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MEMO OF TRANSMITTAL

To: Gamaliel Anguiano


From: Ben Steele
Date: March 9, 2016
Subject: Recommendation report on fixing the timing issue of the five (and six B) bus for
students going to (and leaving) class on Cal Polys campus
Attached is the requested recommendation report concerning the constant late arrival of the five
bus during peak hours that results in students being late to class. Also addressed is the departure
of the six B bus from campus before students are able to reach the bus stop after class.
Recommendations
The report contains two possible solutions that would fix the timing problem for each bus route.
Each solution was thoroughly researched and analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness. My two
recommendations are included below.
Adjust the schedule of the five bus to start seven minutes earlier and the six B to start
four minutes later
Collect small student fees to add two more five buses and one more six B bus
Methods
In order to prove that the problem exists and to obtain the information I would need to validate
my recommendations, I used numerous methods of research. My methods are listed below.
Route five bus timing experiment
Student survey
Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano
Online resources
Results and Conclusions
The important information from my research is shown under the Results section. Each method
of research has its own subsection with a summary. Following the Results section, the
Conclusion section incorporates all of my research in order to show the problems with the bus
system. Following the logical flow of information shown to show why the problem exists, the
two solutions are placed into subsections with descriptions of how they would work. The benefits
of each are shown along with any issues.
Final Recommendation
After analyzing the conclusions of each of my solutions, I recommend that you request more
money from Cal Poly during your upcoming renegotiations of your five-year contract. A small
amount can be added to students ASI fees that will go to SLO Transit, and in return, SLO Transit
can add two more five buses and one more six B bus.
If you have any questions while reading this report, please feel free to contact me for
clarification.

Recommendation Report:
Fixing the Timing Issue of the Five (and Six B)
Bus for Students Going to
(and Leaving) Class on Cal Polys Campus

PREPARED FOR: GAMALIEL ANGUIANO


PREPARED BY: BEN STEELE
DATE: March 9, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................1-2
Background..........................................................................................................................1
Purpose.................................................................................................................................1
Recommendations................................................................................................................2
Research...............................................................................................................................2
METHODS..................................................................................................................................2-3
Experiment...........................................................................................................................3
Survey..................................................................................................................................3
Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano......................................................................................3
Online Resources.................................................................................................................3
RESULTS....................................................................................................................................3-6
Experiment...........................................................................................................................3
Survey..................................................................................................................................4
Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano......................................................................................5
Online Resources.................................................................................................................5
CONCLUSIONS.........................................................................................................................6-7
Solution 1.............................................................................................................................7
Solution 2.............................................................................................................................7
RECOMMENDATION.................................................................................................................7
REFERENCES...............................................................................................................................8
FIGURES CITED..........................................................................................................................9

TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure
1.
Route
5
Schedule..............................................................................................................1
Figure 2. Route 4 and 6B Schedule.................................................................................................2
Figure
3.
5
Bus
Timing
Experiment.................................................................................................4
Figure 4. Examples of 5 Buss Tardiness........................................................................................4
Figure 5. Student Survey.................................................................................................................4

