Fixed Route Transit
Seeking to realize over $1 million in savings for taxpayers over the next 5 years; and improvements in service for commuters; Cumberland County Board of Commissioners are moving forward with implementation of PennDOT's Phase II plan for regionalizing fixed route public transit services. A letter notifying Capital Area Transit (CAT) of this intention was sent to on June 17, 2016. CAT currently provides fixed route transit services for Cumberland County.
Under the PennDOT Phase II study fixed route transit for Cumberland, Dauphin, York, Adams, Franklin Counties, and the City of Harrisburg would be consolidated into a single authority operated by Central Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (CPTA); formerly rabbittransit of York. Lancaster and Berks had originally been considered for this consolidation but merged 2 years ago after PennDOT's Phase I plan. Both have expressed interest in future consolidation with Phase II parties.
Cumberland County supports the PennDOT Phase II option because it optimizes savings through consolidation of administrative functions. The study, under development and discussion for over 5 years, estimates that Cumberland County would save about $2 million in transportation subsidies over 10 years. If all 8 jurisdictions were to participate, the study estimates $16.6 million in combined local match savings for the region over 10 years.
To ensure that fixed route services are not interrupted, the County stated it would pay its share of local match funding for the remaining 2 quarters of 2016. Funding after December 31, 2016 will depend on progress towards regionalization. Transition will occur by July 1, 2017 and Cumberland County remains committed that this transition will be seamless with no interruption of services for commuters.
It is important to understand that this decision was not a sudden one. Cumberland County has been actively exploring transportation options since 2009. After multiple meetings, studies and fact finding sessions, Cumberland County is taking action and selecting an option that best fits the needs of our community.
2009- Cumberland County convenes a meeting of Planning Directors, Transit Operators and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to examine opportunities for regionalization
2011- PA Governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Committee called for an examination of the potential to form regional transit agencies to address the statewide transportation funding crisis. Group including Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York forms to examine the issue. PennDOT agrees to fund study.
2012- Phase I Study Released - shows $4.6 million in recurring administrative savings if York, Cumberland, Lebanon, Lancaster, Dauphin, Berks, and Perry were to merge.
2013- Pennsylvania Act 89 incentivizes transit consolidation by allowing counties to lower or eliminate local match requirements commensurate with regionalization savings
2014- Phase II Study begins examining savings of regionalization with York, Franklin, Cumberland, Lebanon, and Dauphin (without Berks and Lancaster who already merged). Shows $2 million of potential savings for Cumberland
2015- July- Officials from mid-state counties attend meeting at Fort Hunter. BARTA in Berks County and Red Rose Transit in Lancaster review consolidation and formation of South Central Transit Authority for management services. The two counties have already realized combined savings of an estimated $4.8 million over five years. Learn more about this meeting
2015- November- Cumberland County issues letter to CAT defining Cumberland's 2016 allocation. Future funding conditional on CAT's success in working to reduce administrative and operational expenses
2015- Decemeber- Phase II Study released. The study provides 2 options- Single Regional Transit Authority and Share Services Entity
2016- April - Dauphin County, Cumberland County, City of Harrisburg and Lebanon County meet with PennDOT and PennDOT to model two “phased” transit regionalizations consisting of joining of Dauphin, Lebanon and City of Harrisburg OR Cumberland County and City of Harrisburg both joining CPTA. Reports of reviewing these models are still pending
2016- Funding condition set by Cumberland not met (instead 10% increase in CAT's expenses). Cumberland County makes the decision to go with a Single Regional Transit Authority and move to CPTA
- More for less. Transit consumers will enjoy expended services that require fewer tax dollars to operate
- Continuation of successful existing transit routes that connect residents to employment, shopping, medical appointments, and other necessities of daily living. Regionalization savings can be reinvested into the transit systems, enabling new routes and expanded services hours without increasing fares
- Regionalization leverages best in class technology that empowers riders to enjoy real time access to bus schedules, arrival times, and service changes all on a smart phone app
- Improved bus routing that efficiently connects riders to popular destinations in Cumberland County and decreases trip duration by eliminating the need to transfer to another bus in downtown Harrisburg
- Access to regional mobility call center that empowers customers to plan trips using a variety of regional transportation options, all with a single phone call
- Borderless transportation that enables riders to travel to out-of-county locations without the need to transfer to another provider's bus.