Passenger Transport - January 25, 2013
Photo courtesy of WMATA
Photo courtesy of WMATA
At ceremonies Jan. 18 in Detroit, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the M-1 Rail project can proceed immediately using a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program grant previously awarded for public transit in the city. The planned 3.3-mile streetcar line is designed to revitalize Detroit’s historic Woodward Avenue corridor.
M-1 Rail—a nonprofit consortium of local private businesses, foundations, and public and private institutions—already has committed more than $100 million toward construction and operation of the $137 million streetcar project. The remaining funds will come from state and local sources. The consortium will construct and initially operate the Woodward Avenue streetcar line. Ultimately, the line is expected to include 11 stations, with connections to Campus Martius, Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers), the Detroit Medical Center area, and Wayne State University. The city of Detroit, Michigan DOT, and Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments will also be involved in moving the project through development and construction.
LaHood also announced that Detroit will receive an additional $6.5 million in FTA planning funds, available from prior fiscal years, to help develop a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network to expand transit options connecting downtown Detroit with its suburbs and key destinations in the region.
The planned BRT network would connect downtown Detroit with Macomb County along the region’s busiest transit corridor; expand east-west transit service between Macomb and Oakland counties; and extend transit service between downtown, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, and Washtenaw County.
This year, public transportation agencies throughout the U.S. honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. either on his actual birthday, Jan. 15, or the holiday commemorating his birthday, Jan. 21. Below are a few examples.
In Orlando, FL, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority entered a wrapped bus referencing King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the Southwest Orlando Jaycees present “King’s Dream for Our World” 2013 Downtown Orlando Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade.
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority in Cincinnati participated in the 38th Annual Commemorative March, sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition of Greater Cincinnati, with its bus dedicated to Rosa Parks. The Jan. 21 event began at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati, and proceeded to Fountain Square and Music Hall.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Oakland, CA, hosted its annual celebration of King’s life on Jan. 15. This year’s event also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington through song, spoken word, and a multimedia presentation depicting significant scenes that led to the historic march.
In conjunction with a holiday parade between the University of Texas campus and Houston-Tillotson College in Austin, TX, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority hosted an information booth at an all-day festival at the parade’s ending point. The agency also used its Facebook and Twitter presence to encourage people to take public transit to the parade and festival.
The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Indianapolis, IN, sponsored Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Indiana History Center, providing free admission to the museum on the holiday.
The LYNX “I Have a Dream” wrapped bus.
Dr. Terence Candell offers the keynote address at BART’s 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.
Photo by Steve Barrett
APTA President Michael Melaniphy, left, recently met with the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). They discussed long-term financing of federal surface transportation programs and high-speed rail efforts in the U.S.
Valley Metro kicked off construction for its Northwest Phoenix light rail extension at a public event Jan. 12 at the corner of 19th Avenue and Dunlap in Phoenix. Construction began last year at the other end of the 3.2-mile extension, in central Mesa, AZ. Service is scheduled to begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
“The Northwest Extension is a critical addition to our regional transit system,” said Valley Metro Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta. “Through regional collaboration, we have advanced the project by seven years and we will continue our partnership with the community to expedite construction.”
“Light rail has been a success in the valley and it just shows how our residents desire more mass transit, especially in our urban centers,” said Rep. Ed Pastor, (D-AZ), at the event. “It's exciting to see the light rail extensions branch into different communities because it's convenient, safe, and affordable, and they will continue to address environmental and pollution concerns.”
Officials from the city of Phoenix outlined benefits of the extension, including economic growth and closer access to I-17 and nearby employment centers. They also highlighted the business assistance programs available to businesses impacted by construction.
The extension will extend light rail northbound on 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue. Projections show and is expected to open in late 2015/early 2016. It will serve more than 5,000 new riders every day, helping to stimulate economic activity along the future line. The project will create more than 600 jobs over the next few years.
Valley Metro hosted a celebration at the ground-breaking site, featuring live entertainment and food from local businesses.
Breaking ground at 19th Avenue/Dunlap for Valley Metro’s Northwest Phoenix extension are, from left, Ruben Alonzo, representing Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton; David Cavazos, Phoenix city manager; Phoenix Councilmembers Michael Nowakowski and Daniel Valenzuela; Rep. Ed Pastor; Valley Metro Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta; and David Crawford, Sundt Construction president and chief executive officer.
On Jan. 11, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood awarded $7 million in FTA Innovative Transit Workforce Development Program grants for 17 projects in 11 states and the District of Columbia. APTA member organizations will administer 10 of the programs receiving funds.
This program helps local public transit agencies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes train a future generation of transit professionals.
