Passenger Transport - May 7, 2010
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Roelof van Ark Selected as CEO of California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority named Roelof van Ark as chief executive officer.

He currently serves as president of Alstom Transportation, a role he has held since 2005.  Alstom Transportation is the North American subsidiary of the French company Alstom, which built France's bullet trains.

Van Ark, 58, is a former executive for Siemens, an International high-speed train manufacturer, and General Electric.  APTA President William Miller lauded the appointment.  "I congratulate the Authority on this outstanding choice," said Millar.  "Roelof's proven track record and extensive experience is a major step forward for high-speed rail."

More details will follow in the May 24 issue of Passenger Transport.

Rogoff: $775 Million More for Bus State of Good Repair; Keynote Speaker at APTA Bus & Paratransit Cleveland Conference

BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

Peter M. Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), announced a new federal grant program offering $775 million in competitive grants for bus state of good repair—open to all bus operators, “large, small, urban, and rural”—during his keynote speech May 2 before an audience of approximately 630 transit professionals at the Opening General Session of the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Cleveland.

Rogoff discussed the new program in the context of possible flexibility regarding the use of federal public transit funding for operations. He explained that DOT and FTA are determined that assistance be “temporary and targeted” because they are trying to balance delivering “on the street” versus looking at the long-term capital needs of a system. Maintenance deferred long enough can become a critical safety issue, he said, but “if safety and the state of good repair are inextricably linked, as we know they are, what are we doing?”

The administrator spoke candidly about the current economic situation, and said: “I want to assure you that today’s FTA is facing these issues with our eyes wide open.”

He noted that one of his goals is to make FTA’s research office “more relevant to our analysis of what’s going on with transit in real time,” and pledged to continue improving the data collection and data reporting process. He said, “President Obama and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and I are much more concerned with what’s going on right now and in the future than what happened three years ago [how long it currently takes to collect data and publish it].”

Rogoff discussed the administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget recommendation, stating that “far and away the largest percentage increase is just for state of good repair.” He took pains to make clear that “FTA is equally focused on the state of good repair on the rail and the bus systems.” Under the proposed budget. the bus share will be no less than it is right now and would provide bus riders with a predictable stream of formula funding that currently does not exist.

“And this,” he added, “is where you say—‘but wait, there’s more!’” He then discussed livability grants, including $100 million available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development—which has a transit component because FTA worked with that agency—and said LaHood will announce $600 million in available intermodal grants through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

He concluded by thanking the participants for “showing that money in transit is money well spent.” Rogoff then said: “We need to step up our game even when financial times are hard—we need to do things harder and smarter. And as we are stepping up our game, we look forward to being your full partner as you step up yours.”

Challenging Year
APTA President William Millar opened the session. “Welcome to my hometown, the home of rock and roll,” he told the audience. “As Drew Carey would say, ‘Cleveland Rocks!’”

On a more serious note, he said, “If you’re feeling tired, you should. You’ve been doing great work in your communities, and that’s in spite of many, many challenges. You’ve responded like the champs you are.” Millar noted that FTA “really came through for us with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.”

He said: “Last year, arguably the worst year in our economy since the 1930s, 70 percent of voters walked into that voting place to raise their own taxes, to say ‘yes’ to public transit.” He added that people clearly support public transportation, saying, “We have the ballot evidence to support that statement.”

APTA Chair M.P. Carter spoke next, saying that ARRA funding support alone, “while we struggle with reduced revenue, is simply not enough.” In discussing her several initiatives, including passage of a new surface transportation authorization bill, Carter urged conference participants to tell their story about the benefits of public transportation to elected officials, those who “hold the purse strings.” She also stressed the need, echoing Millar, for increased federal investment in the industry.

Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelley told the audience: “We all want you to have a great time here in Cleveland—learn a lot, listen a lot, share a lot—and, of course, spend a lot, because we could use more sales tax for RTA [the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority]!” He then showed a video that emphasized public transportation, using the “Cleveland Rocks” theme song from The Drew Carey Show.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson spoke next, saying: “I firmly believe that public transportation is part of our future.”

Peter Lawson Jones, president of the Cuyahoga County Board of County Commissioners, praised Millar and Carter, adding: “I can’t believe that Congress won’t listen to their voices and respond affirmatively on behalf on public transportation.” He then thanked the conference participants, noting: “No other industry does what you do and has the impact on the daily lives of the men and women and children of our communities.”

Rick Sander, president and CEO of ISE Corporation, which sponsored the opening session, talked about the importance of environmentally “cleaning up our fleets.” He added: “We must embrace and accelerate reducing emissions.”

Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer for Daimler Buses North America—sponsor of that evening’s reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—welcomed the audience and noted that a zero-emission Orion bus was parked outside.

New Bus Guidelines Are Unveiled

At the Bus & Paratransit Conference in Cleveland on May 3, APTA unveiled its new, expanded, and comprehensively updated bus guidelines. It is anticipated that the use of these guidelines, first produced in 1997, will not only save money, but will also result in standardized implementation of quality.

For the first time, all of APTA’s Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines standards are now available in a single volume. The document represents all bus lengths, from 30-foot to 60-foot articulated models, and the dominant propulsion types. Working to put it together over the past several years were a broad range of people, including representatives from transit agencies of all sizes, OEMs, and the Federal Transit Administration.

Changes include opportunities to choose warranty extensions, the addition of excusable delays for manufacturers because of problems with third-party suppliers and contractors, and changes to fleet defect parameters.

Speakers at the conference session were in agreement that new, detailed definitions should prove very helpful. The goal, they said, was to provide a better profile so manufacturers could build a “better” bus.

Standards should also aid in minimizing waste and misunderstandings. One example focused on testing a cooling system, with all involved knowing the precise location of vents and thermostats, because placing these items in different locations would clearly yield different results.

APTA is currently seeking transit agencies interested in beta-testing the document for feedback. The final version representing all comments and input from the testing phase will be available at APTA’s 2010 Annual Meeting and concurrent Bus Technical, Maintenance and Procurement Workshop in October in San Antonio, TX.

A story in a future issue of Passenger Transport will provide additional details on the 11 sections comprising the volume.

To download the new draft guidelines, click here. Questions may be addressed to Jeff Hiott.

