The National Academies

TCRP B-16 [Completed]

Analysis of the Private-for-Hire Vehicle Industry and Its Role in Public Transit

  Project Data
Funds: $249,990
Research Agency: North Carolina State University, Institute for Transportation Research and Education
Principal Investigator: Gorman Gilbert
Effective Date: 3/9/1998
Completion Date: 7/1/2001

The Role of the Private-For- Hire Vehicle Industry in Public Transit describes the types of public transit services being provided by private-for-hire-vehicles (PHVs) and categorizes such services. This report is published in two parts. The first part documents the results of a national survey of PHVs. The results of this survey indicate a continuing trend toward diversification of PHV operators, a size distribution skewed toward smaller operations, heavy reliance on independent contractor drivers, and a high incidence of contracting (particularly among taxicab operators). The results also indicate that transit service contracting is not a significant source of PHV revenues.The second part of the report summarizes eight case studies and draws conclusions from the analysis of these case studies. The case study sites are Ann Arbor, Michigan; DuPage County, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Montgomery County, Maryland; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and the state of Wisconsin. The functional areas examined for these case studies consist of funding, the selection process, contract terms, general administration, public/private roles and responsibilities, regulatory requirements, and operations.This report includes a multimedia presentation on CD-ROM. This presentation provides information on the current services that PHVs provide in the public transit sector and showcases the case studies.The report should be useful to public and private transportation managers, metropolitan planning organizations, and other transportation decision makers at local, state, and federal levels.


There is no current description of the types of public transit services being provided by PHVs and no inventory of such services. Most statements about the role of PHVs in public transportation are anecdotal or based on a few case studies or news reports. Thus, a new descriptive profile of the public transit services provided by PHVs is needed in order to assess their current role properly. The information and statistics assembled in this report document the roles of PHVs in the public transportation sector and illustrate the importance of PHV and paratransit operations.

To achieve the project's objectives of defining current and potential services provided by PHVs in the public transit sector and describing the role of PHVs, the research team performed a literature review, conducted a national survey, conducted a workshop, and performed case studies.

Status: The Report is published as TCRP Report 75 and is accompanied by a CD multimedia presentation(121 MB mpeg).

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