“These grants are critically important in strengthening public transit’s workforce, which is the lifeblood of our industry,” said APTA Chair Flora M. Castillo. “We applaud these forward-looking grants to recruit and prepare the next generation of public transit workers and help offset a wave of retirements and the loss of vital institutional knowledge over the next decade. These are just the types of projects I envisioned as part of my ‘It’s All About the People’ initiative.”
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, received a $659,784 grant for the Transit Virtual Career Network (TVCN): Raising Awareness and Building the Transit Industry’s Workforce, This project—supported by numerous partners including APTA—will build and promote a cost-effective, innovative, field-tested, national website that attracts that attracts youth, veterans, and others to the transportation industry and provide public transit agencies with access to new recruitment and training tools.
The TVCN project team, led by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, will consult with APTA and its members on the customization of design, development, and usability of this system for targeted audiences and which jobs to feature initially. Plans are for the system to highlight about 70 jobs in the areas of operations, maintenance and facilities, including job profiles, job skills, educational needs, and where to find access to these resources to acquire and develop these skills.
Other grant recipients included:
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: $795,334 for a program to provide military veterans and high school students with skills training and assistance to help them transition into WMATA’s bus maintenance apprenticeship programs;
The International Transportation Learning Center, Silver Spring, MD, two grants for $722,500 and $425,000. The larger amount will support “Career Pathways and Career Ladders for the Frontline Workforce: Innovative Models Leveraging Training Standards and Stakeholder Engagement.” The other is for development of courseware for the Consortium for Signals Training; and
The Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium, Long Beach, CA: $673,713 for a distance learning program for transportation providers.
Public transit agencies in San Bernardino, CA; Jacksonville and Tampa, FL; Cincinnati, OH; and Corpus Christi, TX, also received funding through this program.
More information about these grants is available here.
APTA members and officials took part in the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) recent 92nd Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Among those attending a banquet held by the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) in conjunction with TRB were, from left: APTA Chair Flora Castillo; Dr. Martin Pietrucha, Penn State’s Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute; CUTC Chair Teresa Adams; and APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.
The chief executive officers of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the consulting and engineering firm CDM Smith are among the National Safety Council’s 2013 list of “CEOs Who ‘Get It.’” In a statement, the council said these business leaders demonstrate world-class safety awareness and understand the business importance of creating a culture of safety.
Joining Richard R. Sarles, WMATA general manager and CEO, and Richard D. Fox, CEO of DCM Smith, on the list are:
* Teri L. Bristol, chief operating officer, Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization;
* Anthony J. Orlando, president and chief executive officer, Covanta Energy Corporation;
* David T. Seaton, chief executive officer, Fluor Corporation;
* Michael L. Sims, general manager and chief executive officer, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative Inc.;
* Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations Pacific/commander, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler; and
* Bill Wright, president and chief executive officer, Petrochem Insulation Inc.
The council explained it sees all organizations as participating in a “Journey to Safety Excellence”—a constant quest to drive the number workplace injuries and deaths to zero. This year’s honorees have a firm grasp of this goal and its four key pillars: committed leadership and employee engagement, sound safety processes and procedures, continuous risk reduction, and measuring and improving performance.
Profiles of the “CEOs Who ‘Get It’” will appear in the February 2013 issue of Safety+Health magazine.
Deborah Bongiorno has joined APTA as the senior managing editor of Passenger Transport.
Bongiorno comes to APTA from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, where she was in charge of communications, publications, and marketing. She has lived in Washington for nearly 20 years and has worked in writing, editing, and publications management for about 25 years, beginning as a reporter with Gannett Newspapers in Utica, NY.
Bongiorno has also worked in communications and marketing for Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.
The oldest subway operation in the world—the London Underground (the Tube)—marked the 150th anniversary of its operation on Jan. 9.
The stretch of line between Paddington and Farringdon, which was then called the Metropolitan Railway, opened on that date in 1863, with the first passenger journeys following the next day.
Transport for London (TfL) celebrated the anniversary with several special events attended by distinguished international transportation leaders and other officials, including APTA Chief of Staff Petra Mollet. “It was a great honor to represent APTA at this historic occasion,” said Mollet, who represented APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.
The centerpiece event was a non-stop ride in a fully refurbished coal-fired train from Kensington Olympia Station in west London, an above-ground station, to Moorgate Station, an underground stop in the heart of the city—a trip that retraced some of the first train’s original tracks. According to news reports, hundreds of spectators gathered at Tube stations and bridges to catch a glimpse of the train.