Metra Executive Director Pagano Dies

Phil Pagano, executive director of Chicago’s Metra commuter rail service since 1990, died on Friday, May 7.

Before joining Metra in 1984, Pagano held several professional and managerial positions at the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in Illinois. His last position at the RTA was director of program development and grants. Pagano had previously worked with the Bi-State Development Agency in St. Louis and the Toledo (OH) Area Regional Transit Authority.

Pagano was a past vice chair of APTA’s Commuter Rail Committee. He also served on the APTA Board of Directors as vice chair-commuter and intercity rail and on the National Steering Committee for Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible Community Transportation In Our Nation).

Metra released a statement Friday morning confirming Pagano’s death.

“It is with great sadness that we report the passing this morning of Philip A. Pagano,” said the statement from Metra’s board of directors. “Phil served this agency with distinction for many years. Today, we shall remember the good work he achieved with our board of directors and the men and woman of Metra. He was dedicated to our passengers and he always considered the men and women of Metra his family and there is a tremendous sense of loss within the agency. We shall remember him as a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather who loved his family more than anyone. Our deepest sympathies as well as our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and all those who loved him.”

“Phil led Metra to become one of the most respected rail operations in the world,” said APTA President William Millar.  “The APTA family sends our utmost sympathies to his family and his colleagues at Metra.  He will be missed.”

 

 

Livability Funds for Public Transit Crucial, LaHood, Donovan Tell Senate Subcommittee

Public transportation systems will have an opportunity to receive $307 million in the president's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget if Congress heeds the urging of DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The investments are intended to “refocus existing FTA [Federal Transit Administration] programs to expand transit access for low-income families, provide effective transportation alternative, and increase the planning and project development capabilities of local communities,” LaHood told the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 6, in his written testimony.

“Consolidating the Job Access and Reverse Commute formula grants, Alternatives Analysis grants, and formula grants for state and metropolitan planning will allow DOT to better coordinate efforts with HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop strategies that link quality public transportation with investments in smart development.”

Joining LaHood in testifying was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, who, like LaHood, described the progress their agencies have made in their livability partnership with EPA.

High-Speed Rail: Benefits, Challenges

BY JOHN R. BELL, Program Manager-Communications

The benefits of a future U.S. high-speed rail system, as well as possible impediments to financing and building such a system, were addressed at a May 4 panel discussion on Capitol Hill convened by the APTA and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

The panelists, speaking before a packed room, agreed on several points: high-speed rail service will enjoy a high level of ridership; it will provide significant economic benefits; and, so far, long-term federal capital investment is the critical missing piece of the puzzle.

Speakers cited reliable ridership studies showing that, given sufficient access, automobile users will switch to high-speed rail. Dr. Alex Metcalf, president of Transportation Economics and Management Systems, noted that such projections are kept within an accuracy range of around 20 percent, thanks in part to a system of healthy vigilance among the competitor firms that conduct such studies.

“In our business, it’s very tough, and there’s a lot of quality control going on,” said Metcalf, who formerly served as chief economist for British Rail. “The thing that worries me most,” he continued, “is that gas prices won’t rise as they’re forecast to do. We’re supposed to have come through the biggest recession since the 1930s”—yet the price of oil remains around $100 per barrel.

Even so, dedicated funding is imperative, said Patrick Simmons, rail division director for North Carolina DOT: “To build large-scale capital projects, you need dependable funding over a long period of time.”

At the same time, “the culture of American government is very risk-averse,” said Kevin Brubaker, deputy director at the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

One question that remains unresolved is pricing, according to the panelists. “There’s no common agreement” on the best strategy, said Dr. Emmanuel S. “Bruce” Horowitz, principal at ESH Consult.

On one hand, Amtrak’s Acela charges up to $1 per mile, he noted. However, the political pressure to ensure that high-speed rail is within the financial reach of as many riders as possible may mean that lower fares, more in line with conventional commuter rail—on the order of 20 cents per mile—will be the norm, at least at some times and on some routes.

Horowitz cited the need to break “a common misperception” that existing high-speed rail systems around the world have been built without governmental investment. Although some systems cover operating costs, none cover the cost of capital.

The Federal Railroad Administration made reforms in the late 1990s that will prove helpful to high-speed rail, said Metcalf. They allow proposals for high-speed rail to use a “positive operating ratio” and “positive cost-benefit ratio,” rather than establish profitability, noted Metcalf.

At the same time, there was discussion among the panelists about the cost of providing very high-speed service, at speeds attained by systems in Asia and Europe, alongside increases in ridership and other benefits.

Simmons noted that the recent federal investments in high-speed rail, although significant, are still far short of the investments made by other countries. “While $10.5 billion is a lot of money, the Chinese will spend that amount [on high-speed rail] in the next six weeks,” he said.

Petra Todorovich, director of the America 2050 Regional Plan Association, shared this viewpoint. “It frustrates and angers me that our elected leaders have not faced up to the fact that they’re going to have to raise the gas tax,” said Todorovich.

Despite the challenges, the panelists were optimistic about the future of high-speed rail. “People want to ride trains, and they will,” said Simmons. “It’s a hit. It’s a winner.”

Mineta Institute Report Examines Rail Attacks

The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a research report titled Off the Rails: The 1995 Attempted Derailing of the French TGV (High-Speed Train) and a Quantitative Analysis of 181 Rail Sabotage Attempts, reporting on ways high-speed rail operators can keep their services secure from possible attack: for example, physical barriers, surveillance, alarms, and cyber security to prevent tampering with electronic controls.

Authors Michael Jenkins, Bruce Butterworth, and Jean-François Clair state: “Rail lines are obviously vulnerable to sabotage. They are easily observable, accessible, and difficult to protect.”

However, “Despite the vulnerability of rail lines, terrorists have attempted far fewer derailments than attacks on train stations or on trains themselves ….”

The attack on the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) between Lyon and Paris on Aug. 26, 1995, involved the planting of a bomb to cause a derailment.

But the triggering mechanism failed to set off the bomb, and subsequent analysis showed that even if the bomb had gone off, it would not have derailed the train.

The authors noted that they collected and analyzed information regarding recent attacks on trains in Europe and Asia to help U.S. leaders develop ways to prevent such attacks, aid in response and recovery, and address the psychological impacts of attacks to business continuity.

