Passenger Transport - January 10, 2014
Photo by Tom Callins
A year after Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has allocated $5.1 billion in federal and state emergency funding to implement the most comprehensive reconstruction of MTA New York City Transit’s subways in its 110-year history. The funds are part of $7.1 billion to also replace 100 at-risk bridges, renovate roads, and provide severe weather support for city airports.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, announced these projects during a Jan. 7 event in Albany to unveil “Reimagining New York for a New Reality,” a $17 billion effort designed to better prepare the nation’s largest city for weather emergencies.
“The new reality in New York is we are getting hit by ‘100-year storms’ every couple of years. We have to wake up to that new reality by completely reimagining our state to be ready for any future disaster,” Cuomo said.
The subway reconstruction will comprise all facets of the system, including technologies to seal hundreds of subway and tunnel entrances and station stairways, increase pump capacity in stations and tunnels, and protect bus and train yards. It also will include consideration of projects to rebuild six under-river tubes used by one million people each day.
In other Hurricane Sandy news, DOT recently announced the availability of an additional $3 billion for public transportation systems in states impacted by the storm. FTA funds will go to projects that protect critical public transit infrastructure from being damaged or destroyed by future natural disasters.
MTA Metro-North Railroad has announced that Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach, will become Metro-North’s president following the Jan. 31 retirement of Howard Permut.
Giulietti joined Tri-Rail in 1998 as deputy executive director and became executive director two years later. He was a Metro-North executive for 15 years, beginning with the creation of the railroad in 1983 as superintendent of transportation. He began his transportation career with Penn Central in 1971 while attending Southern Connecticut State University, and he then joined Conrail in 1978.
He is an at-large member of the APTA Executive Committee and serves on numerous APTA committees.
“Having worked at Metro-North when it began operations 31 years ago, I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead a railroad that is such a vital part of life for the people it serves,” Giulietti said. “Metro-North’s customers have learned to have high expectations of their railroad, and I want to ensure it always performs safely, efficiently, and effectively for the future.”
Permut has been a senior Metro-North executive since he helped found the railroad in 1983. He has served as its president for more than five years. He began his career with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1979.
MTA Metro-North Railroad has announced that Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail in Pompano Beach, will become Metro-North’s president following the Jan. 31 retirement of Howard Permut.
Polly Trottenberg, under secretary of transportation for policy at DOT, has been nominated New York City transportation commissioner by new Mayor Bill de Blasio. She earlier served DOT as assistant secretary.
Trottenberg also was the inaugural executive director of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan nonprofit organization supporting increased investment in infrastructure and major transportation policy reform.
The new mayor supports expanding bus rapid transit in the outer boroughs, increasing bicycling, reducing traffic fatalities, and boosting the efficiency of city streets.
The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), Kent, OH, has promoted Assistant General Manager Claudia Amrhein to general manager. She succeeds John Drew, who is retiring.
Amrhein joined PARTA in 2004 as director of human resources and served as assistant general manager since July 2013. In addition to directing the Human Resources Department, she has overseen the Training and Safety Department and was the lead facilitator for policy development and records management, labor negotiations and contract administration, safety and security programs, as well as for the 2011 Triennial Review, a three-year federal audit.
“I am happy that the board selected Claudia as my successor. I’m sure she’ll do an excellent job guiding PARTA in the years to come,” Drew said.
Redden, Chicago RTA
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors in Chicago has approved a resolution naming Leanne Redden as acting executive director of RTA, effective March 1. Redden has served as the agency’s senior deputy executive director of planning since 2005.
During her tenure with RTA, Redden has been instrumental in developing strategic long-range planning initiatives for the region’s public transit system and was a key player in the 2008 funding reform legislation.
“Leanne has been a leader in the transportation community for 24 years, specifically in transit for eight, and I have every confidence she will succeed in this job. Her knowledge and extensive experience with the region’s service boards and transit agencies will truly be an asset to the agency,” said RTA Chairman John S. Gates Jr.