INTRODUCTION
Background
Public transit is a common form of transportation for many college students to get to and from
their campus for classes, events, the library, the gym, and a good number of other reasons. This is
the case here at Cal Poly, where students are able to ride the local transit system, SLO Transit,
for free. The SLO Transit system controls the bus routes and schedules for the buses running
through campus and the rest of the city. There are seven total fixed routes, and with four of these
stopping at Cal Poly along their route, the bus is accessible to most students [1]. With the closure
of the on-campus Grand Ave parking lot recently, many students have been unable to find
parking on campus for class. This has led to a significant increase in student riders, which can be
seen in the jump from 5000 total daily riders in late 2014 to 7500 total daily riders at the same
time in 2015. Of the 7500 daily riders, 67% are Cal Poly students [2], [3].
The state of California recently approved plans to cut funding for transit projects by 38% over
the next five years [4]. The money California gives to public transit is part of the Local Transit
Fund, and in order for a transit system in an urbanized area to receive money from the Local
Transit Fund, the transit system has to meet the 20% fare-box recovery ratio. The fare-box
recovery ratio is the percentage of total revenue that comes from bus fares (tickets and passes)
[5]. Here in San Luis Obispo, the money that Cal Poly gives to SLO Transit goes toward the bus
fares, but the amount of money received by SLO Transit is not proportional to the number of
students who ride the bus. This money from Cal Poly comes solely from the revenue generated
from on-campus parking tickets [3].
In this report, only the buses that are available to the students who live to the southeast of Cal
Polys campus will be discussed. The five bus takes these students to campus and the four and
six B take them home. There are two five buses, two four buses, and one six B bus in operation
during the day; this allows a bus to come every thirty minutes for each route [1].

Purpose
The problem with the increase of riders, specifically Cal Poly students, is that the five bus is now
often late during the busy parts of the day, which are 7:30 to 10:00 and noon [3]. While the five
is scheduled to place students on campus with plenty of time to walk to class, the buss tardiness
can often make it impossible to make it to class on time. The fives tardiness during peak times
can be seen in Figure 3 in the Results section of this report. In Figure 1 [8] to the right, the
arrival time at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) is circled. With classes starting at ten minutes
after the hour, this scheduled arrival time would
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Figure 1: Scheduled arrival
time of the five bus at the

give students plenty of time to walk to class.


An additional problem for those students who take the five to class is that the four and six B bus
often leave campus before it is possible to walk to the bus stop after class, which means another
thirty minutes of waiting on campus. The departure times from the Kennedy Library stop for
each the four and the six B are circled in Figure 2 [9] below. Note that classes end at the hour,
and some professors may hold students a couple minutes late, which makes catching the four
nearly impossible and the six B very difficult.

Figure 2: Kennedy Library departure times for the four and six B.

Recommendations
My recommendations to put an end to bus-related class tardiness are as follows:
1a. Adjust the schedule of the five bus to start seven minutes earlier
2a. Collect small student fees to add two more five buses
And in order to ensure all students have a ride home after class, I recommend that
1b. (Corresponds with 1a) Adjust the schedule of the six B bus to start four minutes later
2b. (Corresponds with 2a) Add another six B bus
Research
In order to justify my recommendations and decide which one is best, I used a collection of
different research methods. For my primary research, I surveyed students on campus and at bus
stops to answer two different questions regarding my recommendations. I also conducted an
experiment in which I documented the on-campus arrival times for the five bus at four different
times for two weeks. For my secondary research, I conducted an interview with Gamaliel
Anguiano, the Transit Manager for the Public Works Department for San Luis Obispo. I also
searched the web to find recent news articles and scholarly articles.
In addition to this introduction, this report will contain sections in the following order: methods,
results, conclusions, and recommendation.
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METHODS
This section will contain the research methods I used for my recommendation.
Experiment
During the weeks of 2/22-2/26 and 2/29-3/5, I documented the arrival time of the five bus at the
Performing Arts Center stop, which is the first bus stop on campus for the five bus. Using the
SLO Transit app and my own arrival time in person, I compiled a list of arrival times for the ten
oclock, twelve oclock, two oclock, and four oclock bus.
Survey
From March 1st to 4th, I held a two-question in-person survey at two different bus stops at
different times in order to reach my goal of at least fifty people surveyed. For the second
question of the survey, I also surveyed random students on the Cal Poly campus until I reached
an additional fifty students. Below are my questions.
1. Would you like to see a change in the five buss schedule to have more time to get to class?
2. Would you be willing to add up to $5 to your ASI fee in order to get more buses?
Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano
On February 24th, I conducted an hour-long interview of Gamaliel Anguiano, the Transit
Manager of San Luis Obispos Public Works Department in order to obtain more information
specifically about the SLO Transit System.
Online Resources
I used the SLO Transit website and searched the internet for news articles and scholarly articles.
Christina Favussi, Big Uptick in Public Transportation Use Leads to Problematic Bus
Overcrowding, 2015.
Falling Revenue Leads to Massive Cut in Californias Transit Funding, 2016.
Christopher MacKechnie, California Public Transit Funding.
RESULTS
In this section, I will discuss the results of each of my methods of research from the previous
section, presenting only what is important to my topic.
Experiment
During my two-week experiment, I wrote down the arrival time of the five bus at the Performing
Arts Center (PAC) stop at four different times during the day. Two of these times are during peak
hours, ten o-clock and noon; two are not, two and four oclock. While the bus was not always
right on time during the non-peak hours, the bus was never more than three minutes late, so these
times will not be shown. The bus was not significantly late on Fridays at any time. This is
because Cal Poly holds far less classes on Fridays, so far less students ride the bus on that day
[3]. Friday will not be included in the data either. Below is Figure 3 [10], which shows how
many minutes late the five bus is during peak hours from Monday to Thursday. Notice that with

