January 19, 2009
Together We Care: For Customers, Each Other, and the Planet
By Greg Cook
Chair, APTA ITS Public Transportation Forum
Director of Transportation
Las Vegas, NV
Moving ahead in 2009 is a welcome challenge in Las Vegas. As the director of transportation for Veolia Transportation and contracted by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), I have just witnessed a year completed with the highest ridership in the system’s history: more than 64 million passenger trips.
RTC’s on-time performance for the year was 96.5 percent, based on more than 7.2 million time points, the broadest measurement of timeliness possible. The system operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; the technology we currently deploy in the fleet makes such reporting possible.
Vehicles are equipped with an ACS Automatic Vehicle Locator/Global Positioning Satellite system, passenger counters, automated fare boxes, head signs, voice annunciators, camera systems, and a DriveCam G Force-activated accident review camera system. The buses in the fleet are double-decks, 60-foot articulated, Bus Rapid Transit vehicles, and 40-foot buses powered by hybrid, compressed natural gas, and diesel engines.
We move a huge workforce to their jobs every day, all 24 hours of it, and we move a lot of visitors who—even with the economic downturn—still come and fill the Vegas strip daily. While all this service goes on and buses get fueled, washed, maintained, and placed back on the ready line to go back into service, Veolia is constantly promoting its “Together We Care” program. By that we mean: We care for our customers, each other, and the planet.
Realizing that, every minute of every day, our choices and actions deeply affect the people we come in contact with, keeps us centered. We are concerned for their safety and also their sense of well-being, and their sense of satisfaction within their city. As we go forward in 2009, we will look at where we are doing a good job and living our values. We will look to do better every day, and we will follow an action plan to get the job done right.
We are counting on new technologies (such as commuter alerts) to provide direct information to people’s cell phones and personal digital assistants. We will examine ways to generate fuel economy, better on-time performance, and better maintained equipment. We are running safety teams (groups of drivers with one supervisor) to help improve our safety record. We hold Tailgate meetings where our supervisors meet a driver at a recovery point or transit center and they discuss three to five pre-selected hot topic points. And we run a “Going for Green” program year-round that keeps our employees focused on maintaining a great attitude with all we come in contact with, while teaching the employees how to calm disgruntled attitudes when they encounter them.
As chair of the ITS Public Transportation Forum, I work with our group to learn about new technologies from around the world as well as in our own great country. When we share our ideas and concepts and study new technologies, we find ways to improve our service delivery to people in cities around the country. It is our responsibility and duty to improve what we can and leave things better than we found them for generations to come.