What’s Happening re Uber + Taxis as Supplement/Alternative to Pace

Here are the minutes from the December 2nd McHenry County Board Transportation Committee consideration of expanding subsidized transportation opportunities in McHenry County:

Pace Taxi Forum Update

Sunshine Taxis sported Bill Prim for Sheriff signs during the campaign.

Sunshine Taxis sported Bill Prim for Sheriff signs during the campaign.

On Thursday, November 12, 2015 the McHenry County Division of Transportation hosted a Taxi Forum event in which Pace presented the requirements for taxis wishing to contract with Pace to provide service for MCRide.

Of the 140 companies that were invited to attend, four interested companies participated in the forum – Sunshine Taxi LLC, Black Cab Taxi & Shuttle, Metro Cab LLC, and CC Limousine & Taxi.

In the days that followed, staff received calls from two (2) additional taxi companies that expressed interest in contracting for service.

At the November 18, 2015 meeting of the Public Transportation Advisory Committee (PTAC) it was recommended to move forward with contracting with taxi companies as long as it is shown to be a cost-effective alternative to buses.

As they have recommended in previous meetings, the PTAC would also like to see this done in conjunction with an expansion of the service hours and geographical coverage of the MCRide program.

Given past direction from the Transportation Committee on the service hours of operation and geographical service area as part of the 2016 MCRide intergovernmental agreement, the use of taxis will be considered during the existing hours and service area.

To move forward with the use of taxis, it is recommended that Pace issue a request for proposals from taxi companies in the region to determine if they can be financially competitive with the existing bus service.

If taxis are added into the MCRide program, Pace determines which trips would be most cost effective for the use of taxis.

Discussion ensued and some members felt that their primary requests weren’t researched or touched upon in the presentation by staff. Some Committee members desired that rides provided by MCRide should be taken over by private enterprises. Also, is there a way to not use Pace to provide rides as taxi service for MCRide would be administered by Pace.

Ridesourcing Partnership Opportunities

Uber logoMCDOT staff updated the Transportation Committee on its research and discussions with various “ridesourcing” companies such as UBER and Lyft.

Staff has been asked to help determine the feasibility of McHenry County contracting with ridesourcing companies to provide subsidized trips for residents of McHenry County.

After speaking with a representative from UBER and reviewing case studies from around the country, there are four issues that should be discussed before proceeding with any program to utilize/subsidize trips with ridesourcing companies as they presently exist:

  1. Pace has indicated they will not be able to assist in administering or funding such a system. In addition, no Federal Section 5310 funds can be used. Pace subsidy and Federal Section 5310 funds currently account for 60% of MCRide’s total funding.
  2. Ridesourcing companies require riders to own and be able to operate a smartphone to schedule and pay for their trips. While the exact percentage is unknown, it is possible that a large percentage of MCRide’s current users cannot afford a smartphone, are mentally or physically unable to use a smartphone due to a disability, or are seniors who may not be comfortable using the technology.
  3. With the way ridesourcing companies are presently setup, McHenry County may have to provide the ridesourcing company with a list of eligible riders and pay 100% of the fare for a trip.
  4. “UBER for Business” already allows private businesses to contract directly with UBER to provide free trips for their employees. This may be an off-the-shelf solution for local businesses with third shift workers, McHenry County College or other non-profits that can be implemented relatively quickly with no cost to McHenry County.

At its November 18, 2015 meeting, the Public Transportation Advisory Committee (PTAC) was split on its recommendation regarding future ridesourcing partnerships.

Pace provides an opportunity for those without motor vehicles to get free food. But it didn't show up one day.

Pace provides an opportunity for those without motor vehicles to get free food at Nunda Township on Friday mornings. But it didn’t show up one day for a return trip home.  If Uber had been available as a back-up, the woman could have gotten home without a volunteer’s having taken her.

Half of the committee thought that the County should not partner with these companies by subsidizing passenger trips, while the other half thought that a partnership could be beneficial but would only be used by some of their clients.

[Diane Evertsen, John Hammerand and Nick Provenzano were in favor of partnering with the ride sharing companies.

[Tina Hill, Don Kopsell and Anna May Miller were opposed.

