1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The local authorities exist to perform vital services to the local populace in order to make them engage in meaningful development activities that would better their lives. It is the responsibility of local government to see that basic infrastructures are provided to reduce the suffering of the local populace. The functional service theorists advocate that local government exists to provide basic services for the local populace. This include basic healthcare delivery, viable means of transportation, sanitary services, good pipe borne water, creational centers, good local road networks , inter alia.
The transit county services operated by the Broome local authority is one function that shows the reasonability of the local authorities to the need of the local people. The Broome County Transportation (B.C. Transit) department operates transportation services with its large number of buses stationed on fixed routes to service the people on daily basis. There are 19 bus routes and 900 bus stops the B.C. Transit operates. “B.C. Transit city buses serve the urbanized core of Broome County (City of Binghamton, Johnson City, Endicott and Vestal) on a fixed-route system. Fixed-route buses travel along a specified or fixed path and riders can board and exit the bus at bus stops or flag stops along this path. All bus schedules include detailed maps showing where our buses go” (Broome County Government, 2007). The transportation department of Broome is currently managed by a Commissioner named Gary J. Crandell. The department ensures that effective services are given to the users of the County’s transport services. This is done through effective research and utilization of basic information in ensuring a better service provision.
The Broome Transit serves the cities of Broome and its environs in transportation service. Presently the transportation facility has the following destinations in its routes: Binghamton Plaza, Campus Plaza, Chenango Plaza, Clinton Street Antique Row, Downtown Binghamton, Downtown Endicott, Downtown Johnson City, Giant Plaza (Upper Front St.), Northgate Plaza, NYPENN Trade Center, Oakdale Mall, Parkway Plaza, Riverside Plaza, Small Mall, Sneakers Plaza, South Washington Street, Town Square Mall, University Plaza, Vestal Plaza, and Washington Avenue.
The transportation department of Broome county council has greatly managed its transport services to tackle care of every citizen despite their physical status. In this instance, special facilities are put in place to carter for people with disabilities. Currently, tow models of bus facilities are utilized for the disabled. These facilities are specially built wheelchairs to ease the boarding of the B.C. Transit buses.” The Orion 500 series buses use a staircase that collapses, creating a platform to raise the passenger using a mobility aide onto the bus. The Orion 800 series use a ramp that lowers. The driver can lower the front end of both buses to ease accessibility through the front doors. Once a passenger using a mobility aide is on the bus, they must position themselves in the designated area, lock their wheels and the driver will secure the mobility aide device with straps anchored to the bus”(BC Transit, 2007). The elderly, pregnant women and those not fit health wise are served front seats to make them embark or alight the bus easily. All these services are carried out by the Transport department of Broome in such way as to serve the masses in the most effective and efficient way. Special features are installed in the BC transit buses to make passengers travel along with their bicycles.
In the aspect of security on buses certain rules are put in place to ensure that passengers put up with the right attitude when are in board the bus. The bus attendants are to put up a friendly approach to passengers, but making sure that basic rules are standard applied for passenger safety and enjoyable ride. Some of these guidelines include that no passenger is allowed to eat or drink any substance while in bus, no passenger is expected to make use of load playing musical devices without utilizing earphones, all animals should be properly caged, passengers are expected to by properly dressed in decent ways as not to raise an eyes brow or suspicion, no fighting, abusing or mocking while in bus. These among many other rules are aimed at making the transport services of B.C. Transit are enjoyable and safe for passengers. The security is further enhanced by the Broome County Government Security Division, which protect the security of public workers in Broome County.
