Private For-Hire Vehicle Industry's Role in Public Transit

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - surveys, ridership - drivers, mode - bus, mode - taxi, mode - paratransit


Administration, Ann Arbor (Michigan), Case studies, CD-ROM, Contracts, Diversification, DuPage County (Illinois), Financing, Houston (Texas), Independent contractor drivers, Limousines, Los Angeles (California), Montgomery County (Maryland), Operations, Paratransit services, Portland (Oregon), Private enterprise, Private for hire vehicles, Regulatory constraints, Seattle (Washington), Shuttle buses, Surveys, Taxicabs, Wisconsin


This report describes the types of public transit services being provided by private-for-hire-vehicles (PHVs), e.g., taxicabs, shuttles, limousines and cars, and categorizes such services. This report is published in two parts. The first part documents the results of a national survey of PHVs. The results of this survey indicate a continuing trend toward diversification of PHV operators, a size distribution skewed toward smaller operations, heavy reliance on independent contractor drivers, and a high incidence of contracting (particularly among taxicab operators). The results also indicate that transit service contracting is not a significant source of PHV revenues. The second part of the report summarizes eight case studies and draws conclusions from the analysis of these case studies. The case study sites are Ann Arbor, Michigan; DuPage County, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Montgomery County, Maryland; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and the State of Wisconsin. The functional areas examined for these case studies consist of funding, the selection process, contract terms, general administration, public/private roles and responsibilities, regulatory requirements, and operations. This report includes a multimedia presentation on CD-ROM. This presentation provides information on the current services that PHVs provide in the public transit sector and showcases the case studies. The report should be useful to public and private transportation managers, metropolitan planning organizations, and other transportation decision makers at local, state, and federal levels.


Permission to link to report given by TRB.