“The United States must systematically conduct research on terrorist strikes against transportation targets to distill lessons learned and determine the best practices for deterrence, response, and recovery.”

The full text of the report is available online.

Visiting the Senator’s Office

APTA members visited the Cleveland office of Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) during the Bus & Paratransit Conference. From left are John Woodford of First Transit; the senator’s district director, Diane Downing; Shannon Young of North American Bus Industries; Cliff Henke of Parsons Brinckerhoff; Joseph Calabrese, chief executive officer and general manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; and Michael Melaniphy of Motor Coach Industries.

Walk & Roll

Dozens of APTA members donned yellow T-shirts to participate in the first-ever Walk & Roll event, held in Cleveland at APTA’s Bus and Paratransit Conference, designed to include all individuals who wanted to participate.

 

TriMet Promotes McFarlane to General Manager Post

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) in Portland has promoted Neil McFarlane, the agency’s executive director for capital projects since 1998, to be its next general manager. He will succeed Fred Hansen, who has served in the post for more than 11 years and will step down June 30.

TriMet Board President George Passadore said the board selected McFarlane after a national search both inside and outside the transit industry. “Neil knows our region and its leaders extensively, and has a track record for innovation and success,” said Passadore. “Neil’s leadership and connections with transit and the region will help TriMet be successful in expanding transit service to meet the needs of this growing region.”

While in his current position, McFarlane led the development, design, and construction of TriMet’s capital facilities, including the Airport, Interstate, I-205 and Portland Mall MAX light rail extensions. He served as the agency’s project control director for the 18-mile, $963 million Westside light rail project from 1991 to 1998. Before coming to TriMet, McFarlane worked for Metro, the regional metropolitan government for the Portland area, and helped manage construction for the 500,000-square-foot, $90 million Oregon Convention Center.

He holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California at Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

Schrader New Chairman of PB

Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has announced the appointment of Richard A. Schrader as its next chairman. He succeeds Keith J. Hawksworth, who is retiring after 33 years with the firm.

In his new position, Schrader, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer, will provide broad policy oversight for PB and will undertake additional duties in service of the broader Balfour Beatty Group. Other members of the PB Board of Directors are George J. Pierson, chief executive officer (CEO), and Ashok Kothari, a 35-year PB employee and longtime board member.

Schrader joined PB in 1983 and has served on its board since 1992. Earlier, he served 11 years on active military duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with assignments on military construction projects. He has also served on the faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point as assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences.

Hawksworth, who joined PB in 1976, served as CEO from December 2007 through December 2009 and during that time led a strategic planning process that resulted in PB’s October 2009 merger with Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure group operating in professional services, construction services, support services and infrastructure investments.

He also served as chief operating officer of PB’s international division and head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific operations.

New Flyer Acquires TCB Industries

New Flyer Industries Inc. announced its acquisition, through a wholly owned subsidiary, of TCB Industries LLC of Elkhart, IN. The acquisition price was approximately $1 million and the purchased business will be operated by New Flyer’s subsidiary, TCB Enterprises LLC.

TCB is a designer and manufacturer of interior LED lighting systems, grab rails and seamless stanchions, drivers’ barriers, and other bus parts. Tony Cunnane, a former longtime employee of MTA New York City Transit, and Bob Loper, founder of B&R Mirrors in Elkhart, established TCB in 2004 and will continue to operate and grow the business.

“Since its inception, TCB has been an important supplier to New Flyer,” said David White, New Flyer’s executive vice president, supply management. “With this new business, New Flyer can fully leverage the intellectual property, capabilities, and product offering of TCB and increase the benefits that our bus products provide to our customers.”

As part of the purchase of TCB, New Flyer also entered into a memorandum of understanding with Franz Kiel GmbH of Germany (“Kiel”), a manufacturer of transit vehicle seats in Europe, for a supply arrangement with the distribution rights to Kiel passenger seats for city transit buses through Kiel NA LLC.

U.S. Transit Agencies Share Earth Day Message

As sustainability and environmental protection become increasingly important, public transportation agencies throughout the U.S. joined APTA April 22—the 40th annual celebration of Earth Day—to make sure that transit is an integral part of a green society.

APTA provided an Earth Day Toolkit to assist its members, participating in the “I am E” advertising campaign featuring celebrities and everyday transit users.

Here are a few examples of APTA members “telling their story” about the green benefits of public transit.

 

 

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD) in Stockton, CA, participated in the “I am E” campaign with mini-tail ads and internal ad cards on its buses, as well as its web site and in a full-page ad in the local newspaper’s special Earth Day supplement. Hybrid buses account for more than 40 percent of the agency’s Stockton metropolitan area and intercity bus fleet. SJRTD also joined California DOT and the San Joaquin Council of Governments Commute Connection in hosting booths at the San Joaquin Delta College’s Earth Day event.

To share its story of how compressed natural gas engines help bring cleaner air to the region, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) scrolled the message “Earth Day Ride CNG” on its digital bus head board signs all day April 21 and 22. Robert Johnson, pictured, electronics shop supervisor, and Terrence James, shop technician, programmed the message on 170 buses. The T also participated in the national “I am E” campaign through photo opportunities, its Facebook fan page, and ads.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) marked Earth Day April 18 by providing free service from Public Square to EarthFest at the Metroparks Zoo. As one of the sponsors of EarthFest, Ohio’s largest educational environmental event, GCRTA moved visitors on clean diesel buses equipped with bike racks; provided free admission passes for the zoo; and showed a display featuring its educational community bus. The agency powers its fleet with environmentally friendly fuels—electric rail cars and clean diesel and hybrid-electric buses.


The Hartford Division of Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT) displayed its 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell bus—the only one in transit operation outside California—April 21 outside the Connecticut Science Center. CTTRANSIT awaits the arrival of four more fuel cell buses later this year; is preparing to introduce to service its first 60-foot articulated buses and 41 hybrid-electric vehicles; and operates its bus fleet with 5 percent biodiesel fuel and is installing diesel particulate filters to help them run cleaner.

 

 

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in Oakland, CA, unveiled its newest green effort—the BART Police Bike Patrol Pilot Program—April 21 at the North Berkeley BART Station, in conjunction with the Earth Day observance. Through this program, BART officers and Community Service Officers set aside their gas-guzzling police cars and instead patrol using pollution-free pedal power—also providing the benefit of a more accessible and visible police force.