The B.C. Transit operates are fair fare system for its passengers. There are lowered fares set out for the elderly and the disabled. Children accompanied by an adult are expected to enjoy a free ride. The standard fare is $1. Elderly and people with disability with the County ID are entitled to pay half the price $0.50. A 31 days bus pass swipe cards, which is none transferable, are purchased at the County transport divisional offices from prices ranging from $22 to $35. There are also 12-ride pass for $10 and 22-ride pass for $20. The department is set to roll out its new fares for its transport services.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The invaluable nature of transportation services to human development and economic enhancement is one that cannot be relegated to the background in contemporary era. The need for managers of public means of transportation to adequately provide for efficient transportation services that is cost effective is a task that is uppermost and anticipated in the mind frame of the common people. The provided of public transportation, as the Broome County Transport Department, need to strategize in bringing about timely effective services to the populace at the most affordable cost. The setting of transport fares sometimes may not be to economically wise to the poor in the society, and sometimes not cost effective with one traveling in his personal car or taking other viable means of transportation. Thus, the challenge here is how transportation services are made effective and at the same time cost tolerant to the commonalities. It is the role of government to ensure that maximum benefit is distributed to the greater number of people, as posited by the Pareto Optimality theory. It then requires that public administrators, managing the BC Transit, that they maintain a standard of qualitative service delivery and at the same time be cautious on the fare charged. The question here is how can effective service delivery be enhanced with the motive of ensuring cost effectiveness?
1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The objectives, which this research wants to achieve, include:
1. To analyze those problem militating against effective transport delivery by the Broome County services
2. To see the alternatives arrangement pattern available to make the BC Transit more effective and at the same time cost effect
3. To determine how budgetary allocation to the transport department how this tends to effect its operations; hereby determining a meaningful budgetary system for the effective operation of the County’s transport department
4. To recommend ways of improving the transport services of Broome county
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions drawn for this research work include the following:
1. Is there fair and cost effective pricing system applied in the Broome County Transportation services?
2. How cans effective service delivery could be ensured with the focus for right and fair fare charges.
3. What innovations need to be inculcated into the services of the Broome County Transport system to make it more effective?
4. Are present budget allocations to the services of the Broome County Transport adequate for effective transportation service delivery?
5. Are present arrangements in Broome County Transport able to withstand the challenges of meeting the demands and transport needs of the local populace?
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.4.1 RESEARCH DESIGN METHOD
The survey research design would be used in conducting this research work. A survey design is a research method where data are collected from a defined population to describe the present condition of the population using the variables under study. “Survey design does more than merely uncover data. They interpret, synthesis and integrate these data and point to implications and interrelationship” (Bankole, 2003:15). Since the subject matter for this study is a social issue that affects group and the generality of people, the survey research method becomes most feasible and more appropriate in the conduct of the study.
1.4.2 SUBJECTS FOR THE STUDY
The total population for this study would constitute a number of people drawn from different people who utilize the services of the Broome County Transportation. Thus, diverse people who had first hand experience on the transport services of the department of Broome would share their experience, which would be included in the subjects for the study. Furthermore, to get the managerial view on how the management of the organization has faired so far in their transport delivery services, sample would be drawn from the workers in the Broome County Transport department. This would be drawn from the different categories of staff.
1.4.3 SAMPLE SIZE
The sample size, i.e., the number of subjects to be included for the study would comprise of 100 respondents. 30% of the respondents, constituting 20 people, would be drawn from the different categories of staff, while the remaining 70% would be drawn from the masses of Broome County. The categorization of the subjects for the study in the above giving proportion becomes appropriate, this will enable the researcher to get a wide spread of view to aid the research, and not one-loop sided view.
1.4.4 SAMPLING METHOD
The quota sampling method would be used in selecting the subjects for the study. Quota sampling is a non-probability sampling method, a form of accidental sampling done in line with quota or strata in the total population. According to Odiagbe (1999:48), quota sample is selected in such a way that various components appear not only in proportion to their sizes in the target population but selection is stopped as soon as enough of the sub-group is selected. The quota sampling method is adequate for this study since there is a placement of quota selection on those to form the research respondents. In addition, quota-sampling being a non-probability method would make the selection of the respondents for the study to be easy. Anyone can be included in the group selection; so far, the number of selection does not exceed the 30- 70-percentage ratio apportioned for staff of Broome County Transportation Department and the selected people who utilize the services of the department, respectively.