“It really did feel like you were back in another century,” Mollet said. “It was fascinating to watch people looking in at us as we were going by.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was on board, was quoted as saying: “It was just extraordinary. We had steam coming in through the windows, huge thick clouds of white steam going past, and then bits of soot coming through from the engine.” He added: “It was romantic. You understand all those Victorian novels and the assignations that possibly took place on those velvet seats. It was pure Conan Doyle.”
TfL plans ongoing improvements to the Tube system throughout the anniversary year, resulting in the introduction of new trains, increased capacity, more frequent service, and improved accessibility. Special events and activities throughout the year will examine the history of the London Underground and the vital role it continues to play, both in the lives of Londoners and to the economic life of London and the United Kingdom.
Johnson said: “The arrival of the Tube was truly revolutionary, and today it is still admired around the world. It annihilates distance, liquidates traffic, and is the throbbing cardiovascular system of the greatest city on earth. It continues to play a hugely important role in the success of our capital ... Our massive upgrade program builds on the engineering ingenuity of our Victorian forefathers and through new signaling, trains, and track, millions of Londoners and visitors will continue to benefit from what is arguably the best, and most iconic, underground transport system in the world.”
For more information, click here.
Photo courtesy of TfL from the Transport Museum Collection
APTA Chief of Staff Petra Mollet at the London Tube celebration.
In recognition of the 100th birthday of one of the country’s most iconic transportation hubs—New York City’s Grand Central Terminal—on Feb. 1, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and MTA Metro-North Railroad are celebrating with a year-long party. Kicking off the year’s activities are a rededication ceremony and the opening of “Grand by Design,” an exhibit that chronicles the station’s colorful history.
The terminal is the flagship home of MTA and Metro-North.
Hosts at the Feb. 1 rededication ceremony will be Metro-North President Howard Permut, acting MTA Chairman Fernando Ferrer, and interim MTA Executive Director Tom Prendergast.
“The soaring space of Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse inspires locals and visitors alike and is the closest thing New York has to a town square,” Prendergast said. “The major investments of the past 15 years by Metro-North and its parent, the MTA, has restored its luster and cachet, and prepared it for another century of service.”
Other events will include a performance of the “Grand Central Centennial Fanfare,” a musical piece written for the occasion; a reading of an original poem, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit, by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins; and the unveiling of a new Grand Central Terminal Centennial stamp by the U.S. Postal Service.
Scheduled guests include author Caroline Kennedy, honorary co-chair of the Grand Central Centennial Committee, whose mother Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is credited with saving the terminal in the 1970s, and members of the Vanderbilt family, whose ancestor Cornelius Vanderbilt inspired railroading’s “gilded age” and the construction of Grand Central.
“As a native New Yorker, I lived through the dark and dingy days of Grand Central Terminal, when people dared not linger,” Ferrer said. “The restoration of this great public space is symbolic of the renaissance of New York City and its transportation system. Hats off to Grand Central Terminal and the visionaries who made it possible!”
For additional details, visit the website.
Photo courtesy of MTA Metro-North Railroad
Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection)
Chair, APTA Access Committee
How many people work at your agency?
County Connection has 258 direct employees. Our subcontractor, First Transit, applies another 50- 60 to our paratransit service.
How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
It will be 24 years in September.
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
Originally I was drawn toward a career in policy development and managing public service in general. After I earned my master of public administration degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, I was looking for a job in local or regional government that would put me on the path to becoming a city manager or something similar. I came to County Connection in 1989—shortly after getting my degree—and have stayed here ever since, except for a very brief period in 1991 when I worked for a consulting firm. I became general manager in January 1998.
How long have you been an APTA member?
Technically, since I joined County Connection—an APTA member system—in 1989. I personally became active with APTA in 1994.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource – that helps you do your job?
The information we receive on the legislative process and what’s happening in Washington, DC. This is where the APTA staff really shines.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
We’re a smaller organization without a presence in DC. We appreciate that APTA is on the ground, knowing what’s going on and providing us with information. We also benefit greatly from the work APTA does on behalf of the public transportation industry as a whole.
What is unique about your agency (what would readers be surprised to learn)?
People might be surprised at the extreme diversity of our ridership because we serve an area that, on paper, looks affluent. People often think we mainly carry students to school and help seniors get around their communities, and that’s all. In reality we serve a lot of passengers from a lot of different backgrounds.
Many of our riders are transit-dependent and would not be able to get to work, or to critical appointments, without our service. We also provide to-and-from rides to about 2,500 BART passengers every day.
Secondly, we have developed a strong working relationship with both our employees and their unions. Our employees maintained their high morale as they have worked through this difficult economic situation. This has included service cuts, employee layoffs, as well as wage and benefit freezes. I remain very proud of the workers as they really understand the meaning of public service and demonstrate that each day.
