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Associate at the Goodman Corporation
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Gulf Coast Center
Chief Operating Officer
10000 Emmett F. Lowry Expwy, Suite 1220
Gulf Coast Center dba Connect Transit
Chief Financial Officer
Gulf Coast Center/Connect Transit Fleet Replacement Project
Gulf Coast Center – Connect Transit provides public transportation in Galveston and Brazoria counties. Since its inception as a demand response service, Connect Transit has evolved to provide fixed route service. Operating as Southern Brazoria County Transit (SBCT), Connect Transit operates a five-route service in and between Lake Jackson, Angleton, and Freeport.
Since 2010, the SBCT ridership has grown over 24% annually, or from about 22,000 trips to over 130,000 trips in 2016. In 2017, ridership dropped 10%, due in part to a shortage of drivers and overcrowding. Connect Transit has smaller vehicles with capacity of 19 riders for the SBCT fixed route. During periods of high demand, buses become overcrowded. This is especially critical when routes are consolidated due to driver shortages. (See Attachment A, SBCT Ridership 2010 - 2017)
Connect Transit has been aggressively addressing its driver recruitment and retention efforts and they have started to pay off with a marked decrease in missed and/or consolidated routes. As the reliability of the service increases, Connect Transit is regaining and growing ridership. Larger vehicles will help meet that demand.
The Transportation Research Board Quality of Service Manual recognizes that insufficient capacity can impact transit service. If a bus is full when it arrives at a stop, riders may be forced to wait for the next vehicle or find another means of making their trip. Crowded vehicles also slow down transit operations as it takes more time for passengers to get on and off the bus; this negatively impacts reliability and on-time performance. Connect Transit proposes to purchase larger vehicles with a can improve the ridership experience, decrease overcrowding, and improve on-time performance of the SBCT service.
SBCT operates routes that are one-way loops. Except for the Freeport Red Route, all routes operate on a one-hour headway. Consequently, some passengers may have a very long ride for one leg of the trip, depending on where in the loop they are travelling to or from. By adding a vehicle to the Lake Jackson Blue and Regional Gold routes, Connect Transit will be able to operate bi-directional service and decrease rider travel time. (Attachment B, SBCT Fixed Route Maps)
Connect Transit proposes to purchase four (4), Type 11 vehicles with a capacity up to 30 passengers. These vehicles are rated as medium duty, 7-year, 200,000-mile vehicles, and will replace the low-duty, 5-year, 100,000-mile vehicles that are currently in use. These vehicles will be deployed on the Freeport Red, the Lake Jackson Blue, Angleton, and Regional Gold routes.
• The Freeport Red Route provides about 29,000 trips annually, connecting to jobs, shopping, medical services, and education. The poverty rate in Freeport is 27.5 percent; 38 percent of the population under age 65 has no health insurance, and the unemployment rate is 13.5 percent. Freeport is a highly transit-dependent community and would benefit significantly from shorter trips and improved connectivity.
• The Regional Gold Route provides about 35,000 trips annually. It is the “spine” that links the services in Angleton to Lake Jackson/Clute and Freeport. It operates on a one-hour headway; an additional vehicle would facilitate bi-directional service.
• The Lake Jackson/Clute Blue Route provides about 22,000 trips annually. It is a circulator that provides local service and distributes trips from the cities of Freeport, Angleton, Clute and the Gold regional route. It operates on a one-hour headway; an additional vehicle would facilitate bi-directional service.
• The Angleton Purple route provides about 21,000 trips annually. It is a local circulator that connects with the Regional Gold route. It operates on a one-hour headway; an additional vehicle would facilitate bi-directional service.
These vehicles will be purchased on an existing Connect Transit contract with outstanding options. Funding ($25,000) will be requested to support procurement activities: pre- and post-delivery audit, factory and post-delivery inspection, and acceptance. Connect Transit will request funds be transferred to FTA for administration.
The project can support increases to ridership. Service elasticity refers to how much transit ridership changes in response to a change service. There are some studies that point to an average transit service frequency elasticity of 0.50. This can be interpreted as “for every 1 percent increase in transit hours of service, ridership will increase 0.5 percent.” If applied to SBCT routes, this would equate to about 47 daily or 14,600 annual additional trips. However, most local transit riders are “inelastic,” meaning that they are generally not sensitive to changes to service because they are transit-dependent and there are few to no substitutes. Given this, the change ridership may not be as high. However, the quality of service will improve significantly; by adding bi-directional service, rider trip times will decrease. For example, if the 50 percent of trips decrease by just 15 minutes, this will save over 70 hours of travel time a day. For people who are transit-dependent and use the bus to get to needed goods and services, travelling can be an all-day chore; even a small savings of just of 15 minutes can be meaningful.
The project will improve the safety and effectiveness of SBCT services. Sixty percent of Connect Transit’s fleet is past its useful life. Once a vehicle has exceeded its useful life, it should be prioritized for replacement because it is no longer cost-effective to operate due to high maintenance costs. The 2017 Texas Transit Statistics reflects an average of 46.03 mechanical failures for every 100,000 miles for the SBCT service; this is significantly higher than the average small urban rate of 15.46 mechanical failures for every 100,000 miles. Assuming the average mechanical failure costs $500, GCC spends about $23,000 more per 100,000 miles to operate, compared to the average small urban Texas system. Lastly, a mechanical system failure occurs when a vehicle can no longer complete its trip. SBCT’s vehicle are out of service more and driving fewer annual miles and are less productive for the agency. Larger community goals that this project supports includes economic prosperity for the community and region by providing access to employment and reducing transportation-related emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Less than $100 million
(Expand) Transit Expansion
View Uploaded File: GCCBODResolution.pdf
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
2d - Other
View Uploaded File: 4_GCC Fleet Expansion_Schedule.xlsx
Attachment C: Five Year Plan
Attachment D: GCC TAM Plan
Attachment E: SBCT Fleet Expansion Memo
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet Expansion Readiness Materials.zip
View Uploaded File: F_SBCT_GCCFleetExpansion_ MPK.zip
View Uploaded File: 3.0_GCCFleetExpansionBudget.xlsx
View Uploaded File: 3.1_TDC-Application.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet_Transit-Active-Transportation-Safety-Benefit.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet_delay-benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet_New-Transit-Vehicle-Purchase-Emissions-Benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet Supporting files.zip
View Uploaded File:
901 - 1000
View Uploaded File: GCC Revenue Vehicle Maintenance.zip
GCC Five Year Plan, adopted July 2017. See page 16.
The plan is Attachment C in the Readiness Documents attached to this application
View Uploaded File: GCC Fleet Ridership Growth documentation.zip
Houston-Galveston Area Council