If you improve on-time performances, you can actually generate more ridership. Hopefully, this should also lead to some increases in revenue from the fare boxes. Mr. Mark Aesch, the gentleman who came up with this scheme while serving as transit director in Rochester, NY, stated that if routes are generating higher ridership or higher fare box revenue, then these routes would remain in the system. If routes are generating neither of the two, then they would be cut. He employed this rubric to establish a balance between higher and lower income riders so that fewer lower income riders would be stranded if routes are cut. After working at Rochester, he then employed this scheme in Detroit with their ailing bus system. According to the article, he was able to turn this around.
To read the full article, here is the link to the full article on how to fund transit without service cuts or fare hikes.,