County Connection is surrounded by a number of neighboring public transit agencies. Do they coordinate their services?
County Connection has evolved over time, somewhat in line with major population growth spurts. AC Transit once was the only bus agency in the county, but as population and job centers developed in central and eastern Contra Costa County, new and appropriately designed bus agencies emerged in each area. Geological features such as hills separate our service areas and, historically, government services are subdivided into three or four regions. These agencies have a good working relationship. We come together to coordinate funding, fare policy, and transfers, just to name a few things.
We hope to become part of the Bay Area’s Clipper card system in the next 18 months or so. We do offer our riders the BART Plus ticket. We track ridership and share the revenues according to a formula. This fare instrument has worked well for our joint passengers for many years. But, we do look forward to the day that our MPO (MTC) brings Clipper out to the suburban bus systems of the East Bay.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s the working with people, both our employees and the policy makers I report to. I enjoy guiding policy makers to make sound decisions, and supporting our employees any way I can so they, in turn, can successfully and efficiently provide service to the public.
Make sure you see Rick Ramacier’s video, now that you've read this!
Communications and Marketing Department
What are the job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
My primary job is to prepare each biweekly issue of Passenger Transport (PT, as we call it). This includes both the print and electronic versions of PT.
I’m the only APTA employee who devotes the majority of my time to writing and editing PT. This means that I have full responsibility for a story from the initial contact though interviewing sources, the editing process, and ultimately placing it on the page.
I also edit and proofread all stories from other contributors: APTA staff, association members, and news releases APTA receives for publication.
Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the two most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
Following major APTA meetings, members sometimes call me to get copies of photos for them. I’m always happy to send them out.
I also help members trying to track down a PT story that might have run months—or even years—ago.
I’ve worked at APTA since 1994, so I’m the “institutional memory” for the Communications and Marketing Department. People can ask about something that happened years earlier and chances are I’ll remember it. For example, I was present in 1997 when APTA honored Rosa Parks with its first Lifetime Achievement Award.
Readers might see a Passenger Transport story—perhaps on a timely topic such as green technology or public-private partnerships—and contact me about a similar situation at their own system or company. Public transit agencies also let me know about issues of importance to them: ground breakings, system openings or extensions, and acquiring vehicles that feature innovative operating systems or run on alternative fuels.
What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
I maintain APTA’s photo files—both hard copy and electronic—along with an online database of photos and, separately, photos taken during major APTA meetings. Each issue of PT may use 15 to 20 photos.
Our historic files go back decades, meaning that they contain many thousands of photos.
How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I previously worked for another association in Washington, DC. That association decided to balance its budget by letting some people go. I was one of them. I was glad to find APTA and discover that it was a good fit for me. I knew very little about public transportation when I started, but I’ve been learning ever since!
I will have been an APTA employee for 19 years in March. This is the second APTA office location in which I’ve worked.
Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
No, but I’ve come to really value the role of public transportation. It’s a service that people really need. There’s a direct connection to the public. I like knowing that I’m helping to inform people about something they really can use.
I’m more aware of public transportation when I’m in other cities, even if I don’t use it during my time in that city.
I always take Metro to get to work. Before I started working at APTA, I never really thought about the mechanics, logistics, financing—all the things that keep public transit agencies going.
The longer I work here, the more people I’ve met who have worked for decades in public transportation and talk about the changes they’ve seen.
What professional affiliations do you have?
I have been a member of Women’s Transportation Seminar and Association Media and Publishing.
Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
In my spare time, I see a lot of plays and movies. Often I see one to three plays a week. I write theater reviews for a nationwide website. My husband is an actor in his spare time, so I see the acting work he does. Otherwise, I enjoy doing counted cross-stitch and spending time with my cat.
I also know how to jumpstart a car. I learned this skill from a former co-worker—a woman, seven months pregnant at the time—when I lived in a small town in the winter.
Make sure you see Susan Berlin’s video, now that you've read this!
The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) has named Marnie O’Brien Primmer its chair.
Primmer has more than 14 years of experience in transportation infrastructure planning and development and community outreach. She has served since 2008 as executive director of Mobility 21, the seven-county transportation coalition focused on developing transportation solutions for Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties in Southern California.
“As a longtime transportation advocate, I'm excited to chair NAPTA next year because coalition building at the grassroots level is critical to make sure our transportation needs are fully funded in the next bill cycle,” she said. “With increased investment, we can expand all of our transportation options and reduce the time we spend sitting in traffic or waiting for the next train to arrive.”