[Thursday night at District 2 County Board candidate John Reinert’s fundraiser, newly-appointed Jeff Thorsen came down on the side of those in favor of expanding transportation service beyond Pace.]

The PTAC did concur that the increase in cost to the County on a per trip basis was identified as one issue that would need to be considered.

Discussion ensued and the Committee identified specific direction(s) and requirements for the next Transportation Committee:  Necessity for one more meeting after all requested information has been compiled to discuss and address options.

  • What requirements Pace would place upon the taxi companies and the cost incurred by those requirements.
  • The cost for current taxi ride services.
  • Reach out to ridesourcing companies, explaining what the County would like to accomplish and what those companies could do within that framework.
  • Have the State’s Attorney Office (SAO) research liability issues/situation and what can be done to comply with State laws.


What’s Happening re Uber + Taxis as Supplement/Alternative to Pace — 10 Comments

  1. Once again Anna May Miller is voting on an issue where she has an obvious conflict, partnering with ridesourcing.

    From the Algonquin Township Road Commissioner’s office, she coordinates Algonquin Township’s wasteful bus program.

  2. A quick check of my Uber App tells me that the cost per mile ranges from $1.33/mile to $1.75/mile from Cary to various points in McHenry County.

    I think that is 20% to 60% less per mile than a taxi.

    I haven’t got a clue what the current operating cost/mile is for the existing program.

    The added advantage of Uber is that there are no capital costs or maintenance costs to own/operate a fleet.

    And, it is door-to-door service at precisely the time you need it.

  3. November 12, 2015 was when the meeting occurred, why wasn’t this issue on this blog sooner?

    Do we have some political games behind the scene with a election coming up perhaps?

    Taking Fed $$$$ means meeting Fed rules, ie providing rides to the handicapped.

    Taxi and Uber dudes probably can’t meet those requirements.

    The small buses most likely will be needed if we keep using Fed handouts.

    Another problem is doctors appointments which many that use Pace and Senior buses is for.

    The appointments are not always timely as we all know, leading to scheduling problems with return home pickups.

    If running late, that can run into end of service day timing, then what leave the handicapped wheel chair person to fend for themselves?

    How do they do that, if not one of the buses?

    I think a tad more time, not forever, should be given before we start something that may be hard to stop.

    Name a gov program that was stopped for waste out of how many were started that we know are wasteful?

    This reminds me of the Consolidation thingy, rush rush lets vote before we even know the facts, related numbers, and if any legislation will have to be passed first.

    How about a plan, a well publicized plan, a plan where we all can see the details about the issue first?

  4. November 18 minutes, how about the discussion part not printed here?

    When hearing anything in the media or a blog like this one, anywhere, I always wonder what is missing and why?

  5. The RTA has had since 1974 to deliver on its supporters’ promise to provide

    “public transportation, when and where you need it, throughout the region.”

    Some might think that was long enough for RTA to deliver.

  6. Voters in Algonquin: WAKE UP!

    You have an opportunity to dump Anna May Miller from the Board this year (vote for Barnes and Wilbeck) and next year you can dump her hubby from the Township.

    Her hubby does a fair job but getting rid of him would get rid of her approx. $87,281 (2013) per year salary as secretary to her hubby.

    There are hundreds of people in the Township who can do the job Bob Miller is doing.

  7. Cal, the RTA has just so much funding, to expand service takes more $$$$ then what they have even if they were more efficient.

    As long as we are willing to pay more we can get the service we would all like to see.

    Problems Houston, nobody wants to pay more.

    A well thought out plan would work for me, how about you?

  8. Cautious, here is the problem, most people talk a good game, but few if any will run.

    No one is stepping forward, and without competition, well…

    Most people can’t handle the politics of the job, the complaining, the asking for favors, and etc etc etc.

    Run Cautious run, I’ll sign almost all petitions or forms needed because I like competition in gov.

  9. We are paying plenty for RTA.

    Those who proposed it grossly over-promised the benefits.

  10. I wonder if our RTA $$$$ stayed in the county if that would be enough to cover Pace/Mcride?

    Plenty probably.

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