City Council Special Meeting

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Meeting Date: 08/16/2021  
Submitted For: Brandon Wright
Contact: Kimberly Garduno, Assistant to the City Manager

Presentation and discussion regarding analysis of DeSoto's STAR Transit routes including route recommendations, updates, and consideration of future On-demand service models and implications. 
At the August 18, 2020, City Council Meeting, Council approved the Second Amendment to the Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with STAR Transit for Public Transportation Services in DeSoto, for a total amount of $151,718. The Second Amendment to the Interlocal Cooperative Agreement allowed DeSoto to utilize operating grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration's 5310 Enhanced Mobility Program and provide transportation services for seniors and individuals with disabilities through the addition of a third bus for the Demand Response route.  The approval of the Second Amendment brought the total number of buses operating in DeSoto to four (4), and increased the number of in-service hours to 38 on average each day, including pre- and post-trip time. Additionally, the Second Amendment allowed STAR Transit to provide public transit services to the City for three years beginning October 1, 2020.

As part of the agreement with STAR Transit, ridership data is monitored and evaluated monthly for both Demand Response and the fixed route service 501. Over the past year, ridership on the fixed route service has declined. A portion of the decline can be attributed to changes in transportation and employment behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, fixed route service models have declined significantly across the country as riders prefer "on-demand" services that offer flexible and convenient same-day scheduling services utilizing apps, such as Uber and Lyft. 

In an effort to provide DeSoto residents with flexible and cost-efficient transportation services, STAR Transit proposes the gradual phasing out of the fixed route service 501 and replacing this bus with STAR Transit's On-Demand Service, STARNow. 
STAR Transit's cost of service will not increase for fiscal year 2022. Therefore, the total financial impact to the City of DeSoto is $151,718, which will be paid from the General Fund 101. 
This item is being presented for discussion purposes only. Based on City Council feedback, the item is intended to brought forward at a future date for Council consideration. 
STAR Transit FY2022


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