The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) in Lansing, MI, dedicated its newest two diesel-electric hybrid paratransit vehicles during an April 19 event for the Green Star Initiative, which recognizes businesses (including CATA) that are making an effort to “green” their operations and community by reducing waste, recycling, and offering eco-friendly products and services. From left are Meridian Township Supervisor Susan McGillicuddy; state Rep. Mark Meadows; Meridian Commercial Recycling Group representatives Malinda Barr and Dennis Louney; and CATA CEO/Executive Director Sandy Draggoo.

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, challenged the residents of central Texas to “Take a Step in the Right Direction” on Earth Day by using alternative transportation: riding transit, carpooling, bicycling, or walking.

“Whether it’s by taking the bus, train, or vanpool, using Capital Metro reduces Austin’s carbon footprint. Driving less and riding transit protects our environment and our quality of life,” said Doug Allen, Capital Metro interim president/chief executive officer.


As part of its preparations for Earth Day, Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, released the new Snohomish County Area Bicycling & Trail Map. The map made its formal debut April 29 at the Bike to Work Kick-Off Expo at the Everett Public Schools’ Longfellow Annex in Everett, WA.

The map—the fifth edition since 2004—includes detailed information on the Centennial and Interurban trails, and shows roads commonly used by bicyclists. Community sponsors covered the printing costs for this edition.


The Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS) in Muncie, IN, offered free rides all day Earth Day. Also in April, MITS welcomed five new hybrid electric-soy biodiesel buses to its fleet, replacing old buses that had exceeded their useful life.

The agency used federal funds to purchase the five new hybrid buses, including Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Surface Transportation Program, and FTA discretionary capital funds; only about 8 percent of the funds came from local resources.


Seven public transportation agencies in the Chicago region released an Earth Day XL Accord as a result of an Earth Day XL Transportation Summit April 22, held to improve coordination among the region’s transportation leaders. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commended the participants in the program, calling the accord “the first step toward introducing greener, more sustainable transportation practices to better serve our region, today and into the future.” Quinn added: “By signing the Earth Day Transportation Accord, our transportation leaders have committed to operational excellence and long-term environmental preservation.”

Almost 100 agency heads and board members participated in the summit, led by the chairs of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Tollway, Metra commuter rail, Pace Suburban Bus, Regional Transportation Authority, and Illinois DOT.

 

Juan Marzeleno, second from left, a senior at Trevor G. Browne High School in Phoenix, created the winning bus wrap for Valley Metro. Joining the artist in front of the vehicle, with the theme “The Wheels on the Bus Make the Earth Go Green,” are, from left, Councilmember Michael Johnson, chair of the Valley Metro board; high school principal Gabriel Trujillo; and Valley Metro RPTA Executive Director David Boggs. The agency selected Marzeleno’s design from more than 125 entries.


Public transit riders in the four-county Puget Sound region celebrated the first anniversary of the One Regional Card for All (ORCA) smart card on April 20. Almost 200,000 riders use ORCA on an average weekday. The seven participating agencies are Community Transit in Snohomish County; Everett Transit in Everett; King County Metro Transit in Seattle; Kitsap Transit in Bremerton; Pierce Transit in Lakewood; Sound Transit in Seattle; and Washington State Ferries. ORCA is also good on the King County Water Taxis.

“We’d like to thank the growing crowd of ORCA users. For those who don’t have ORCA yet, there’s no better time than Earth Day to get ORCA and start taking transportation instead of driving,” said Joni Earl, ORCA joint board chair and Sound Transit chief executive officer.







State of Florida Wins Top Honor at Bus Roadeo

Award presentations are a major component of the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference, recognizing the top operators and maintenance teams, the agencies with the strongest safety records, and the leaders in superior customer service. Here is a roundup of the award winners.

International Bus Roadeo
The State of Florida (Broward County & LYNX) earned the Grand Champion Award for its overall performance at the 35th International Bus Roadeo held May 2 in Cleveland, presented at the May 4 Roadeo Banquet. This award recognizes the bus operator and maintenance team that has the highest combined score.

Contributing to the overall win for the State of Florida were the first-place LYNX maintenance team from Orlando, consisting of Chris Balroop, Hemo Harnanan, and Harryram Mootoo. In addition, Rendol Whidden of Broward County in Pompano Beach ranked second among drivers in the 40-foot bus competition.

 

 

Representatives of the State of Florida (Broward County & LYNX) accept the Grand Champion Award at the 2010 Bus Roadeo Banquet. From left are APTA Chair M.P. Carter; APTA Vice Chair-Bus and Paratransit Operations Joyce Eleanor; LYNX Maintenance Trainer Brian Ruppert; Broward County Transit Supervisor Carmen Arnoni; LYNX Chief Operating Officer Lisa Darnall; Broward County Transit Operator Rendol Whidden, who placed second among drivers of 40-foot buses, and his wife; Colen Mootoo; Avi Mootoo; Harryram Mootoo, a member of the first-place LYNX maintenance team; Dianne Balroop; LYNX maintenance team member Chris Balroop; Sai Balroop; LYNX maintenance team member Hemo Harnanan; Pooran Harnanan; LYNX operator Pablo Perez; and APTA President William Millar

The LYNX maintenance team placed first in roadeo competition. From left are Carter; Eleanor; Lisa Darnall, LYNX chief operating officer; Pooran Harnanan; LYNX Maintenance Trainer Brian Ruppert; team members Harryram Mootoo, Chris Balroop, and Hemo Harnanan; and Millar.

Frank Gonzales of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County beat out 38 other competitors to win first place in the 40-foot bus competition. Third place went to Zenon John Rinylo of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia.

Among operators of 30-foot buses, Abdel Kadar Tenouri of StarTran/Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX, took first place, followed by Howard Yoder of the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus, and Julian Carranza Jr. of the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, TX. Fifteen bus operators competed.

 

 

Houston’s Frank Gonzales, fourth from right, received the first-place honor among operators of 40-foot buses. From left are Carter; Eleanor; Houston Metro Manager of Transportation Training Santiago Osorio; Mark Anderson (in back), president of Vigil Systems; Metro Senior Director of Transportation Tangee Mobley; Metro Superintendent of Transportation Jo Ann Petitt; Millar; and Vigil Systems Chief Executive Officer Ian Haynes.