Duffy, Marin County, CA
The Marin County Transit District, San Rafael, CA, has named Barbara Duffy as interim transit manager, effective Jan. 31. She will take office following the departure of Chief Executive Officer David Rzepinski; he is relocating to Santa Barbara with his wife, Mona Miyasato, who was recently appointed county administrator for Santa Barbara County.
Duffy joined Marin Transit as grant manager in 2011 and was subsequently named chief of operations and planning. Earlier she was general manager of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority and interim general manager for Petaluma Transit, both in California.
Rzepinski served as the district’s general manager since June 2008. Previously he worked 19 years for the city of Los Angeles, most recently as director of transit operations for Los Angeles DOT.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) Board of Commissioners has named Deputy General Manager Tom Fox interim president and general manager.
This appointment follows the retirement of William Hudson, MATA general manager since 1993, at the end of 2013.
Fox joined MATA in September 1990 and became deputy general manager in April 2011.
His other positions with the agency include director of planning and deputy director for administration and planning.
Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has joined Building America’s Future (BAF) as a new co-chair, joining former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
BAF is a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials committed to raising awareness about the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.
“I am delighted to join Building America’s Future as a co-chair and am excited to work together with some of the nation’s most innovative public leaders,” LaHood said. “While there is widespread agreement that our nation’s aging roads, bridges, transit, and aviation systems are woefully inadequate, Washington has failed to show leadership in making the tough decisions to increase revenue to fund these critical investments. With the Highway Trust Fund just months away from insolvency, it is time for action.”
LaHood succeeds former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a founding co-chair of BAF who will continue working with the organization through the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California.
Public transportation agencies throughout North America are moving forward on major projects in a variety of modes: commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, modern streetcar, and bus rapid transit (BRT). Here’s a preliminary list of new and expanded services scheduled to open in 2014.
MTA New York City Transit plans to open the extension of the 7 subway line to the far west side of Manhattan this summer. The line currently terminates at Times Square and will continue to a new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.
NYC Transit will open Fulton Center—which it calls “a downtown ‘Grand Central’ station”—in June. This facility will connect nine subway lines and improve access to another two lines.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is finishing five new heavy rail stations as it prepares to open the 11.6-mile Phase I of the Silver Line.
District DOT, Washington, DC, plans to launch two miles of modern streetcar service on H Street NE, beginning at Union Station, late in 2014.
The initial segment of Florida DOT’s SunRail commuter rail line is due to enter service in May. The route runs from DeBary, north of Sanford, to Sand Lake Road in south Orlando.
The city of Atlanta is working with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and businesses to launch the Atlanta Downtown Streetcar later this year. It will run between the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and Centennial Olympic Park.
LYNX in Orlando, FL, is preparing two new BRT lines under the LYMMO brand. East/West BRT, opening in April, will largely operate in mixed traffic with some dedicated lanes. Parramore BRT, opening later in the year, is a new 2.1-mile line.
The Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI, will introduce revenue service for SilverLine BRT on Aug. 25. A special event including a ceremonial first ride will precede the beginning of service.
The Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago DOT are preparing to open the Central Loop (East-West) BRT Corridor this year. This service will operate bus-only lanes along Washington and Madison streets and will include a new bus terminal at Union Station.
Metro Transit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, will launch Green Line light rail in the summer, connecting downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul at Union Depot Station.
Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County will open two more light rail lines this fall: East End (Green) and Southeast (Purple).
Dallas Area Rapid Transit will open the last section of Orange Line light rail, connecting the Belt Line Station to Terminal A of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, before the end of the year.
Transfort in Fort Collins, CO, is scheduled to launch MAX BRT in May. The new service will operate in a north-south corridor more than five miles long, which includes about three miles of new transit-only concrete guideway.
Seattle’s King County Metro will launch two new RapidRide BRT lines during 2014. The E Line opens Feb. 15, while the RapidRide F Line will begin in June.
