Public transportation faces complex challenges, some of which have always existed and others that are brand new. As agencies determine how best to provide transportation services to their ridership, they must consider new delivery methods. This is where mobility managed services (MMS) can help.

Simply put, MMS allows public transportation agencies to outsource operational, technical, and administrative functions to specialized companies. These services can range from daily operations management to technology that provides advanced data analytics. Leveraging MMS, public transit agencies can often deliver better service while spending their budgets more efficiently.

Transportation managed services can help public transit agencies in three key ways. It can help adapt to changing travel patterns, help with the agency's financial sustainability, and help ease the impact of labor shortages.    

Post-Pandemic Travel Patterns 

For public transit agencies, one continuing struggle is adjusting to the decrease in service levels to match the shift in travel patterns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some agencies, for example, are not expecting ridership to return to 80% of pre pandemic levels until 2026. This, in large part, stems from the long-term ramifications of remote work becoming more popular. As remote work becomes the new normal, ridership will continue to decrease along with fare revenue. On top of this, agencies need to find a way to improve service quality despite decreasing revenue. It seems like a no-win situation. 

Mobility managed services can, however, help. Leveraging new technologies, MMS can provide advanced data analytics and solutions that help public transit agencies better understand and respond to changing travel patterns. This helps agencies optimize routes, schedules, and service levels to efficiently meet the current demand. There are also services that offer dynamic service planning that helps agencies meet shifting rider needs and preferences, sometimes in real time.   

Financial Sustainability

Federal pandemic aid is running out and that’s a problem for transit agencies that are facing serious financial issues. These budget shortfalls are going to continue to threaten transit agencies’ ability to maintain current service levels. For example, a major mass transit system projected a $600 million deficit in 2023 that will grow to $3 billion in 2025. Another west coast transit agency has only reached 40% of 2019 ridership, due in large part to the high concentration of tech jobs that can easily be done remotely. And these are just two examples of a nationwide issue. 

MMS can play an important role in helping transit agencies drive cost savings by offering more efficient operation models and access to specialized expertise without the overhead of full-time staff. Beyond cost savings, mobility managed services can drive revenue growth through innovative revenue growth strategies. MMS can provide things like dynamic pricing, advertising, and partnership models that can increase public transit agencies’ financial sustainability. 

Labor Shortages and Workforce Management

Many agencies are struggling to hire and retain sufficient staff to meet current service demands. This operator shortage isn’t necessarily the fault of the pandemic either. Low pay, unhealthy working conditions, and lack of flexibility have been consistent problems impacting agencies’ ability to hire and retain employees. 

Mobility managed services can offer staffing solutions that help ease the burden of recruiting, training, and retaining staff and operators. They can also assist with workforce development initiatives like training and certification programs to upskill existing employees. This all helps gain new employees and efficiently use existing employees. 

Technology Expands Your Transit Options

Using the right technology can improve how public transportation works, making operations more efficient. Transit agencies need to choose software that offers good reporting, scheduling, and fleet management. Picking the best software is important to get the most out of technology for transit systems.

Discover how Ecolane can revolutionize your operation. Request a demo today and explore the potential of tailored transit software to meet your agency's unique needs and challenges.

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