First place among operators of 30-foot buses went to Abdel Kadar Tenouri of StarTran/Capital Metro, third from right. He is shown with, from left, Eleanor; Carter; Mark Anderson of Vigil Solutions; Dottie Watkins, director of transportation for StarTran Inc.; Brian Whelan, StarTran director operations staff development; Millar; and Ian Haynes of Vigil Solutions.

The maintenance competition tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly. Of the 25 competing teams, VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, TX—Phillip Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal--earned a second-place finish and Steve Hanks, Joe Hulett, and Howard Evans, representing Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, placed third.

Houston Metro’s Gonzales also took first place in the fifth annual Customer Service Challenge Awards, which judges professionalism, customer service skills, and problem-solving creativity. Raymond Robertson III of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, TX, earned a second-place finish.

 

Frank Gonzeles, winner of the Customer Service Challenge, participates in a scenario to test his customer service skills.

Bus Safety Awards
Joyce Eleanor, APTA vice chair-bus and paratransit operations and chief executive officer of Community Transit, announced the recipients of the 2010 Bus Safety and Security Awards during the May 3 Opening General Session. Before calling the winners to the stage, she said: “New this year, we’ll be presenting excellence in security and safety programs. It is not enough that our systems be economical, lean, and convenient. We must first be safe.”

The awards, presented in three categories determined by annual ridership, recognize public transportation organizations for their safety and security programs and dedication to improving safety and security. The top honor is the Gold Award, given to organizations with the best overall bus safety or bus security program. Organizations in recognition of exceptional achievement in safety or security receive a Certificate of Merit.

The following public transit agencies received awards for 2010:

Category I, bus systems with fewer than four million passenger trips annually: Gold Award for Safety, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Burnsville, MN; Gold Award for Security, Go West Transit, Macomb, IL; Certificate of Merit for Security, SouthWest Transit, Eden Prairie, MN.

Category II, bus systems with more than four million and fewer than 20 million passenger trips annually: Gold Award for Safety, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Nashville; Certificate of Merit for Safety, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Cincinnati, OH; Gold Award for Security, Community Transit, Snohomish County, WA.

Category III, bus systems with 20 million or more annual passenger trips: Gold Award for Safety, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; Certificates of Merit for Safety, Connecticut Transit, Hartford, CT, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Gold Award for Security, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange, CA.

Host Forum: Working Smarter, Conserving Resources

BY SARAH HOLLANDER, For Passenger Transport

Shorter waits for phone callers, more miles between bus breakdowns, less overtime: these are just a few of the results the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) attributed to data-driven performance management at its May 3 Host Forum during the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference.

Gale Fisk, executive director of GCRTA’s Office of Management and Budget, explained how the agency improved service and saved $15 million over a two-year period by using a strategy called TransitStat. Fisk noted that TransitStat challenges the status quo: “People used to give the same tried and true urban legends for reasons. That doesn’t work anymore. Now you’ve got to back up what you say with real data.”

TransitStat isn’t a software: it’s a philosophy, a way of using data to spot trends, dig for causes, and suggest solutions, said Dr. Floun’say R. Caver, GCRTA’s director of quality service. “You already own everything you need to start this program,” he said.

The authority based TransitStat on successful PerformanceStat projects at other public agencies. The New York Police Department first used the process in the mid-1990s to identify and tackle crime trends. Baltimore followed, using the system to improve efficiency on everything from filling potholes to collecting trash and replacing street lights.

In Cleveland, a TransitStat team of GCRTA representatives meets weekly. For example, the group focused on a significant problem with overtime, analyzing the situation by the workers, work type, and cause. By shifting schedules and making other changes, the agency shaved $2.3 million from its overtime budget this year.

GCRTA also used TransitStat to investigate a growing problem with bus breakdowns. Planners had 60 days to analyze the problem and try to turn the trend around. They reviewed reasons for tow calls, shifts and procedures at maintenance garages, and employee complaints about part availability and inspection gaps.

By shifting employees to late evening and early morning hours and making other changes, GCRTA reduced its backlog of work orders by 65 percent, cut towing costs by $150,000 a year, and increased average miles between service interruptions to more than 8,000.

A similar effort helped improve service at GCRTA’s telephone information center. In 2008, the agency lost nearly 30 percent of calls because of customer hangups. A review found that staff were taking more than three minutes to answer calls. With no money for more staff, GCRTA looked for other solutions.

The agency reviewed schedules and breaks, defined objectives, and aligned work shifts with call volumes. Detailed weekly performance reviews help employees monitor their progress. The department also began meeting biweekly to create a team-based culture where employees can share tips for moving calls along. As a result, the same number of employees answered 11 percent more calls the next year.

After mining data for the source of problems, GCRTA strives to deploy resources quickly and follow up relentlessly, said Joseph A. Calabrese, chief executive officer and general manager/secretary-treasurer.

Fisk agreed. “We’re not victims,” he said. “We can actually manage. We can generate change.”

Benefits of Branding
In another presentation at the forum, GCRTA detailed successes with creating brands for three of its services—free downtown shuttles, park-and-ride motorcoaches, and HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit. Creating separate identities has helped attract new customers, said Stephen Bitto, director of marketing.

For example, the park-and-ride commuter coaches feature high-backed comfortable chairs, drop-down tables, and real-time station information on bus arrival times.

GCRTA has seen average daily downtown ridership increase from 800 on its former loop bus service to 3,500 to 5,000 on its current trolley-replica buses. The agency also picked especially friendly drivers for the two downtown shuttle routes, which operate free through sponsorship by a local bank.

The agency bought the city’s first articulated buses for the BRT HealthLine, which run in dedicated median lanes and boast extensive public art and landscaping. The sale of naming rights to two area hospital systems helps pay for maintenance.

For all three services, GCRTA’s goal is to exceed expectations in the face of sometimes derogatory opinions about public transportation.

“Our feeling is, if you get them on board the first time, they won’t want to get off,” Bitto said.

Buoniconti Shares Insights at ‘Champion’ Forum

BY SARAH HOLLANDER, For Passenger Transport

Twenty-four years ago, Marc Buoniconti walked onto a football field the way he’d done hundreds of times before. This particular game, however, changed his life forever.

