The Route Performance Index (RPI) is used to ensure Metro services are effective and provide a reasonable return on investment. This measure is applied to all Metro bus lines in operation for more than a year.
The RPI is used to identify under-performing lines. Specific corrective actions are decided upon during the service change process. Corrective actions could include marketing, service restructuring, implementing an alternative service, or cancellation of service.
The RPI consists of three variables:
Utilization of Resources – Passenger boardings per revenue service hour is used as a measure to determine how effectively resources are used on a given line. This measure is determined by dividing the total number of boardings by the revenue service hours operated. A route having a higher number of boardings per revenue service hour represents a better utilization of resources such as buses, operators and fuel.
Utilization of Capacity – Passenger miles per seat mile is the measure used to evaluate how well the seating capacity of the system is being used. Passenger miles are calculated by multiplying the average distance traveled per passenger by the number of passengers using the service. Seat miles are calculated by determining the number of seats per vehicle by the number of service miles operated. A higher resulting number indicates greater utilization of system capacity.
Fiscal Responsibility – Subsidy per passenger is the measure for fiscal responsibility. Subsidy refers to the amount of public funding required to cover the difference between the cost of operation and the passenger revenues collected. Higher subsidy services require more public funding support.
The RPI is calculated within groups of similar services. The following service categories are used in the RPI process:
- Metro Liner
- Metro Express
- Metro Rapid
- Metro Local
- Metro Shuttles
Specific indices are developed for each measure within each category of service. Lines with an index of 1.0 perform at the category average, while lines with an index of less than 1.0 perform below the average. Lines with an RPI lower than 0.6 are defined as performing poorly and targeted for corrective action. Lines that have been subjected to corrective actions and do not meet the 0.60 productivity index after six additional months of operation may be canceled, subject to Service Council or Board approval, unless a funding agreement with a city or other agency is in place to offset the poor performance of the service. Such agreements need to be for a period of one year or more and in an amount sufficient to bring the farebox recovery ratio of the poorly performing service up to the service category (Metro Local, Metro Express, etc.) average.