While at Mobility 21, Primmer was a key member of a statewide task force on implementation of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Her efforts led to an additional $1 billion in ARRA funds being made available directly to regional transportation authorities. Under her leadership, Mobility 21 successfully advocated for the passage of Los Angeles County's Measure R, the inclusion of $50 million in funding for positive train control technology in the 2010 federal appropriations bill and the passage of MAP-21 in 2012, which included key policy elements of Mobility 21's legislative platform.
Again this year, APTA welcomes the musical political satire of the Capitol Steps to the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, providing entertainment during the March 11 luncheon. The group—whose slogan is “We put the ‘mock’ in ‘democracy’”—traces its history back to the 1980s. For more information about this year’s conference, visit the APTA website.
Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) in Richland, WA, has entered into a demonstration program with Complete Coach Works (CCW) to help develop an all-electric, remanufactured public transit bus capable of operating for more than 100 miles without recharging. A CALSTART grant funds this effort.
CCW is working to significantly reduce the carbon footprint involved with building a public transit bus by remanufacturing an existing bus into like-new condition, reducing capital expenditures in the process. This approach reduces landfill pollution as well as lowering carbon emissions.
BFT General Manager Tim Fredrickson said: “We are very happy to be a part of this project. We have been involved in another alternative energy demonstration, and we have never been shy about experimenting with applications that make sense for the industry. However, this demonstration project may prove to be the future of electric public transportation for the next generations.”
When completed, BFT’s bus will have all electrical components, auxiliary wiring, seats, air conditioning systems, and flooring replaced with high-quality new parts. New parts to be installed include the all-electric drive system, motor, controller, and advanced lithium-ion battery packs, as well as a new air conditioning system.
BFT and CCW have selected one specific route for deployment of the electric bus: Route 23/26, which makes frequent stops within a total eight-mile loop and operates at a low average speed.
A mockup of what BFT’s remanufactured, all-electric bus might look like.
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) in Burnsville, MN, and the city of Rosemount, MN, recently held formal opening ceremonies for the Rosemount Transit Station.
Service from the new station mirrors the previous schedule at the Rosemount Community Center, with three peak-period morning trips to downtown Minneapolis and four peak-period afternoon trips from downtown Minneapolis. Flex Route 420, which operates between Rosemount and Apple Valley, provides all-day service to the station. MVTA plans to introduce additional express service to Minneapolis in 2013 based on federal grant funding; the the agency also has procured some federal grant funds to expand service to St. Paul. Rosemount will also be considered for this service.
The station site also includes parking for 102 vehicles.
The event included a formal ribbon cutting and remarks highlighting the importance of transit in Rosemount, partnerships and the regional perspective on public transit.
To complete the station project, MVTA partnered with a variety of organizations, including the state of Minnesota/Minnesota DOT, the city of Rosemount, the Dakota County Community Development Agency, and the Metropolitan Council.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa, FL, recently marked the reopening of the Yukon Transfer Center following an extensive renovation project. The facility—the oldest HART transfer center, originally opening in 1983—underwent a full upgrade, along with an expansion including additional restrooms and more bus bays.
This transfer center serves several HART bus routes and is a pick-up and drop-off point for children using Hillsborough County public school buses. Funding for the project came from state grants and a local match by HART.
The reopening ceremony also included the unveiling of bus plaques in honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ refusal on Dec. 1, 1955, to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, AL. HART will install the plaques permanently on all buses in its fleet.
The bus plaques are dedicated to the legacy of Rosa Parks and the “It All Started on a Bus” campaign that pays tribute to the important role of public transit during the civil rights movement, as well as today, to achieve social justice in communities throughout the country.
Cutting the ribbon at the reopening of HART’s Yukon Transfer Center are, from left, Dr. Steve Polzin, vice chair, HART Board of Directors; Philip Hale, HART chief executive officer; Sandra Murman, Hillsborough County commissioner; Jeff Seward, HART chief financial officer; the Rev. Wallace Bowers, HART Board of Directors; Frank Reddick, Tampa city councilman; Candy Olsen, Hillsborough County Public Schools; Evangaline Best, East Tampa community advocate; John Melendez, HART Board of Directors; and Katharine Eagan, HART chief operating officer.
GO Transit in Toronto recently opened its new Oshawa Bus Services Facility. The $52 million (Cdn.), 160,000-square-foot facility will centralize service and reduce operating costs in the Durham Region of Ontario by eliminating the need for buses to travel to Steeprock or Streetsville for storage and maintenance.
“Durham Region and the city of Oshawa have been experiencing significant commuter ridership growth, and GO Transit is committed to doing its part to provide more frequent and flexible transit options,” said Paul Finnerty, Metrolinx vice president of GO operations. “This new facility will help provide more reliable service to existing customers and encourage more people to choose GO services.”
