APTA | Passenger Transport
March 16, 2009

In This Issue


Sec. LaHood, Scott Testify on Transit at Senate Banking Committee Hearing
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

In a hearing March 12 before the Senate Banking Committee, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood reaffirmed his commitment to public transportation and assured committee members he will work with Congress to resolve concerns about proposed changes to public transit financing and other issues. [More]


10.7 Billion Trips Taken on Public Transit in 2008 Marks 52-Year High

The last time North Americans took as many rides on public transportation as they did in 2008, Dwight Eisenhower was running for his second term as president; Around the World in 80 Days won the Academy Award for Best Picture; My Fair Lady opened on Broadway; and Congress gave approval for the Interstate Highway System.

Sec. LaHood Addresses Legislative Conference
By SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

In his first speech before APTA members as the U.S. DOT secretary, during the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, Ray LaHood told a packed audience: “The Obama administration gets it.”

Tom Lucek, general manager of CityLink in LaHood’s hometown of Peoria, IL, introduced the secretary, saying he “truly understands how transit stimulates the economy, how we can conserve energy, and how we can improve the environment, and how we can affect the quality of our lives.” [More]

$10.2 Billion for Transit in FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

President Barack Obama signed the long-awaited $410 billion Fiscal Year 2009 omnibus appropriations bill on March 11, one day after the Senate passed the legislation. The omnibus provides funding to 12 Cabinet departments including U.S. DOT. [More]

Range of Grant Programs Covered in FTA ARRA Workshop
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

The Federal Transit Administration, continuing its pledge to provide the latest information to public transportation professionals, conducted a workshop following APTA’s 2009 Legislative Conference on programs made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. [More]

Greenhouse Gas Grant Program Explained

How can an agency increase its chances of successfully obtaining funding from two new programs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)?  Become thoroughly familiar with several parameters of those programs, advised a Federal Transit Administration representative at a March 11 workshop that followed the 2009 APTA Legislative Conference. This portion of the packed workshop generated a significant number of questions. [More]


A Case for Regional Transit Funds

“Remember the Regional Transportation Authorities!” Admittedly, as rallying cries go, that one is somewhat less inspiring than, say, “Remember the Alamo” or “Remember the Maine.” But as Beacon Hill begins to address the needs of the transportation system, the members of the Legislature’s Regional Transportation Caucus will be sounding that message relentlessly. [More]


Members of Congress Share Views on Sustainability, Economic Stimulus, and Authorization
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor, and JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

The two primary Congressional authors of the upcoming transportation authorization bill—Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. James. L. Oberstar (D-MN)—were joined by three House Members who spoke about environmental sustainability, fiscal responsibility, and the role of public transportation in these efforts when they addressed separate sessions at APTA’s Legislative Conference. [More]

APTA Launches ‘Public Transportation Takes Us There’ Campaign

At the opening session of its Legislative Conference on March 9, APTA announced the launch of a new advocacy campaign aimed at building congressional support for increased federal investment in public transportation through the authorization of the transportation bill up for a vote next fall. [More]

Expert Tips on Lobbying from . . . Experts
By SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Christopher P. Boylan, deputy executive director, corporate affairs and communications, with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, termed the March 9 workshop he moderated—“Effective Legislative Advocacy: Tips, Techniques, and Best Practices”—the “how-to” session through which attendees could learn how to communicate with people on Capitol Hill. [More]

Board of Directors Convenes March 8

At its meeting March 8, the APTA Board of Directors approved a four-point advocacy agenda for the finance of intercity and high-speed rail. [More]

U.S. High-Speed Rail: Time is Right?

The Obama Administration’s inclusion of $8 billion in funding for intercity and high-speed rail in the ARRA legislation means that, after years of preparation, the time is finally right for America to join the rest of the world. [More]

Environmental Concerns Include Cap-and-Trade, FTA Green Grants
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

A large consensus on Capitol Hill realizes that public transit use reduces the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases. However, as demonstrated at a March 9 session during the APTA Legislative Conference, there is debate over how best to regulate those emissions. [More]

Hill Staffers: A Lot to Do on Transit Issues, Ready to Do It
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The 111th Congress is facing a lot of transportation-related issues in the coming months—implementation of ARRA, completion of the Fiscal Year 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, development of the FY 2010 budget, and creation and passage of the transportation authorization bill—and key Congressional committees are ready to jump in. That was the message shared by House and Senate staffers at the March 9 “View from the Hill” session during the APTA Legislative Conference. [More]

