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Valley Metro is developing policies for local, express, neighborhood circulators, and rural routes to ensure that changes in transit service and fares are implemented in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Public comments were accepted through March 7, 2013, and a public meeting occurred on March 5, 2013. The Regional Public Transit Authority and METRO Board of Directors will review public input and staff recommendations on the policies at their March meetings.
Not all service changes will require a Title VI analysis. The new guidelines require Valley Metro to establish the level or threshold of when a service change is considered a major change. Once this threshold is reached, an analysis would be done to determine if there is an impact.
Valley Metro’s policy proposes that any increase or decrease in service greater than 25% of a route’s existing service level would be a major change to the route. For example, if Valley Metro proposes to reduce a 10-mile route by three miles this would be a 30% change to the route; therefore, requiring a Title VI analysis. A threshold of 25% is proposed as it is consistent with local and national norms.
Any proposed fare change requires a Title VI analysis. Valley Metro needs to establish a threshold for comparing the impacts a proposed fare change has on riders. The objective of this comparison is to ensure riders are being charged equitably based on the ridership demographics of the services they use, such as local or express service.
Valley Metro is proposing the threshold to be between 3% and 5%, with a single value in the final policy. The threshold determines if there is an impact, not the percentage the fare will be increased or decreased. A threshold of 3% would potentially require more frequent fare adjustments. A 5% threshold would provide slightly more flexibility in managing future fare adjustments and provides for a greater range between local and express fare types. The threshold of approximately 5% is proposed as it is consistent with the Federal Transit Administration’s practice.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended) states that “no person in the United States, shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” In addition to prohibiting discrimination, it is the intent of Title VI to ensure all community members have the opportunity to participate in decisions regarding the provisions of public service