The new facility, designed for LEED Gold certification, provides such eco-friendly features as a green roof, solar panels to help power the building, and a rainwater harvesting system to irrigate the green roof. It provides storage capacity for 68 buses (56 indoors and 12 outdoors) along with indoor fueling, bus wash, and repair shop areas and employee facilities including training centers and designated meeting rooms.
The Area Transportation Authority of North Central Pennsylvania (ATA) in Johnsonburg, PA, which serves Clearfield County, introduced a new regional commuter bus service—the Clearfield-Centre Connector, linking Clearfield, Philipsburg, and State College—on Jan. 2.
The weekday service, operated by Fullington Trailways, provides two trips into State College each morning and four return trips each afternoon. It operated fare free through Jan. 18.
“Because the commuter service originates in ATA’s service area and terminates in CATA’s [Centre Area Transportation Authority, the transportation agency that serves State College], multiple parties and considerations had to be addressed,” said ATA Chief Executive Officer Michael Imbrogno. “In addition, Clearfield and Centre counties, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Transportation, two transportation planning organizations (Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organizatio and the North Central Pennsylvania Rural Planning Organization), multiple municipalities, Penn State, and a private transportation operator have been involved in the coordination and development of the service.”
Public transportation agencies find many ways of giving back to their communities, during the holidays and throughout the year. Here are a few that shared their outreach efforts with Passenger Transport.
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro), Austin, TX, and its partners—Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas—brought in nearly 13,000 pounds of donated food through the 45-hour “Stuff the Bus” marathon event. The donations, equivalent to more than 10,000 meals, filled 70 percent of the interior of a 45-foot Capital Metro bus.
In the days leading up to Christmas, Santa Claus took time out of his schedule to drive buses in the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority fleet. Here he greets passengers at the Windermere Stokes Station, which serves bus, HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit, and Red Line rail customers in East Cleveland.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) employees and agency consultants collected donations of cash and almost 68 tons of food items for the Union Gospel Mission during its 16th annual “friendly food fight.” DART’s Transportation Department won this year’s contest, which included a donation of dairy products from a local dairy.
The North County Transit District (NCTD) in Oceanside, CA, collected $7,548 for two area charities—the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Military Mentoring Initiative, which helps veterans transition from military service to the workforce, and the Community Resource Center, which serves at-risk women and children—through the annual Santa’s Coaster Express holiday event—a 90-minute train ride with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch, attended by more than 600 people. Each of the charities received $3,774. NCTD Board Chair Chris Orlando presents an oversized check to Laurin Pause, executive director, Community Resource Center. In the back row are NCTD board members and alternates, from left, Mark Packard, John Aguilera, Tony Kranz, Ed Gallo, Jim Wood, Bill Horn, Mike Nichols, and Donald Mosier.
For the 17th year, the Lane Transit District (LTD), Eugene, OR, partnered with a local radio station to Stuff the Bus with donations of food and toys for those in need in Lane County. During the two-day event, Wal-Mart stores in the area hosted a 40-foot LTD bus where the public donated almost 7,000 pounds of food and about $400 in cash for the local food bank, Toys for Tots, and more than 60 local service agencies.
Employees of Salem-Keizer Transit in Salem, OR, delivered a donation of cash and supplies to the Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Center in Salem, a shelter for women and children who survive domestic abuse.
Employees of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County distributed approximately 4,000 pairs of clean, new socks to homeless residents of the city on Dec. 21. This is the fourth year for the agency’s “Put a Sock in It” holiday collection, organized by MetroBus operator Patricia Moon.
Just before Christmas, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Employees’ Charity Club presented toys—including bicycles—to 5,000 area children during its annual Holiday Shop. Each year, the Charity Club works with the Federation of Charities and United Way to invite area families to select from thousands of holiday gifts.
BY ERIKA D. SMITH
Reprinted with permission from the Jan. 12, 2013, Indianapolis Star. © 2013 Indianapolis Star
If you’ve turned on a radio or TV in the past couple of days, you may have come across a series of new commercials that offer answers to what has become a decades-old question in Central Indiana: “Why do we need more transit options?”
The answers in the commercials aren’t new. (“To get to work.” “To attract more jobs.” “To get to the airport.” “Because I want an alternative to driving.”) But somehow, those answers have a new ring of truth to them.
You wouldn’t know it from the commercials, but in many quarters, the debate has moved beyond: “Why do we need more transit options?” Now the question is: “How can we add transit in a way that makes financial, political, and logistical sense?”
That’s a big hurdle for Central Indiana to cross. It took only 30 years.
Now there’s a unique opportunity to reel in many of the remaining skeptics—and let’s hope this time it takes less than 30 years.
“The exciting thing is we’re starting to kick off the next phase of planning,” said Anna Tyszkiewicz, executive director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. “And this is a point where we’ve really never been before.”
