Cattaraugus County is a rural county located in the far western area of New York State. The county center is Little Valley, NY. Population is concentrated in communities in Olean, NY where ST. Bonaventure University is located, in Ellicottville, NY. where tourism especially skiing is concentrated and Salamanca where a casino is located. Considerable mountainous and forest areas, large traces of farm land make it difficult to provide transportation for its residence in an effective manner.
Rural counties have very little resources such as bus companies to draw from. Very few private transporters are attracted to a low volume (i.e. number of trips and passengers/trips) area in that sufficient revenue and profits are less likely than in an Urban area. Further, fewer transporters result in less competition and in turn higher prices. Therefore, the county has the challenge to be able to provide adequate transportation services and at a reasonable cost.
The state of New York, Department of Transportation provided financial assistance to the County and in turn to VMC to identify alternative transportation resources (buses) and so as to supplement the private transporters buses. This project had the mission of identifying and merging the alternative transportation services into an integrated plan and to implement this plan.
The alternative resources that were most feasible were the Rehabilitation Centers Vehicles and the Public Transit System. VMC utilized customized computerized vehicle routing to simulate the consolidation in an effective and efficient manner of the Private Transporters, Public Transit Vehicles and the Rehabilitation Center. This model was presented to all parties resulted in an understanding and agreement to partner and implement.
The Bid Specifications and subsequent Ride Sharing Agreement were then designed by VMC to accommodate all parties in providing vehicles, policies for the inner workings between and among the entities, payment between and among the parties and overall mobility Management by VMC.
Transportation Services as described was provided for a 3-year period that was adequate, safe, and costs were reduced for the County and the Rehab Center by approximately 35% – 40%.