sixteen different times displayed, the bus was not less than seven minutes late once, showing that
something needs to change [6].
Below Figure 3 is Figure 4 [11], which gives two examples of the five buss late arrival to the
PAC. Note the times at the top of the figure show that students are already late once dropped off
and still have to walk up to ten minutes to class.
Results of Bus Timing Experiment

Minutes Late

16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0

10:00 (Wk 1)
Monday

12:00 (WK 1)

Tuesday

Wednesday

10:00 (Wk 2)

12:00 (Wk 2)

Thursday

Figure 3: The number of minutes the five bus is late arriving to the PAC.

PA

Figure 4: Two examples of the five bus arriving late to the PAC on the SLO Transit
app.

Results from Survey of Cal Poly Students

Yes

Number of Students

60 50
50
40
30
20
10
0
No
0

49

41
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Survey
The results from my two-question, in-person survey are shown in Figure 5 [12]. For my first
question, Would you like to see a change in the five buss schedule in order to have more time
to get to class? the answer was a unanimous yes among the fifty students surveyed. For my
second question, Would you be willing to add a small amount (up to $5) to your ASI fee to get
more buses? I surveyed two groups of students, bus riders and random students on campus.
Figure 5: For questions 1 and 2, see Survey under Methods.

Fifty students were surveyed from each group. The table unsurprisingly shows that the bus riders
are more willing to pay the fee, but also that random students are very willing to pay the fee with
82% responding yes. During the survey, I heard many responses in favor of more buses,
including, We definitely need more buses, and Its annoying how few buses there are [7].
Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano
My interview with Gamaliel Anguiano produced a great deal of information about SLO Transit.
To begin the interview, I informed Gamaliel of the five buss timing issue [6] and asked about
any factors that could contribute to the buss tardiness. During the peak hours of day, which
Gamaliel said to be 7:30 to 10:00 AM, commute time and students class time, and noon, mostly
students, some bus stops can have up to twenty people waiting and this causes extra time
additions for the bus to get off schedule. The bus then starts the next route late and compounds
with the time additions on the new route, resulting in even greater tardiness.
I proceeded to ask if SLO Transit would be able to add buses to its already existing bus routes.
Gamaliel stated that SLO Transit currently does not have the budget for such expenses. I
followed this up with a question for him to explain how SLO Transits budget works. He
explained that the Federal Transit Administration requires at least 20% of the total operating cost
to come from bus fares. The other 80% is given by the state and federal government, split fiftyfifty. The money generated by pass sales, cash deposited on the bus, and money given to SLO
Transit by RTA (Regional Transit Authority) make up most of the bus fare money. The only
money Cal Poly provides is the money received from on-campus parking tickets. This money
goes toward the bus fares, but while 67% of the SLO Transit daily ridership comes from Cal Poly
students, the amount of money Cal Poly provides is in no way proportional to the fact that the
majority of riders are students.
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In the next few months, SLO Transit and Cal Poly will renegotiate a five-year contract. This
would be the ideal time to bring up money concerns [3].
Online Resources
SLO Transit webpage on slocity.org
The SLO Transit webpage has useful information regarding the different types of buses
and routes. Along with describing the seven fixed routes, the webpage informs readers
about the Kennedy Library Tripper, a recent addition to SLO Transit. The Tripper
services Cal Poly students but only comes every hour. Because of its timing, the Tripper
is not a good alternative to get to class on time for students who ride the five bus. Also on
the webpage are different tabs, one of which leads readers to all of the bus schedules [1].
Christina Favussi, Big Uptick in Public Transportation Use Leads to Problematic Bus
Overcrowding, 2015.
This news story for local KSBY about SLO Transit focuses on the effect of bus
overcrowding for students. The article states that daily ridership numbers have jumped
from 5000 to 7500 people in one year and the number of Cal Poly student riders has also
skyrocketed with up to seventy percent of the total riders being students. The article
points to the recent closures of two campus parking lots on Grand Avenue and the
difficulty of parking on-campus as the reasons for the jump in ridership [2].
Falling Revenue Leads to Massive Cut in Californias Transit Funding, 2016.
This article on Southern California Partnership for Jobs website informs the reader about
state transportation officials announcement to reduce funding for road and transit
projects by 38% over the next five years [4].
Christopher MacKechnie, California Public Transit Funding.
This article, written by a Public Transport Expert for About Money, details the funding
the state of California provides to public transit. California spends the second most on
public transit. This money comes from many different taxes and composes the Local
Transit Fund. Transit systems in urban areas are required to meet the 20% fare-recovery
ratio, which is composed of ticket and pass sales [5].
CONCLUSIONS
In this section, I will be examining my two solutions: adjust the schedule of the five bus to start
