operations in FY 2018.  Ms. Morton noted the Governor’s budget will be released in mid-February.  The direct impact is not expected to be known until April at the earliest. 

Ms. Morton advised that the DOT had released a study recommending statewide productivity measures including but not limited to 20 passengers per revenue hour for local routes and 10 passenger trips per revenue hour for express routes, two passenger trips per revenue mile for local routes and one passenger trip per revenue mile for express routes, and a 20% minimum fare box recovery ratio. 

FTA 5310 funding was discussed as a potential additional resource.

Passenger information tool update

A draft of myStop instructions for Westport Transit was presented.  Minor revisions were discussed and made.

Door-to-Door Alternatives

A Town of Westport RFP for alternatives was recently issued.

Other Business

No other business was noted.

2017 Meeting Calendar

Reference was made to the 2017 meeting calendar approved by the Directors at their December 20, 2016 meeting.  Meetings will be held in Westport Town Hall, unless otherwise indicated in the notice for the meeting.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:18 AM.  The next meeting is scheduled for February 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM.

 Respectfully submitted,

Martin Fox

Westport Transit District Director