The performance of the RTAs is important to the safety of passengers as well as the economic well-being of the Commonwealth. This section presents information on each of the RTAs as reported to MassDOT.
RTA Service Areas
Percentage of Fixed Route Scheduled Trips Operated
The percent of scheduled trips operated refers to how reliably buses in each RTA complete their scheduled routes. For example, if out of 100 scheduled fixed-route bus trips, one did not run at all, the percent of scheduled trips operated measure would be 99 percent.
The percent of scheduled trips operated directly impacts the perceived and actual reliability of a system. In FY21, despite the significant impact of COVID-19 on bus operator staffing, all Massachusetts RTAs except one operated between 87 percent and 100 percent of regularly scheduled bus trips (Franklin Regional Transit Authority operated 54% of regularly scheduled bus trips).
This is a decline in the floor of service operated for all RTAs, as last fiscal year the lowest percentage was 85 percent. From last fiscal year to this, FRTA, GATRA, and VTA saw a decline in the percentage of scheduled trips operated (greater than one percent), while MWRTA saw a minor decline in performance.
The COVID-19 pandemic does not appear to have impacted this measure greatly as most transit agencies adjusted their regular schedules to account for the impacts of COVID-19.
On-time performance measures how reliable an RTA is in providing the service it promises to its passengers. Due to the measure development process, each RTA may have a slightly different definition of on-time performance.
On average, RTAs reported an on-time performance rate for their fixed-route service between 81 percent and 100 percent for FY21. Most RTAs maintained relatively reliable service through the pandemic-impacted fiscal year; this is similar to transit agencies across the country, which benefited from improved travel times due in part to a reduction in personal automobile travel for much of FY2021.
On-time performance for fixed route transit improved for some RTAs. For example, MVRTA went from an average of 76 percent on-time performance in FY2020 to 90 percent on-time in FY2021. Overall, eight of the 12 RTAs with on-time performance targets met or exceeded their targets for the fiscal year.
On average, RTAs reported an on-time performance rate for their paratransit service between 89 percent and 100 percent for FY2021. Paratransit on-time performance followed similar trends as its fixed-service counterpart – for the most part, monthly on-time performance remained relatively consistent, with a slight average increase since FY2020. Eleven of the 13 RTAs with on-time performance goals for paratransit met or exceeded their FY2021 target.