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It depends on the source and use of funding. Federal public transportation law does not define bike sharing as a form of public transportation; however, the cost of installing bike sharing stations and infrastructure are eligible expenses when functionally related to public transportation. The FTA considers bicycle facilities and improvements to be functionally related to transit when they are located within a three-mile radius of a transit station or bus stop. However, the purchase of bikes for a bike sharing network is not an eligible expense. See FTA’s bicycles and transit webpage for information on how bicycles and transit are a win-win proposition.
It depends on the source and use of funding. Federal public transportation law does not define car sharing as a form of public transportation and funds cannot be used to operate those services. However facilities functionally related to transit may be eligible. For example, parking spaces dedicated for the use of car-sharing at local transit stops.
It depends on the source and use of funding. In general, ride-splitting, which allows customers requesting a ride to be paired with others traveling along a similar route, is eligible as public transportation if it meets the definition of shared-ride services. The FTA may reimburse a transit agency for the costs of contracting with a ride-splitting company that provides shared ride service to the general public; however, the law generally does not permit private firms to be eligible to receive FTA funds as a direct recipient or subrecipient. For example, a transit agency could contract with a shared mobility operator to provide a shared-ride service as a first/last mile solution as long as that contract requires both the drivers and passengers to accept any additional riders identified along the trip.
It depends on the source and use of funding. Vanpools are a form of public transportation, and may receive capital or operating funds under FTA’s grant programs through an eligible recipient or subrecipient.
Transit agencies can undertake a number of partnerships or contractual relationships with other mobility providers to provide additional mobility options to the public. Examples include mobility management; joint marketing; advertising; integration of schedules or travel information systems; linking to services from Internet sites; and integrated payment systems, etc.
Additionally, the FTA encourages non-transit uses of transit agency property that can raise additional revenues or, at a reasonable cost, enhance ridership. Incidental uses may include permission for other transportation providers to use transit facilities or parking spaces, as long as such use does not conflict with the intended transit uses of the project property. The recipient must fully recapture all costs related to incidental use from the non-transit entity and any revenues received from incidental use must be used for public transportation purposes.
The level of service provided to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, must be equivalent to that provided to people without disabilities. The service characteristics for determining whether the service is equivalent are:
- Response time
- Geographic area of service
- Hours and days of service
- Restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose
- Availability of information and reservations capability
- Any constraints on capacity or service availability
A transit system partnering with a ridesourcing entity to provide demand-responsive service to a new service area would have to ensure not only that accessible vehicles were available, but that any person requiring an accessible vehicle would not be charged more than a typical ridesource user for a similar trip and would not have to wait longer for service.
Local (municipal/state) statutes or regulations, or company policy, will generally determine whether a taxi company or shared mobility operator provides shared-ride or exclusive-ride service. Not all shared mobility services are shared-ride services. For example, if the local regulation or company policy permits the driver to determine whether or not a trip may be shared (for example by declining to accept an additional passenger where there is capacity) the service is not shared-ride. Similarly, if the regulation or policy requires the consent of the first passenger to hire a taxi or shared mobility operator to be obtained before the taxi or shared mobility operator may take on additional riders, the service is not shared-ride.
In essence, services which can be reserved for the exclusive use of individuals or private groups, either by the operator or the first passenger’s refusal to permit additional passengers, is exclusive-ride service, and is not shared ride. Not every trip needs to be shared-ride in order for a provider to be considered a shared-ride operator, but the general nature of the service must include shared rides. A recipient passing funds through to a taxi company or shared mobility operator should request documentation from the company to assure the company is providing shared-ride service.
In general, when a public transit passenger randomly chooses from among a number of taxicab companies providing service, the testing regulations do not apply. The rationale for this is the practical difficulty of trying to administer a drug and alcohol testing program in connection with multiple companies. An example of this scenario is a guaranteed ride home program, in which the transit agency contracts with multiple (two or more) taxicab companies in the area and a passenger may choose which taxicab company to contact to get a ride home.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulation (49 CFR part 655) provides that the rule applies to recipients and subrecipients of Urbanized Area (§ 5307), Capital Investment Grant (§ 5309) and Rural Area (§ 5311) funds, as well as their contractors and subcontractors. Generally, a ridesourcing company would be a contractor. Under the rule, a contractor is any entity providing a safety-sensitive function for a recipient or subrecipient. The contract may be a written contract or an informal arrangement "that reflects an ongoing relationship between the parties."
The taxicab exception does not apply when a passenger does not choose the taxicab company providing the service. For example, many ADA paratransit agencies contract with taxicab companies and other entities to provide ADA paratransit service to ambulatory passengers. In those situations, when the ADA paratransit provider (not the passenger) contacts the taxicab company to schedule the ride, the drug and alcohol rules apply to the taxicab company providing the service. Similarly, if a public transit agency provides vouchers to passengers to use for one taxicab company, the passenger does not have a choice of which company to contact, so the drug and alcohol rules apply.
In general, the law permits that only states and local or regional public agencies may be recipients or subrecipients of FTA program funds. However, in the grant program for seniors and persons with disabilities (Section 5310), non-profit organizations and private providers of public transportation are eligible subrecipients. Any type of entity may provide service through a contract with an eligible recipient or subrecipient.
In general, the public entity that enters into the partnership with the ridesourcing entity would be responsible for ensuring that equivalent service is provided. In an instance where the fare structure for the provider of accessible vehicles differs from (is greater than) that used by the ridesourcing entity, the transit operator must offset those costs to ensure that they are not borne by the passenger.