Starting next month, Indy Connect, the band of public agencies pushing an expansion of buses and rail in Marion and Hamilton counties, will host a series of public meetings to get beyond the “why” to the “how” of transit.
The goal is to collect residents’ thoughts on whether light rail or bus rapid transit would be better for three corridors—one that runs east and west along Washington Street and two others that run north and south between Indianapolis and its suburbs. Indy Connect also wants opinions on whether those “rapid transit” corridors should run on new or existing lanes along city streets.
But perhaps the most interesting, and probably the most contentious, thing residents will be able to discuss is where to put transit stops.
How many stops should there be in the struggling urban neighborhoods south of 38th Street? Where should the stops be along the Washington Street corridor with its fits and starts of retail? How many stops should there be on the Southside, which often gets ignored?
The answers will either dispel or confirm people’s firmly held beliefs about what transit can and cannot do for Central Indiana.
Because for some residents, particularly in Hamilton County, the thinking is: “Why should I pay taxes for people in Marion County to get more buses?” For others, particularly in Marion County, it is: “Why should I pay more taxes so people who abandoned Indianapolis for the suburbs can have an easier commute to Downtown?”
But when you start thinking about stops, and more to the point, when you start debating where they should go, you start to realize that transit is about more than just moving people from Point A to Point B.
“We are trying to change the conversation with the public that the plan is so much more than” just tripling the bus service and rail line to Noblesville, said Ron Gifford, who is handling the Indy Connect lobbying effort in the Indiana General Assembly.
It’s about the possibility for attracting new development and people to neighborhoods. It’s about the potential of finding new ways to explore the region—especially if a stop ends up, say, two blocks from your house. It’s about knowing there’s always a credible alternative to driving, something I wish I had last week when I had to put my car in the shop for repairs.
Once you start hammering out the ‘how” of transit, suddenly, it becomes more relevant to people’s lives. And just as suddenly, the “why” starts to make more sense.
That is what Indy Connect is trying to get across in its commercials, especially to the skeptics. Because transit, if done right, is indeed, as they say, “for all of us.”
Contact Erika Smith.
BUFFALO GROVE, IL—Vapor Bus International-A Wabtec Company announced the appointment of Justin Millikan as area sales manager-west region.
Prior to joining Vapor, Millikan was regional sales manager for Luminator.
TAMPA, FL—Newly elected Temple Terrace City Councilman Eddie Vance has been named to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) Board of Directors. He succeeds former Temple Terrace Councilman Ron Govin, who served on the HART board since 2005.
Vance is regional vice president of Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.
Frederick L. Daniels Jr., Barbara Babbit Kaufman, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Harold Buckley Sr.
ATLANTA, GA—The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Board of Directors has re-elected its entire slate of officers to serve another term in 2013.
Frederick L. Daniels Jr., representing DeKalb County, remains as board chair; Barbara Babbit Kaufman, Fulton County, vice chair; Juanita Jones Abernathy, Atlanta, secretary; and Harold Buckley Sr., DeKalb, treasurer.
FARIBAULT, MN—ABC Companies announced the appointment of Jeff Ferreri to parts territory manager for the area surrounding the Hudson Service facility in Jersey City, NJ.
Ferreri has more than 20 years of experience in the coach industry. He began his career with Laidlaw Transit in Chicago as operations manager for the school bus division, moving up to district operations manager in Georgia and Florida. More recently, he served Coach USA as director of charter sales and operations for the northeast region.
Timothy Thorn, Shawn Donaghy
CINCINNATI, OH—Metro has promoted Timothy (TJ) Thorn to director of transit operations and Shawn Donaghy to assistant director of transit operations.
Thorn joined Metro as system safety director in February 2012. He has more than 25 years of experience in environmental health and safety within the manufacturing and transportation industries. Thorn also worked for more than three years at the Lexington Transit Authority in Lexington, KY, in positions including assistant general manager and director of risk management and special projects.
Donaghy came to the agency in September 2010. He previously worked as senior operations manager at CEVA Logistics and area supervisor at DHL Worldwide.
Richard George, David Rollin
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Interfleet Technology has announced the appointment of Richard George as managing director, effective the end of February. He will succeed David Rollin, who is retiring after almost 20 years in this post.
George comes to Interfleet after serving as director of transport for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where he was responsible for the delivery of transport logistics.
Rollin joined the firm in 1994; the management buy-out of the company from the former British Rail organization was completed in 1996. Last year, SNC-Lavalin acquired Interfleet.