seven minutes earlier and the six B to start four minutes later, and collect small student fees to
add two more five buses and one more six B bus. Below is the conclusion to the results I
obtained.
Through my two forms of primary research: a student survey and bus timing experiment, I
revealed that there is a dire problem with the timing of the five bus that needs to be fixed. Figure
3 [10] shows that the five bus is consistently seven to fourteen minutes late during its peak times
from Monday to Thursday. On the earliest of these times, students only have five minutes to
walk to class, which can be done if a students class is close to the PAC stop, but many students
classes are not close. If a students class is on the western or northern part of campus, they will
most likely stay on the bus and get off at the Kennedy Library stop, which adds another three
minutes of travel, guaranteeing a students tardiness to class [1], [6]. Students are not happy with
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being late to class all the time as can be seen by the results of the first question of my survey
showing that students are unanimously in favor of having more time to walk to class [7].
The scheduled time of the fives arrival at the PAC gives students plenty of time to walk to class
on time (Figure 1 [8]), so if there was a way to stop the bus from being late, students would not
feel the need to have more time to walk to class. The reason the bus is consistently late during
peak hours is simple: overcrowding. When there are fifteen to twenty people waiting at a stop,
this is often the case, the time it takes for all these people to pull out their PolyCards or cash and
get on the bus, which often times doesnt go smoothly, really starts to add up. During the earlier
peak hours, the bus can sometimes become too full to hold any more passengers and will pass
groups of people waiting at bus stops, who in turn will either be very late to class or not go at all
[2], [3].
Solution 1
Starting the five bus route seven minutes earlier would quickly fix the problem of student
tardiness due to the buses. During my two quarters of riding the five bus, I have never been more
than seven minutes late because of the bus. While this might not be the case for all students,
looking at the data from my bus timing experiment shows that even at the buss latest arrival,
students will still have five minutes to walk to class. Five minutes isnt very much time to walk
to class, but the bus is rarely that late, so this wouldnt be much of a problem [6].
Starting the six B bus route four minutes later would cause it to leave the Kennedy Library stop
at six minutes after the hour instead of two after. The later start would give all students, even if
released late from class, the chance to catch the bus home right after class. This would eliminate
the extra thirty minutes of wait time many students must endure after class. Part of this plan
would involve eliminating two minutes of layover time at the Downtown Transit Center, so that
students riding the six B to get to class would still have sufficient time to walk to class [1].
This solution would not fix the major overcrowding problem on the buses [2] or the daily and
hourly variances in time. SLO Transit is not only for students, so changing the route might
negatively affect the route for other people [3].
Solution 2
The addition of two buses to the five route would give students the option to ride every fifteen
minutes. Students fed up with being late and bus overcrowding can easily catch the bus fifteen
minutes prior. In turn, the bus scheduled to arrive on campus at the hour would have less people
on the bus, effectively eliminating the overcrowding issue and reducing the tardiness of the bus.
With the addition of one bus to the six B route, the route would also give the students the option
to ride every fifteen minutes. If a student is unable to catch the six B bus directly after class,
there would only be a fifteen-minute wait for the next one.
In order to fund these extra buses, I proposed adding up to five dollars in ASI fees to the students
of Cal Poly with a survey to a positive result [7]. With over 20,000 people in its student body,
Cal Poly would be able to give SLO Transit up to $100,000 each year. This money would go
towards the 20% fare-box recovery ratio, and with the ratio going up, SLO Transit would also be
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able to receive more money from the state and federal governments [3], [5]. With the recent
announcement that the state of California is cutting a portion of funding to transit projects, [4]
now would be a good time to start collecting student fees, buses or no buses.
Renegotiations between SLO Transit and Cal Poly over their five-year contract are soon and
would be the perfect time for SLO Transit to request more money. If Cal Poly is hesitant to
charge extra fees, either SLO Transit or Cal Poly could administer a campus-wide survey to get a
student consensus on the matter. According to the second question of my survey, students appear
to be willing to pay extra fees with 90% of total students surveyed in favor of paying extra [7].
The problem with this solution is that not all students would be in favor of the added fees,
especially those who do not ride the bus.
RECOMMENDATION
Based on the conclusions from my research, I recommend that, in the upcoming renegotiation
between SLO Transit and Cal Poly over their five-year contract, SLO Transit request more
money from Cal Poly through ASI student fees. The extra money would be used to add more
buses to routes five and six B to eliminate both overcrowding and tardiness.

