Taking Transit Finance to New Heights

Taking Transit Finance to New Heights

It's no secret that there's been lots of adversity in the transit finance world over the last few years. Agencies are still feeling the effects of ridership reduction and policy changes brought about by the pandemic.  As CFO, Mark Schofield has helped to bring success and financial foresight to VRE. Get an inside look at what you can do to take transit finance to new heights from this insightful session! 

Learn how agile financial planning and analysis is used to combat these ridership reductions, even when recovery figures don't meet their expected timelines. Schofield shows us how instrumental Synario can be for board credibility, it's ability to quickly supply data and visuals by adjusting figures and assumptions on the fly, and finally the part it can play in financial reporting and even lobbying for funding.

Mark is joined by Scott Carlson, Senior Managing Consultant at PFM – who gives us industry-wide insight regarding the future of ridership, the financial planning challenges all agencies will face going forward, and the impact of farebox and relief funds on the future of transit finance.


Session Overview:

Mark Schofield – Overview

  • 2:10 – VRE Rail Operations Overview
  • 4:18 – Peak Hour Transit Traffic Ratios (pre-pandemic)
  • 5:45 – Transforming Rail in Virginia – the $4 Billion Dollar Improvement Plan
  • 8:04 – Pandemic Impacts on Ridership
  • 8:56 – Average Daily Ridership (By Month)
  • 9:53 – Growth in Ridership Telework
  • 11:44 – Ticket Buying Behavior
  • 13:44 – Saturday Service New Initiative
  • 16:11 – Use of Pandemic Relief Funds

Scott Carlson

  • 17:36 – Industry Wide Covid-19 Ridership Impacts 
  • 18:48 – Financial Impact of Ridership Decline & Farebox Revenue 
  • 20:07 – ARPA, CARES, & CRRSSA Relief
  • 20:59 – Inflation Costs Impacts
  • 21:57 – Federal Funding for Capital Projects
  • 23:08 – What do Transit Agencies do Now?

Mark Schofield – Synario & Platform Demo

  • 24:00 – What other steps do you take to ensure data integrity when sharing the model with others?
  • 25:32 – Advantages of Synario
  • 27:52 – External and Internal scenarios to Financial Model Around.
  • 30:12 – Model Demonstration, Scenario Manager
  • 31:43 – Different Budgeting Scenarios
  • 33:35 – Structure of Financial Model Based on Assumptions
  • 34:02 – The Value of Instantly Comparing scenarios
  • 37:18 – Explain Feature Demonstration


  • 39:44 – What other steps do you take to ensure data integrity when sharing the model with others?
  • 42:20 – What's the Process look like when creating a new scenario? ROI on Effort?
  • 44:14 – Are there any typical outputs leadership look to see in financial planning, when proposing various scenarios?
  • 45:50 – Are there any strategies you're implementing to realize ridership goals?
  • 47:52 – What trends are you noticing with regards to remote work and ridership?
  • 48:51 – What can agencies do to retain their strategic initiatives, even after funding runs out?