APTA | Passenger Transport
May 25, 2009

In This Issue


See numerous senior transit positions    including two CEOs, one assistant general manager, and a senior vice president  —  in today's Classifieds. 


Senate Approves Rogoff, Porcari

Prior to adjourning for the Memorial Day recess, the Senate voted unanimously May 21 to approve the nominations of Peter Rogoff as administrator of the Federal Transit Administration and John Porcari as deputy secretary of transportation. [More]


Include Public Transit in House Climate Bill; Contact House Members Immediately

The draft “American Clean Energy Security Act” (ACESA), H.R. 2454, released May 15 by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, provides for no investment in public transportation. The legislation retains language that would establish emission reductions goals for the transportation sector—in Section 222, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Through Transportation Efficiency—but no funding is made available from the bill’s proposed cap-and-trade system to finance transportation investments that reduce emissions. [More]

FTA: Navigating Through ARRA—Certifications, Registrations, and Reports
BY JAMES LARUSCH, Chief Counsel and Vice President-Corporate Affairs

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes not only long-needed funding for transit capital projects, but also unprecedented certification, registration, and reporting requirements. These new requirements have led to a flurry of rulemaking as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), U.S. DOT, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Congressional staffers rush to create systems that satisfy the need for transparency without unnecessarily burdening the transit agencies, contractors, and other recipients of ARRA funds. [More]

Executive Committee Approves Next Steps in APTA Governance and Committee Review

In an effort to create more balance and leadership opportunities in the organization, the APTA Executive Committee’s Governance and Committee Structure (GCS) Task Force will soon propose several reforms to APTA’s governance structure, including the way APTA’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors are selected. [More]

APTA Budget Approved; Dues Remain the Same for Third Consecutive Year

At its meeting in May, the APTA Executive Committee approved the APTA budget and business plan for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins July 1. Reflecting the difficult economy and members’ need to control costs, the $26.5 million APTA budget contains numerous cost-cutting measures and keeps membership dues at the same rate for the third consecutive year. [More]

LaHood Awards ARRA Funds for Transit Projects

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced a total of $742.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for public transit projects throughout the U.S. [More]

Rail Conference to Convene in Chicago; Szabo, Welbes to Keynote

It’s nearly June, which means it’s almost time for the 2009 APTA Rail Conference. Sign up now so you won’t miss out on hearing from newly confirmed Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Joe Szabo and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Executive Director and Acting Deputy Administrator Matt Welbes, who will provide the latest news, ARRA guidance, and other updates. [More]

Free Congress Foundation Establishes New Center

The Free Congress Foundation established a new Center for Public Transportation on May 18, with the purpose of building support for public transportation, especially urban and intercity rail, a non-partisan, non-ideological public consensus. [More]

Hydrail Technology Featured at June Conference

Hydrail technology—which uses hydrogen fuel cells instead of traditional diesel-electric generators to power rail equipment traction motors—will be the topic of the Fifth International Hydrail Conference June 11-12 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, hosted by the Charlotte Research Institute. [More]


APTA President William Millar, center, accepts a $5,000 check to support the American Public Transportation Foundation’s Shirley A. DeLibero Scholarship—for an African-American student pursuing a career in public transportation—from Julie Cunningham, president/chief executive officer of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), and COMTO board member Brad Mims. [More]

Apply Now for Leadership APTA Class

Leadership APTA is accepting applications through June 29 for the Class of 2009-2010, with 25 individuals to be selected for the year-long professional development program. [More]


Public Transportation is Providing the Ultimate Customer Experience
BY BEVERLY A. SCOTT, Ph.D., APTA Chair and General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

How do I define the “customer experience”—the focus of this issue? It’s first and foremost by recognizing that our employees—at every level—are the single most critical element of our customer service experience. [More]


Improving the Customer Experience: An Overview
BY DONNA AGGAZIO YOUNG, Special to Passenger Transport

Today more than ever, public transportation systems understand that investing in passenger-focused efforts means good business. Particularly in economically troubled times, many systems have shown that concentrating on items ranging from amenities to reducing or eliminating noise in a train car enriches the customer experience. These measures also help build ridership that in turn can serve as a cost-effective alternative to reducing service or eliminating other features to cut costs. [More]

Keeping Passengers Cool in Houston
By MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY, Vice President Public Sector, Motor Coach Industries Inc.

It is no secret that the weather gets hot in Houston. In fact, the temperature inside the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s buses can get really high. It is not unusual for the interior temperature of buses parked outside during the midday base period to exceed 130 degrees F. [More]

PART Provides Quality Service for the Choice Commuter
By JAKE KEYS, Corporate Communications Coordinator, Daimler Buses North America, Greensboro, NC

Record numbers of Americans are taking to public transportation and boosting ridership numbers to their highest levels in more than 50 years. With support for public transportation growing, the challenge for transit operators now is how to reach out to customers who have not traditionally relied on public transit. [More]

Reaching Out: Travel Training Provides Older Americans with Independence
BY SUSAN BERLIN, Senior Editor

As the U.S. population ages, more and more people are becoming either unable or unwilling to drive, but they don’t want to give up their independence. Many of them have no experience using public transit—and that’s where travel training programs are proving essential or effective. [More]

IndyGo Unveils State-of-the-Art Radio Room

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) recently opened its state-of-the-art Radio Room, which integrates its fixed route and paratransit dispatch in a single facility along with high-tech operations. The remodeled facility brings together IndyGo’s new Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) real-time Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system with an upgrade to its radio communications and hardware that ties into Indianapolis’ Metropolitan Emergency Communications Agency (MECA). [More]

Empowering Passengers with Real-Time Information
By STEVEN HALBERSTADT, Director of Marketing, Digital Recorders Inc.

Historically, public transit passengers seeking information on route structures and stop times have been limited to information obtained from static, printed schedules. Many transit agencies have begun providing this information online and in other electronic formats, making it more accessible to an increasingly technology-savvy public. [More]

VTA Leads Bicycle and Pedestrian Network in Santa Clara County
By LINH HOANG, Public Relations Supervisor, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA

When people think about the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), it’s usually synonymous with images of buses and light rail. However, VTA is also a Congestion Management Agency, and therefore supports the bicycle and pedestrian communities by working with the Santa Clara County and 15 cities to enhance additional trails, bicycle and pedestrian programs and policies, and design and construction of bicycle and pedestrian pathways, trails, sidewalks, bridges, ramps, bicycle lockers, storage and gates. [More]

Improved Transit Stops Draw More Passengers, as ‘Elite’ Shows
By SAUNDRA LAUTENBERG,Vice President, Operations, Trueform LLC

The time passengers spend waiting for a bus, trolley, or train often can make or break their larger transit experience and their perception of the public transit agency in general. As passengers wait, the infrastructure they encounter is the “shop window” for their evaluation of the quality of the transit service—and it offers the agency a chance to put its best foot forward. [More]

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