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Reverse Commute Transportation: Emerging Provider Roles
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Reverse Commute Transportation:  Emerging Provider Roles
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    NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Transit Planning and Policy
  • Abstract:
    This study reports the findings of a small Federal Transit Administration funded study designed to identify and briefly evaluate both historical and modern reverse commute experiments and projects. A series of Federal and State programs funded reverse commute experiments from 1966-1971 designed to get people from the ghettos to unfilled suburban jobs. The '60s projects were largely failures in both getting jobs for unemployed people and in establishing permanent transportation services, but in the late 1980s the Federal government began once again initiating and funding more reverse commute experiments. Unfortunately most of the most recent projects have met with the same fate. There is little evidence that providing transportation cures or even addresses the inner city unemployment problem; there weren't many suburban vacancies matching inner city skill levels, there weren't many inner city residents who wanted to travel long distances and give up social benefits for entry level jobs, and there was a great deal of prejudice and poor communication on the part of suburban employers. Focusing on different provider roles the study found that: non-transit agencies (public or private) appear to provide the most successful reverse commute transportation services for new job seekers when they provide a range of supportive services; transit operators can provide successful reverse commute services for those already employed; there is an important role for private entrepreneurs in reverse commuting, largely as contractors to public agencies and to transit operators; and opportunities for genuine free-market provision of profitable reverse commute services are very limited, but they do exist.

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