1.4.5 DATA COLLECTION METHOD
In the course of conducting this research, both primary and secondary data would be utilized. The primary data would be generated from self-administered questionnaires to the respondents. The questionnaires would contain two sections. Sections A, would have the bio-data of the respondents, while section b would have questions relating to the study and the research questions. The questionnaires would be sent through e-mail and postal mail to reach wide areas and prevent the restriction of selecting the respondents to a particular area. This would also save cost of reaching respondents in distant areas. The choice of choosing questionnaire as instruments for data collection boils to the fact that it would allow for ease in data collection and position the respondent in a calm atmosphere, devoid of threat and victimization when giving answers to the questions. Also would be secrecy and protection of respondent privacy when questionnaires are administered. Linkert 5 scale measurement would be used to grade the answers given by the respondents. Below are the grade apportioned to each answer given
Options Apportioned score
Strongly agree 5
Strongly disagree 1
The secondary data would be used in deriving data and comparing previous findings and drawing conclusions for the study. The secondary data would be derived from journals, textbooks, newspapers articles, Internet materials, and government gazettes.
1.4.6 DATA ANALYSIS METHOD
The quantitative analysis method would be use for the analysis of the data for the study. Chi-square (X2) would be used in testing the research questions. The formula for the chi-square (x2) is:
Where ‘O’ represent the observed frequency
‘E ‘represents the expected frequency.
The decision rule for the chi- square (X2) include:
1. Accept the null hypothesis (H0), when the calculated value of X2 is lesser than the table value of X2. Hence, reject the alternate hypothesis (H1).
2. Reject the null hypothesis (H0), when the calculated value of X2 is greater than the table value of X2. Hence, accept the alternate hypothesis (H1).
3. The findings of the research study would be derived based on the conclusion reached from the statistical analysis carried out.
1.5 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF MEASUREMENT
The questionnaire would be the data-collecting instrument. This data-collecting instrument is very effective and reliable as it gives accurate result whenever it is put into use. The reliability of the data collecting instrument is very high compare to other means of collecting data; it is easy and gives the respondents the relax atmosphere of giving accurate answer to questions asked.
The validity of the data collection instrument is high. Here, the answer to be derived from the use of questionnaire is valid and this goes to show an accurate result.
Thus, in measuring the dependent and independent variables through the validity and reliability of the data collection instrument the measurement for this research topic would be reliable and valid.
1.6 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
The ethical considerations to be put in place in the course of conducting this research work include the following:
1. The data for the research work would not be falsified. Hence, it would be generated based on the actual response the respondents give.
2. The privacy of the respondents would be protected; any given information would only be utilized for the conducting the research study.
3. All used secondary data would be adequately referenced in order to prevent plagiarism.
4. The research work and findings would be carried out not with the intension of victimizing anyone, but for purely academic purposes.
1.7 PRACTICAL TIME TABLE FOR COMPLETING THE PROJECT
Gathering of required materials and literatures – February 15th to February 28th
Visitation to Broome County Transport department to gather facts and figures on operational patterns – March 1st to March 5th
Formulation of the research questionnaire and administration- March 6th to March 31st
Analysis of collected data – April 1st to April 10th
Compilation of project draft – April 15th to May 15th
Typing and Binding of completed project work – May 16th to May 31st
Submission of completed project work – June
Bankole, A.R. (2003), research methods: an introductory approach. Lagos: Adeshina Print Production & Publication
Broome County Government (2007), “Bus Fare (City Buses)” http://www.gobroomecounty.com/transit/ (5/02/07)
Broome County Government (2007), “City Buses – Fixed Route Buses” http://www.gobroomecounty.com/transit/TransitRoutes.php (5/02/07)
Broome County Government (2007), “Destinations” http://www.gobroomecounty.com/transit/TransitRoutes.php (5/02/07)
NYSDOT.Gov (2007), “Engineering Division -Office of Technical Services” https://www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/divisions/engineering/technical-services/transportation-research-development (5/02/07)
Odiagbe, Martin (1999), A Handbook of Research Methods, Seminar Presentation & Term Paper Writing Lagos: Win Computer System