Buoniconti, a college student at The Citadel in South Carolina, went in for a tackle. He fell hard and instantly realized that something was wrong, very wrong.

At age 19, Buoniconti was paralyzed from the neck down.

“In a split second I went from the best shape of my life to fighting for my life,” he told the audience May 4 at a General Forum, “Telling the Story of a Champion,” during the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Cleveland. APTA’s business members sponsored the forum.

Buoniconti’s family searched for a spinal cord injury specialist and found Dr. Barth Green. Since then, the family and Green have teamed up on The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, involving more than 250 researchers at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

In addition to raising money for the project, Buoniconti, a psychology graduate of the University of Miami, is an advocate for accessible transportation.

“Transportation is the cornerstone of true independence for all Americans,” he said. “The disabled community relies on accessible transportation for every major facet of their lives.”

Buoniconti was a member of a citizens’ transportation advisory group charged with overseeing use of a tax for transit projects in Miami-Dade County. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist also asked him to serve on a commission to explore ways to improve life for persons with disabilities, which included transportation.

He praised APTA members for their continued support of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Today, and every day, let’s renew our commitment,” he said.

Millions of persons with disabilities still have trouble getting where they need to go, he said, calling for transit providers to make sure they allow for spontaneity and better coordination with other social services.

“Life brings difficulties and hardships to everyone,” he said. “But it also brings opportunities to become a positive force for change.”

Recalling his tragic accident, Buoniconti said: “One day I was a normal kid, thinking about sports, school, and girls. The next, I was an advocate for people with spinal cord injuries.”

In a video about The Miami Project, Buoniconti’s father, Hall of Fame linebacker and former Miami Dolphin Nick Buoniconti, compared the search for a cure with America’s reach for the moon four decades ago. “It’s no longer a glimmer of hope,” he said. “We have the knowledge. We have the manpower and the technology.”

Progress is ongoing and uplifting, Buoniconti said. The Miami Project is on the verge of starting human trials for a cell and drug treatment that has shown promise in animal tests, he noted: “We are confident we’ll receive permission, not in 10 years, not in five years, but this year.”

In the meantime, scientists in the project are searching for ways to improve quality of life. Research continues on everything from cell regeneration and transplantation to exercise, bladder and bowel functions, and weight resistance training, for example. Buoniconti also pointed out that scientists have discovered ways to protect the spinal cord after injury, such as lowering body temperature to preserve vital tissue.

Operators, Suppliers Consider the Tight Market

BY SARAH HOLLANDER, For Passenger Transport

Public transit riders know when their bus no longer shows up—but they might not know why.

Even in the best of times, most bus and rail riders don’t comprehend public transit financing, according to panelists at the May 5 closing session of the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Cleveland.

“Many of the people we deal with simply don’t understand our business,” said Joseph A. Calabrese, chief executive officer of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (GCRTA). Now, with the tight economy on one hand and help from federal stimulus dollars on the other, educating transit users is even more challenging: for example, customers want to know why transit agencies are building new stations and buying shiny new buses while they’re cutting services and raising fares.

Communication is key, and not just with customers, but with the companies that sell products and services to the agencies. The public and private sectors need to work together more than ever to make it through these tough times, said Angela Iannuzziello, APTA vice chair-Canadian members and vice president of transit and transportation planning for GENIVAR.

Panelists shared some examples of how they’re coping with the economy and telling their stories to the community.

Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, described its reliance on face-to-face meetings with city councils and business leaders, along with a YouTube video targeting the general public.

Many people don’t know that their fares pay only a portion of expenses, and that while federal money is available, it’s earmarked for specific projects, said Joyce Eleanor, the agency’s chief executive officer. “People, if they really listen, will understand,” she explained.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) used a more graphic approach, painting temporary “X”s on buses whose service would be cut without federal funding remedies. The public “could see the full magnitude in black and white,” said Dwight Ferrell, chief operating officer and deputy general manager.

In Cleveland, GCRTA videotaped public meetings concerning service cuts and forwarded comments (“If I lose this service, I’ll lose my job...”) to elected officials.

Many agencies depend heavily on sales taxes, which are in free fall across the country, to cover their operating costs. Customers need to know this, said Doug Douglas, vice president of transit services for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

The agencies also cited their efforts to lessen the blow by getting ahead of problems. MARTA reviewed outsourced jobs and brought some back in-house, while GCRTA examined overtime, use of company cars, and additional potential cost savings before announcing cuts.

Other agencies have started asking vendors for discounts—but APTA First Vice Chair Michael J. Scanlon, general manager and chief executive officer of the San Mateo County Transit District in San Carlos, CA, warned against putting too much emphasis on this strategy. “Business people are in deep trouble, too,” Scanlon pointed out. “This is not one-sided.”

Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer for Daimler Buses North America, suggested that agencies think long term. Companies may be willing to cut agencies some breaks now, with longer-term commitments providing some quid pro quo as a carrot.

Saundra Lautenberg, vice president of Trueform’s North American operations, urged agencies to remember the big picture. She explained that transit agencies should not scrimp on capital improvements—which are eligible for federal funding and can save money over time. She also reminded session participants to consider quality, not just upfront cost: “Cheapest is not always best.”

Transit agencies can help keep competition in play by paying their contractors promptly, said Lautenberg. “It’s very important to look at these times as a partnership,” she said. “Every time another business folds, you lose.”

With all the players tightening their belts, now is a good time to rethink the way transportation money is appropriated and to brainstorm about alternative financing opportunities, said David Turney, chairman and chief executive officer of DRI Corp.

In the meantime, panelists said they remain committed to providing clean and quality service.

“Despite all the doom and gloom, we still want to be better,” Ferrell said.

Calabrese suggested that transit agencies consider how they’ll shift gears and spread more positive news once the economy begins to improve. “I’ll be one of the biggest whiners and complainers you’ll ever see,” he said, “but we need to start thinking about an exit strategy. We’re still doing great things.”

 

 

The first panel at the closing General Session featured, from left, Michael J. Scanlon, Joseph A. Calabrese, Dwight Ferrell, Joyce Eleanor, and Doug Douglas.

Additional speakers during the May 5 closing session, “Dealing with the Downturn,” included, from left, Angela Iannuzziello, David Turney, Don Leidy of Maintenance Design Group, Patrick Scully, and Saundra Lautenberg.

