New York Codes, Rules and Regulations
Chapter VI - Transportation Regulations
Subchapter G - Mass Transportation Operating Assistance
Part 975 - Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Program
Section 975.2 - Basic eligibility requirements

Current through Register Vol. 44, No. 51, December 21, 2022

In order to receive funds under the Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Program (STOA) for mass transportation services, all participants must be public transportation systems as defined in this Part. Only those public transportation systems eligible under the rules and regulations established for the section 18-b program are authorized to receive supplemental or special operating assistance under section 88-a of the Finance Law. The quarterly applications of unspecified bus systems under the formula portion of the program must meet the definition of bus system and contain only revenue passengers and revenue vehicle miles in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

(a) Public transportation system shall mean any public benefit corporation constituting a transportation authority, or subsidiary thereof, which provides or contracts for the provision, under joint support arrangements, of mass transportation services; any Indian tribe which provides or any county or city which provides or contracts for the provision, pursuant to section 119-r of the General Municipal Law, of mass transportation services that directly serve or primarily benefit its residents, or any intercity bus company which contracts with the commissioner to provide mass transportation services in exchange for State transit operating assistance.

(b) Mass transportation services eligible for State transportation operating assistance shall mean commuter rail, subway, rapid transit, bus and commuter ferry revenue services, available to the public on a regular and continuing basis, having predetermined and publicly posted fares and service hours. Fixed route or route deviation services (not demand responsive) shall also have printed schedules. Demand-responsive services must have published service areas, hours of operation, fares and the phone number to arrange for service. Such services shall be between an origin and destination, both of which are within the boundaries of New York State. Services that, due to geographic locations or routing, operate in a state other than New York in providing services to passengers that have origins and destinations in New York State, are eligible for state operating assistance provided that the primary reason for operating outside New York State is to transport New York State passengers to and from their New York State origins and destinations. However, the commissioner may review such services under the provisions of section 975.9(a) of this Part to ensure that the assistance will be used exclusively for the benefit of New York State riders. The public transportation system must also meet the requirements of section 975.20 of this Part if the organization providing the service receives 50 percent or more of its revenue from human services agency contracts or if the organization previously or currently provides substantial services for clients of human service agency(ies). While eligible services must be available to the general public, some portion(s) of a public system's services may be oriented to address the needs of the transit disabled (as defined in section 975.4[k] of this Part). The transit disabled services must also satisfy the provisions of section 975.19 of this Part. School tripper services consistent with the criteria contained in section 975.4(v) of this Part are also eligible to receive STOA. If yellow school buses are to be used for STOA eligible services, prior approval must be obtained from the department before such services are to be considered eligible for STOA. Exceptions for the use of yellow school buses may be granted if the system demonstrates that:

(1) no other vehicles are available to provide the service on an interim basis;

(2) that it would be a financial hardship to obtain non-yellow buses even for an interim period; and

(3) no State Education Department funding is available for the services in question. Also, the yellow school buses to be used must satisfy minimum adult seating/standing requirements as identified by the Department's Traffic and Safety Division's Regulations 921.7 and 921.8. Any yellow buses utilized for STOA-eligible services are not permitted to either display school bus" signs or use "flashing red lights," or they will be considered to be providing exclusive school bus services.

Services defined as ineligible for state transportation operating assistance include: exclusive airport services (as defined by Section 975.4(s) ), special charter operations, exclusive school bus operations (including services provided by school district owned transportation systems, services provided under contract with private school bus operators and school service provided by regular transit operators under purchase of service contracts), transportation services provided by client agencies that are designed only to meet the specific needs of their clients, sightseeing services, deadheading (as defined by Section 975.4(u); hotel contract services, van services (as defined in subdivision 35 of Section 2 of the Transportation Law), services which are held out to be, are designed to be, or become transportation services primarily to serve gambling casinos or bingo parlors or services commonly known as "invalid coach service" or "ambulette services" or services on routes or trips not available to the general public except as defined above. Also defined as ineligible services are any services authorized by the Interstate Commerce Commission after November 19, 1982 without corresponding intrastate authority issued by the New York State Department of Transportation, if NYSDOT determines that intrastate authority should have been sought pursuant to the New York State Bus Regulatory Reform Act (Chapter 635 of the Laws of 1983).

(c) Revenue vehicle, nautical ferry, or car mile shall mean the movement of one bus vehicle, ferryboat or rail car providing mass transportation services for a distance of one mile in revenue service. This shall include local and to the end point of the revenue trip commuter services (initial and return trip) and intercity route mileage that meets the mass transportation services provisions identified in section 975.2(b). Deadhead mileage is not eligible for calculating STOA service payments (see section 975.4(u).

(d) Revenue passenger shall mean a person who is transported between an origin and destination, both of which are within New York State, by mass transportation services, for whom a per-passenger fare is collected by the public transportation system. Such per-passenger fare or transfer fee shall be at least thirty cents per rider (fifteen cents for the elderly, transit disabled, and the young) for unspecified systems where the quarterly service payment is determined based on quarterly revenue vehicle mile and revenue passenger statistics. Persons are not to be included who ride or transfer free onto or within the system except as noted below. If a local government chooses to, it may provide the public transportation system with additional voluntary local subsidies (beyond those required to satisfy any minimum local match requirements) in order for the system to count those riders that would otherwise not be considered eligible passengers under the minimum fares. It will be necessary to show that these additional local government fare subsidies were provided on a per-passenger and/or a per-transfer basis. If the fare for a class of riders (e.g., elderly, disabled, students) is subsidized in whole, or in part, through a contract, the appropriate portion of this contract revenue must be provided and counted as farebox revenue at a per-passenger rate commensurate with the established fare structure. If this per-passenger rate also satisfies the minimum fare levels established above, these riders can also be considered eligible passengers under this program. Estimated revenue passenger statistics, if submitted, must also satisfy the provisions identified in section 975.7 on statistical sampling.

(e) Bus services shall mean mass transportation services provided by a person, firm or corporation authorized by the Commissioner of Transportation, the appropriate New York City regulatory agency or the Interstate Commerce Commission to serve the general public on an individual fare basis, or such public transportation services when operated by a municipal agency or public benefit corporation, or subsidiary thereof, in accordance with federal, state and local laws. When provided by a person, firm or corporation, that entity must have passenger transportation as its primary purpose as stated in its certificate of incorporation. Eligible bus services shall be limited to those provided in motor vehicles having a manufacturer's rated carrying capacity of fifteen or more passengers, excluding the driver. Exceptions will be granted for use of motor vehicles having a capacity of 8 to 14 passengers when it is determined by the Commissioner that the use of motor vehicles having a capacity of 15 or more passengers is not the most effective and efficient means of providing basic mobility to:

(1) transit disabled individuals in urbanized areas; and,

(2) persons, who by reason of physical, economic or other circumstances, do not have access to private personal transportation or are unable to use private personal transportation, either permanently or temporarily.

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