2014 Metrobus Survey is Expected to Commence on March 18

Bus Ballston Fall  110811-72

 The 2014 Metrobus Survey will commence on March 18, 2014. This survey will take place during Spring and Fall of 2014 covering every Metrobus route, in all jurisdictions.  If you receive a survey, please fill it out on paper or online. If you have any questions, please ask the surveyor, or feel free to call the toll free number on the survey.

The primary purpose of the survey is to gather data to support operating and planning activities and for calculating jurisdictional subsidy allocations.  The survey is also being conducted to meet Federal Transit Administration’s Title VI regulations.  Metro reports ridership coming from each of the eight jurisdictions in the Metro service area, and the survey provides the most scientific approach to estimate ridership by jurisdiction.

Additionally, we are asking about employer-related transit benefits received by our riders.   The 2014 survey differentiates between fully subsidized and partially subsidized riders, expanding our understanding of how our riders make decisions related to fares.

Our 2012 Metrorail Survey raised a lot of questions that we answered here on PlanItMetro.  We’ve pasted those questions and answers here, as they should be helpful during this year’s Metrobus Survey, as well as some 2014 Metrobus Survey-specific questions.

The last full survey of Metrobus ridership was conducted in 2008.

Feel free to ask any additional questions that we’ve missed in the comments section below and we will try to respond as best we can.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: The survey started on March 18, but I haven’t received a form yet.  When will you survey my bus route?

A: This survey uses statistical methods to capture a representative sample of our ridership.  On a given day, survey forms are being given out on selected bus routes.  To ensure that the survey remains statistically representative, we do not disclose the survey schedule to the public.

Q: I don’t commute during the normal peak periods.  Should I expect to be surveyed as well?

A:  Yes! This survey covers every hour of the day. In Spring 2014, surveyors will be out between 3pm – 5am, and in Fall 2014, surveyors will be out between 5am – 3pm.

Q: I got a survey form last week and today I got another one.  Should I fill it out?

A: Yes!  This is a survey of trip making patterns, not of individual riders.  As such, every time you are handed a survey you should fill it out and submit it either to the surveyor on board the bus, by mail, or complete the survey(s) online.

Q: Isn’t that double-counting?

A: No, it’s not.   We are interested in every trip that is taken.  We want an accounting of each of those trips, so we ask that you fill in the form each time one is handed to you.

Q: Why do you need my street address?

A: Determining the jurisdiction of residence of our ridership is the primary purpose of this survey (for subsidy allocation calculations).  Unfortunately, many zip codes cross jurisdictional lines. As such, we need to know your street address to best determine your actual jurisdiction of residence, not just what’s on your mailing address.  Please be assured that this data is not used for any purpose other than geocoding the survey results.

Q: Why does the survey ask about income and race?

A: As a recipient of federal funds, WMATA must comply with federal regulation such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Title VI of the act and its implementing regulation and associated executive orders require that we ensure meaningful participation in transportation planning processes by minority and low income populations in our service area, and distribute transportation costs and benefits equitably among all populations. We ask demographic questions on all our surveys to help us meet these requirements.

Q:  Can’t you get all of the survey data you’re asking for from the SmarTrip usage data?

A:  No, we can’t.   The primary importance of this survey is to gather data on jurisdiction of residence from a statistically significant sample of our ridership.  This data cannot be gleaned from SmarTrip usage, even if we were to look at registered SmarTrip card holders, as that wouldn’t be a representative sample of our ridership.  Secondarily, but also very important, data on income and race are required to ensure compliance with federal regulations (see previous questions), and that data cannot be gathered from SmarTrip card usage.   Trip purpose is a very important data dimension captured by the survey that is otherwise unavailable.

Q:  This is a survey but there’s no place for me to add my thoughts.  Why not?

A: The purpose of this survey is to gather data for planning and funding purposes.  Comments about customer satisfaction can be directed to our customer comment form.  For other ways to contact Metro, please visit the Contact Us page of our website.

Q: Are Metro employees handing out the survey forms?

A: No, our survey contractor has a dedicated and experienced staff of survey distributors who are passing out the survey forms to riders on the bus.  While they may appear as WMATA employees because they are wearing safety vests, rest assured that no essential work is being delayed due to this survey.  Metro has a handful of employees from the offices of Planning and Bus Planning who are supervising the survey team on a daily basis.

Q: What does the survey cost cover?

A:  The survey contract covered development of the survey form, determining the sampling selection, implementation planning, staffing the survey distribution, gathering and encoding the data, summarizing the data and producing cross-tabulations and reports.

Q: How can riders with visual disabilities take the survey?

A: Survey respondents can ask the survey staff who provided the form for assistance in filling it out. Otherwise, the respondent can call in responses or fill in the form online.  We have verified that the online version of the survey is compatible with BrowseAloud, Metro’s licensed reading assistance software.

Q: What if I don’t speak English very well or prefer to take the survey in another language? Are there any alternatives?

A: Yes! The paper survey is available in Spanish as well so just ask the surveyor for a Spanish one if you need it. Online options are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, French, and Amharic. The surveyor can direct you to the website.

Q: Why don’t you ask whether the rider is disabled?

A: While it could be useful to have that level of knowledge about our disabled riders, the word “disability” covers a wide range of meaning. It would be difficult to gather detailed data on riders with disabilities on a survey of this magnitude with such a constrained survey form.

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  1. Andrew
    September 19th, 2014 at 11:57 | #1

    I’m interested in the methodology of this survey for a peer comparison. Is there anyone that could ping me back about some questions re: electronic surveying? Best, -Andrew

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    • Melissa
      September 19th, 2014 at 13:14 | #2

      I’ll be in touch with you…

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