 

 

 

Additional Scenes from the Bus Conference

 

Here are a few additional scenes from the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Cleveland.

All conference photos by Sam Adamo

 

 

The May 3 Bus Display brought together a broad sampling of bus and paratransit vehicles of different sizes and varieties of engines. 

Speakers at the Opening General Session included, from left: seated, Joyce Eleanor, APTA vice chair-bus and paratransit operations; Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer for Daimler Buses North America; APTA Chair M.P. Carter; and GCRTA Board Member Jesse O. Anderson; standing, Rick Sander, president and CEO of ISE Corporation; Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward J. Kelley, also GCRTA board vice president; FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff; Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson; and APTA President William Millar.


 

 

 

Conference participants gathered at the entrance of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum prior to attending the Welcoming Reception.

After the International Bus Roadeo, competitors joined together at the Swap Meet to exchange souvenirs (including T-shirts and key chains) from their respective transit agencies.

 

 

 

Transit professionals thronged the Cleveland Convention Center, the site of APTA’s biggest Product Showcase ever at a bus conference. There were 134 booths, with exhibitors demonstrating an array of products—from LED signs to seating to engine parts to data collection. Expert personnel were on hand to answer questions about the latest innovations in the world of bus equipment and services.

The showcase gave visitors an opportunity to obtain hands-on experience with new technologies.


 


 

Transit Is About Creating Jobs, Not Ideology

BY ROGER CARON, President, Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, and JEFF VAN KONINGSVELD, President, IBEW Local 430, and Co-Chair, Racine Transit Task Force

This commentary originally appeared March 22, 2010, on the Racine Post web site, Racine, WI. Reprinted by permission.

Transit is about economic growth and jobs—JOBS, not ideology.

If we want jobs and a stronger economy, we must pass Regional Transit Authority legislation in Wisconsin and not let politics hinder progress and prosperity. Let’s take constructive action that will build us up as a county and region.

Lower the volume on all the fear and misinformation and an alarming fact still rings clear: we have the second highest unemployment rate in the state. There’s no denying that we must do something about jobs and unemployment.

Nor can we deny government’s responsibility to serve the people. All transportation modes, not just roads, are the responsibility of government. Individuals can’t get our faltering bus system in order; our leaders must. The only way we can effectively develop the transit we need to strengthen our economic future is through cooperation and a regional effort.

Racine CEOs testified at an Assembly hearing in Madison recently that passing RTA legislation would be the single most productive action our representatives can take to impact job creation and cultivate economic growth while also allowing us to adequately fund bus service, the cornerstone of any regional transit system.

Ideological differences and political positioning are creating an environment that’s hindering wise investment of our resources in transit projects that leverage significant private dollars and federal funds to create jobs and get people connected to jobs. Left unused, this federal money goes to other states and regions. Isn’t it time we started to finally get our fair share of the dollars we send to Washington?

Besides allowing us to improve deteriorating bus transit, the RTA bill is necessary for securing federal funding for KRM [Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee] commuter rail, which would network with buses to expand connections to economic opportunities in other areas. KRM will also help make us more competitive with places such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, and other peer metro areas in attracting jobs and businesses.

For the short term, simply building the KRM line, along with projected growth around the project, will create nearly 4,700 jobs. In addition, KRM will help support the creation of another 71,000 jobs linked to both short- and long-term development.

Although these jobs are in and near Racine and along the KRM corridor, they impact everyone. The people working them will be from all parts of the county. And, as the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission notes, everyone will gain access to over 1 million jobs within the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor as a result of better bus connections and KRM.

Some people have voiced doubt about KRM ridership projections of over 2 million passengers a year. Ridership figures are modest and based on years of highly scrutinized studies. The projection methodology and formulas (required by the Federal Transit Administration) are purposely very conservative. Ridership results for most new transit lines using the same required methodology have exceeded estimates far sooner than expected, as evidenced in Phoenix, Charlotte, Minneapolis and many other metro areas.

Looking at other areas shows there are tax base benefits too. For example, in addition to helping create 91,000 permanent jobs by this year, Metrorail in Northern Virginia will also generate $2.1 billion in tax revenue, 26.8 million square feet of commercial development, and 31,000 additional residential units, according to the Urban Land Institute.

And while the naysayer might note Racine is not Northern Virginia, nor are we some dustbowl town with no vision and no future—that is unless we choose to let ideological bickering and political acrimony get in our way.

Locally, KRM train stations, including two here in Racine County, are projected to similarly spur increased property values by an estimated $7.8 billion and generate $750 million increase in retail sales over 25 years.

And the public decidedly favors RTA passage. That hearing in Madison we mentioned earlier drew a broadly representative overflow crowd, many of them from our local communities, and yielded seven hours of testimony. Just one person voiced only mild opposition, a clear indication that this is not a partisan issue. Why make it one?

Let’s tell our legislators to get the RTA bill—a jobs bill—done now. We all need to stand up and support our legislators that advocate for this very important, forward-thinking legislation!

Clarification

We would like to clarify an item that ran in the April 26 issue of Passenger Transport. The Eagle P3 rail project in Colorado does not involve the town of Eagle; the East Line will link Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport and the Gold Line will link Denver Union Station and the northwest suburbs of Arvada and Wheat Ridge. We regret the error.

American Seating Recipient of Two Design Awards

American Seating recently accepted international design awards on behalf of two of its transportation seating designs.

The company’s InSight® product line received the 2010 iF (International Forum) product design award, presented in Hanover, Germany. It was one of 778 products honored from among 2,486 entries from 39 different countries; other winning companies included BMW, Sony, Apple, and Porsche. The product line features a slim-line, one-piece sculpted seat module; the choice of high-back and fabric-back models; and a generous personal sitting area and legroom.

The 2009 International Good Design Awards, presented by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, recognized American Seating’s Vision™ product in its transportation category. The contoured stainless steel seat, usable in bus or rail settings, was selected from 3,000 submissions after being reviewed by a panel of 70 design judges.

Partnership with Fashion Institute Leads to New Transit Museum Annex at Grand Central

The New York Transit Museum opened its newly renovated Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal with an exhibit showcasing archeological finds at the site of the reconstructed South Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan—but the new facility is itself noteworthy for the partnership with graduate students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) that led to its updated design.

