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Milestones: Transit Celebrates Anniversaries
Here’s a roundup of public transit agencies—and one business—celebrating major anniversaries.
TranSystems Corporation, based in Kansas City, MO, recently celebrated 50 years in business throughout its more than 30 offices nationwide.
In 1966, Herbert Johnson, Gerald Brickell and Edward Mulcahy formed JBM Associates Engineers and Planners as traffic experts to help the Kansas City area adapt to its growing transportation demands. Since then, TranSystems has expanded nationwide to offer transportation services encompassing the entire multimodal range.
Amtrak began its intercity rail operations 45 years ago. In an open letter on the rail system’s website, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman described how Congress created Amtrak in 1970. “The new company, formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, subsequently consolidated the services of more than a dozen railroads into a true national system—America’s Railroad,” he wrote.
Boardman reported the system’s advances over its history, including the introduction of Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor, electronic ticketing, mobile apps and Wi-Fi on trains carrying 91 percent of all customers.
The Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA), Lancaster, PA, recently commemorated its 40th anniversary by rededicating its downtown Queen Street Station in memory of James J. Lutz, a 29-year RRTA employee who died in 2013.
“RRTA is proud to be serving Lancaster County for 40 years,” said Dave Kilmer, executive director of the South Central Transit Authority, which oversees RRTA operations. “Lancaster County has been through many changes throughout the last 40 years and RRTA has been there through it all, providing vital transportation for our community.”
The agency has provided more than 80 million rides since its founding in 1976.
Community Transit, Snohomish County, WA, is highlighting the efforts of the employees and departments that keep its service running as it approaches the 40th anniversary of its launch on Oct. 4.
Under the theme “Bringing You Home,” Community Transit is displaying photos of its employees on social media, advertising and a traveling display. During visits to fairs, festivals and parades throughout the county, system employees are providing information about a major service expansion, including two new routes, that will take place in September.
At some events, the agency has displayed its popular “antique bus”—a 1959 GMC that was one of its original vehicles—with decorations marking the 40th anniversary. Cutouts of employees from throughout the agency are seated in the bus, creating a walk-through diorama.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) introduced the first 11 miles of its light rail system June 14, 1996, on two lines within the Dallas city limits. Now, 20 years later, DART Rail is 90 miles long—the longest U.S. light rail system—and has 62 stations in eight cities.
Also, the first 10 miles of the 35-mile Trinity Railway Express commuter rail line, operated jointly by DART and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, entered service Dec. 30 of that year.
DART launched a six-month customer celebration highlighting the two rail networks with multiple events on June 14.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) celebrated the 10th birthday of its Pink Line with a ceremony at the Clinton Station, followed by a ceremonial ride through the Loop by CTA officials including President Dorval R. Carter Jr. on board a train fully wrapped in pink.
“Ten years ago we launched Pink Line service with the goal of providing more access to rail service to customers on the city’s West Side,” Carter said. “Since then, the Pink Line has provided 50 million rides and we are proud of the important role it has served in connecting people, jobs and communities.”
The Pink Line received its name following a “Name the Line” contest held by the Chicago Transit Board, which invited area students to write essays recommending a color for the CTA’s newest rail line. The author of the winning essay, Eleni Vrettos—then in seventh grade and now a seventh-grade teacher—participated in the birthday celebration.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority recently recognized the 10th anniversary of its free downtown trolley service by decorating one of the vehicles and inviting drivers to dress in party gear. Header signs on the trolley-replica buses flashed the message “Happy Birthday Trolleys.”
The Denton County Transportation Authority, Lewisville, TX, offered free A-train day passes on June 18 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the service. The service has carried 2.6 million passengers to date, operating with low-floor Stadler GTW vehicles that share rail corridors with freight trains.