REFERENCES
[1] SLO Transit, City of San Luis Obispo, CA.
http://www.slocity.org/government/department-directory/public-works/slo-transit.
[2] C. Favussi, Big Uptick in Public Transit Use Leads to Problematic Bus Overcrowding,
KSBY, Oct. 2015.
[3] G. Anguiano, Interview with Gamaliel Anguiano SLO Transit building, 2016.
[4] Falling Revenue Leads to Massive Cut in Californias Transit Funding, Southern
California Partnership for Jobs, Feb. 2016.
[5] C. MacKechnie, California Public Transit Funding, About Money.
[6] B. Steele, Five Bus Timing Experiment, Experiment. Feb. and Mar. 2016.
[7] B. Steele, Survey of Cal Poly Students, Survey. Mar. 2016.

FIGURES CITED
[8]

Figure 1. Route Five Schedule, City of San Luis Obispo, CA.

[9]

Figure 2. Route Four and Six B Schedule, City of San Luis Obispo, CA.

[10]

Figure 3. B. Steele, Route Five Bus Timing Experiment, Microsoft Word. Feb.
and Mar. 2016.

[11]

Figure 4. B. Steele, Screenshots of SLO Transit App, Feb. and Mar. 2016.

[12]

Figure 5. B. Steele Survey Results, Microsoft Word. Mar. 2016.

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