Ten students in the institute’s graduate program in exhibition design took on the challenge of renovating the space, including developing proposals that were displayed at the museum’s Grand Central Gallery. A committee comprising FIT and museum staff ultimately selected the design of Cuong Nguyen, which was then adapted by MTA Metro-North Railroad architects. Construction began in January following the closing of the museum’s popular Holiday Train Show.

The museum’s first store at Grand Central opened in 1993 in a site originally occupied by an automatic teller machine and designed pro bono by the graphic design firm Doyle Partners. MTA New York City Transit trade workers used surplus transit station rehab materials to construct the space. Following the renovation of Grand Central Terminal in 1999, the store reopened in a new location, adding a 1,000-square-foot gallery to showcase changing exhibitions produced by the transit museum.

Total merchandise revenue for the museum’s stores at the Brooklyn flagship, Grand Central, and online is close to $2 million per year, or nearly half the museum’s annual budget.

 

King County Metro Transit Selects Eurotech Mobile Router

King County Metro Transit in Seattle has entered into a 24-month contract with Eurotech, valued at more than $7.5 million, for installation of the DuraMAR Mobile Access Router in more than 1,000 buses. This hardware will enable wireless communication with diverse on-board systems—such as vehicle diagnostics, Global Positioning Satellite systems, and fare collection—through a single router installed on each bus.

The router will allow a seamless connection between King County Metro’s vehicles and the agency’s IP network through a wireless corridor or an optional integrated cellular modem. Among its properties, it can be used to transfer electronic fare payments and other operational data to and from transit buses; provide seamless network roaming for transit signal priority operation and the display of bus departure information on electronic signs along selected corridors; and improve transit security by supporting the expanded use of on-board digital video cameras.

AdWheel Entries Due June 4

APTA is accepting nominations through June 4 for the 2010 AdWheel Awards competition.

The annual awards recognize excellence in public transportation marketing, advertising, promotion, and communications.

Each year, public transit systems and APTA business members compete in various categories to determine the best of the best in public transit marketing and communications. Transit agencies are judged in categories based on the number of rides they provide each year.

For the first time, this year’s AdWheel competition includes a new category devoted to social media. It joins the four existing award categories: Print Media, Electronic Media, Campaign, and Special Event. This year’s competition also features a niche category, which will honor the best entry showcasing APTA Chair M.P. Carter’s signature initiative, “Telling Our Story.”

More information about AdWheel is available here.

More Speakers for Rail Conference

APTA has announced that Dr. Rick Hartley, an expert in nuclear safety, will keynote the June 9 Closing General Session at the 2010 APTA Rail Conference, June 6-9 in Vancouver, BC. Hartley is principal engineer with B&W Pantex, a nuclear security firm that works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Rail Safety Leadership for High Reliability Organizations” is the theme of the session.

Although rail systems are proactive in their safety preparations and responsibilities, the impact of a single failure can propagate exponentially with severe consequences on cost, policy, and public perception, both regionally and nationally. This session will consider ways that rail operators can build a high-reliability organization for a high-consequence environment.

Also, a session on managing maintenance error has been added to the schedule for the same afternoon. Members of the APTA Standards and Safety Group will lead this interactive session on the role of management in the mitigation of maintenance errors leading to high-consequence events.

Make plans now to attend this conference, which includes the International Rail Rodeo. More information is available online.

Dump the Pump Day Is June 17; Public Transit Systems Plan Events to Show Cost Savings

We’re gearing up for the fifth annual National Dump the Pump Day on June 17! Tell us your story on how you are highlighting the many benefits of taking public transportation.

As the national average gasoline price has again risen to nearly $3 per gallon—with further summertime increases very possible—many Americans are looking for ways to save money. Using public transportation can save a household more than $9,000 per year—more than the average family spends on food.

Last year’s Dump the Pump Day was a rousing success, with more than 100 public transportation systems participating. In the past, some systems and organizations have held contests, some offered free rides, and others conducted outreach campaigns.

For example, in Akron, OH, Metro Regional Transit Authority staffers boarded random buses to give prizes to lucky riders.

In San Jose, CA, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority held a contest for riders to submit stories about why they have dumped the pump, with the winners receiving free tickets to the local jazz festival.

The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) in Fort Wright conducted a “TANK God it’s Friday” promotion with a local radio station. The station placed a van at a different park-and-ride each Friday for eight weeks. The first five people who approached the van and said “TANK God it’s Friday!” won free public transit fares, a $5 gas card (to help get them to the lot), and lunch for that day.

Participation can also be as simple as joining with the mayor in a public proclamation and press conference, or distributing literature on the benefits of public transportation.

For more information, as well as a Dump the Pump Day toolkit, click here.

People on the Move

Fred Hansen
PORTLAND, OR—Fred Hansen, general manager of the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) for more than 11 years, has announced his retirement effective June 30.

During his tenure at TriMet, Hansen oversaw the opening of three light rail lines and the launch of a fourth line, expanded the Frequent Bus Lines program from four to 16, and worked to enhance online transit tools for riders.

Hansen came to TriMet in 1998 after serving four years as deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has also directed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, served as the state’s deputy state treasurer, executive officer of the Peace Corps, and chief of staff to a member of Congress from Oregon.

For APTA, he is a designated director on the APTA Board of Directors and a member of the Commuter Rail CEOs Subcommittee, Legislative Committee, Rail Standards Policy and Planning Committee, Rail Transit CEOs Subcommittee, and Rail Transit Committee.


Howard H. Roberts Jr.
NEW YORK, NY—Howard H. Roberts Jr., former president of MTA New York City Transit, has joined Sam Schwartz Engineering as senior vice president, transit and rail services. Roberts will also serve as general manager of the company’s Philadelphia office when it opens later this year.

Before serving NYC Transit from 2007 to 2009, Roberts was deputy general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority in Philadelphia from 1989 to 1997. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1981 and spent nine years as president of Harrier Inc.



Sandy Modell

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Sandy Modell, general manager of Alexandria Transit Company (DASH), has received the Salute to Women Leadership in Business and Career Development Award presented by the Alexandria Commission of Women.

The award recognizes Modell’s leadership of DASH since 1989 and, during her tenure, opening doors to women in various capacities within the organization.