David Vozzolo, Steve Carroll, Lucas Olson, James Hecht
ORLANDO, FL—HDR Engineering has named David Vozzolo director of its streetcar practice. He previously held this position on an interim basis while Charlie Hales campaigned successfully for the mayoral seat in Portland, OR. As mayor-elect, Hales has resigned from HDR.
Vozzolo has more than 33 years of experience in public transit management. He joined HDR in 2006 after serving as FTA deputy associate administrator for the Office of Planning and Environment. He is vice chair of the APTA Policy and Planning Committee.
Assisting Vozzolo will be three regional directors: Steve Carroll, eastern region; Lucas Olson, P.E., central region; and James Hecht, P.E., western region.
Brandi M. Stewart
CINCINNATI, OH—Brandi M. Stewart, an attorney in the litigation department of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL, has joined the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees.
Stewart currently serves on the Ohio State Bar Association Board of Governors. She was named a 2012 Ohio Rising Star by Ohio Super Lawyers and a 2008 YWCA Rising Star. She has previously served on Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory’s Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet, where she chaired the Parents and Young Families Committee, and was a participant in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change Program, Class IV.
Tom Radulovich, Joel Keller, Rebecca Saltzman, Zakhary Mallett
OAKLAND, CA—The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Board of Directors elected Tom Radulovich as its president and Joel Keller as vice president.
The BART board also welcomed two newly elected members: Rebecca Saltzman, representing District 3, and Zakhary Mallett, District 7. Saltzman is a public transit and policy advocate who also works as a government affairs manager for a statewide environmental organization. Mallett is a city/transportation planner by profession and a transit advocate for more than 10 years.
Nugent Laing, Graham Stroud
TAMPA, FL—Atkins announced the hiring of Nugent Laing, MBA, MIEEE, and Graham Stroud, CEng.
Laing will serve Atkins’ North American transit and rail practice in Coraopolis, PA, as program director for rail signaling. He has 21 years of rail signaling experience, most recently as an independent consultant. Laing has worked on signaling technologies—including European Rail Traffic Management System Level 2 and Communications-Based Train Control—with which he designed and commissioned multiple systems on three continents.
Stroud, who is transferring to the U.S. after 15 years with Atkins in England, will serve as project director of asset management services, working out of the company’s Edison, NJ, office. He previously led infrastructure asset management for Atkins’ rail business in the United Kingdom and is one of the founding members of SAMNet (Strategic Asset Management Network), Atkins’ global resource network for asset management professionals.
Marion Ashley, Jeff Comerchero, Andrew Kotyuk
RIVERSIDE, CA—The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) Board of Directors elected Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley as its chairman. He succeeds former Murrieta City Councilman Doug McAllister.
Ashley has served on the RTA board since 2003.
Board members also named Temecula City Councilman Jeff Comerchero as first vice chairman and San Jacinto Councilman Andrew Kotyuk as second vice chairman.
Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta and Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs
PHOENIX, AZ—Valley Metro commemorated its longest-serving board member, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, by naming an annual public transit internship program in her honor. Scruggs recently stepped down after 19 years on the board, which she chaired in 2008.
The Valley Metro Mayor Elaine Scruggs Internship is open to college students pursuing a degree in planning, engineering or a related field with a commitment to serving in the public transportation industry.
Scruggs led the way in supporting dedicated funding sources to help ensure the expansion of transit in Maricopa County, AZ. She also was instrumental in crafting the Regional Transportation Plan, approved by voters in 2004 in support of providing a regional funding source to enhance valley-wide public transit services.
Tim McCormick, Jeanne Campos, Linda Gamberg, Bridget Cade
SANTA MONICA, CA—The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) announced the hiring of Tim McCormick as transit planning administrator and Jeanne Campos as transit community relations coordinator, and the promotion of Linda Gamberg to transit community relations officer and Bridget Cade to administrative services officer.
McCormick previously was director of service planning with the North County Transit District in Oceanside, CA. Before that, he was manager of the planning division of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority for 12 years.
Campos most recently served as a marketing specialist with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in Orange, CA. She has worked on strategic marketing and public outreach campaigns for public transit programs and multi-platform communications tools for both OCTA and Los Angeles Metro.
Gamberg, a five-year BBB employee, formerly was the agency’s marketing and public information coordinator. She has more than 18 years of experience in marketing and community relations, including three years as marketing director for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
Cade previously served as a senior human resources analyst with the city’s Human Resources Department. Her prior experience includes 16 years in the human resources field and three years in the Personnel Department for the city of Manhattan Beach, CA.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—Wib Gulley has announced that he will retire this summer as general counsel of the Triangle Transit Authority (TTA). He has served in this position since 2004.
Before becoming TTA’s chief counsel, Gulley was a founding member of the authority’s board of directors.