McCrory: Transit Planning an Ongoing Process
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

The planning process for public transportation is not a line with a finite beginning and end; it’s a circle that “constantly goes around,” according to Patrick McCrory, seven-term mayor of Charlotte, NC, who spoke March 9 at the seventh annual breakfast session sponsored by APTA’s business members. “You can never stop this process; you must continue to go forward,” he added. [More]

Partner Groups Push for More Investment, Discuss Authorization
By JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

Environmental, labor, and community planning leaders discussed their roles in molding the upcoming transportation authorization bill at an APTA Legislative Conference session. [More]

Ornstein Calls for Consensus Between Left and Right
By SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

“In the area of public transportation," said Norman Ornstein, a veteran Washington, DC, political observer, “I don’t see anything ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’—you’ve got to find common ground.” [More]


The BBR: How a Bus Provides the Smallest, Busiest Sales Office

As part of its overhaul of fare policies and installation of a new smart card system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) has introduced new technology that allows its customers to perform fare transactions while on board the bus: the Banknote on Board Reloader (BBR). [More]

Loyalty Marketing: Added Value for Fare Media
By SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

As the financial market tightens, consumers understand that every dollar counts. They are looking for ways to make their money work harder. On the other side of the transaction, public transportation agencies are discovering that they can make the best of difficult economic times by motivating loyalty among their riders—encouraging use of a branded smart card that gives back to the user. [More]

Breaking Down the ‘Silos’ That Isolate Ridership Data
By CURTIS PIERCE, Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton, San Francisco, CA

As multiple elements of public transit operations become more technically sophisticated, transit agencies have access to more and more operational data. As separate data streams, these elements are useful, providing data for planning, reporting, and analysis. [More]

L.A. TAP Card: A Useful Tool for Ridership Analysis
By JANE MATSUMOTO, Deputy Executive Officer, TAP Operation, and KELLY HINES, Systems Project Manager, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The introduction of the TAP smart card at Los Angeles Metro is providing new insights into the use of prepaid fare media, such as Metro monthly and weekly passes. [More]

Q Card: The State of the Art

Where better to hold a fare collection workshop than Houston, where—when you’re talking about public transportation—it’s all about the METRO Q Fare Card. The introduction of this state-of-the-art, contactless smart card-based fare collection system by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) has changed the way transit passengers ride; it has also changed the method for collecting fares and processing data—both of which have never been easier. [More]

Integrating Systems and Services to Enable Next-Generation Fare Payment
By DAVID deKOZAN, Vice President, Business Development, Cubic Transportation Systems

Fare collection practices for public transit have evolved from collecting cash to accepting tokens to validating magnetic tickets to processing contactless smart cards. With each step, and in response to this evolution, the operating models that support the management of patron flows, capital assets, fare media distribution, enforcement, and revenues have changed. These changes also reflect the significant advancements in multi-modal, inter-agency ticketing strategies and the technologies that enable them. [More]

Virtual Sales Outlets Optimize, Simplify Fare Value Loading Process

New virtual sales technologies that allow public transportation users to load value onto their fare media without leaving their homes are a win-win for both the individual and the transit agency. [More]


Plan Now for APTA Bus Conference: May 1-6 Event in Seattle Includes Annual Roadeo

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for the 2009 APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference & International Bus Roadeo/Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Conference, the largest such event in the bus and paratransit industry. The May 3-6 conference, hosted by Seattle’s King County Metro Transit, will feature an exciting array of speakers and events. [More]


MARTA’s Jeoffroy Wins Call Center Challenge

Robyn Jeoffroy, an employee of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), was crowned the 2009 Call Center Challenge champion at the Feb. 24 competition held during the 2009 APTA Marketing and Communications Workshop in San Francisco. [More]

TCRP Releases Three Publications

The Transportation Research Board recently released three Transit Cooperative Research Program publications. [More]

Announcing Local Transit Coalition Grants

APTA will accept applications through April 10 for the Local Transit Coalition Grant Program. The program funds activities including both public education programs and advocacy efforts, which have proven extremely helpful in promoting transit in communities around the country. The experience has been that a small amount of funding can often go a long way in boosting local grassroots efforts. [More]

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