Omnitrans, San Bernardino, CA, will open its first BRT service, sbX, in April. The 15.7-mile corridor will connect northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda, with 16 stations and four park-and-ride facilities.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System plans to introduce BRT service on its I-15 Express Lanes this summer. Commuter Express bus routes currently operate on these lanes.
Los Angeles Metro is working with the city and county of Los Angeles on the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project in Los Angeles, an upgrade of the current Wilshire service. Improvements are planned for 9.9 miles of the 12.5-mile route, including 7.7 miles of peak period curbside bus lanes.
In Edmonton, AB, the 3.3-km Metro Line (North LRT to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) is expected to enter service in late June. This is the first segment of a planned LRT expansion to the Edmonton city limits and includes three new stations.
Calgary Transit in Calgary, AB, will open the final extension of its Northwest Light Rail Line (Red Line) in the fall. The line currently has eight stations, and this extension will add one new station.
Frederick L. Daniels Jr.
Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair, Board of Directors
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Member, APTA Board of Directors; Chair, Transit Board Members Committee; Member, Finance Committee, Diversity Council; APTA Nominating Committee
How many people are at your agency?
MARTA has about 4,500 employees. About 1,500 are in administration and 3,000 in operations. We’re a multimodal agency—bus, rail, and paratransit—with about 130 million passenger trips a year.
How long have you been involved in the public transportation industry?
I’ve been affiliated with the MARTA board for about five years. I grew up in Cleveland riding the RTA. You took public transit regardless of your social or economic background. No one had the mind-set of driving. Taking transit was commonplace. When my family later moved to Atlanta, my high school buddies and I used to ride the MARTA East Line train back and forth when it first opened, just for fun. Atlanta is more of a car-centric city. One of our challenges is trying to get that single rider out of his or her car and onto our system.
How long have you been an APTA member?
My first APTA meeting was the Rail Conference in Vancouver in 2010. I attended to learn more about rail and about the financial aspects of transit—as a banker, that’s where my interest first drifted. We toured Vancouver’s rail yard and train control complex. That’s when I started to learn about what it takes to operate a rail system.
My second APTA meeting was the Transit Board Members Seminar in Eugene, Oregon that same year. Colleagues who had 10 or 15 years of board experience welcomed me—a neophyte—into the discussions. I established relationships that continue to this day.
The first BRT system I ever rode was in Eugene. I was able to bring some knowledge about its benefits back to Atlanta to help strengthen our arguments for more transit investment. BRT is light rail on different wheels, but they share the importance of a dedicated right of way. Passengers don’t care if they’re on a skateboard as long as they get where they want to go on-time and efficiently. The knowledge I gained along with the new relationships really helped me to articulate the benefits of both BRT and light rail. We were able to change some minds leading up to a regional transit referendum in 2012. Unfortunately, voters still didn’t approve it.
What drew you to your work in public transportation?
I was originally approached because of my financial expertise. My goal was to begin improving MARTA’s financial sustainability and increasing the business we do with minority- and women-owned small businesses. That was the initial impetus. Serving on the board stretched my intellectual capacity and provided greater insight into the lives we impact with our decisions. I really believe in that saying, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I see it as an opportunity to bring about positive change, giving back through your time and talent to impact the lives of others for the better.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job?
APTA membership has several benefits that I would meld into one: the ability to look at best practices across agencies. Part of my fiduciary responsibility as a board member is to analyze data. Because of APTA, I have access to independent data about peer systems with comparable indices. I also appreciate talking with board members from other systems to understand their challenges and hear how they are working to overcome them. You really can’t put a price tag on that kind of information. It’s priceless.
What do you like most about your job with the agency?
Of all our daily boardings, I might only know a few riders. Still, I really value doing work that has such a positive impact on people I’ll never meet. By serving on the board, I can do my best for individuals and for the agency—to help prepare it for greatness and better explain MARTA’s wide-ranging economic impact on the whole region.
What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
It would be our commitment to the environment. MARTA was an original signatory on APTA’s Sustainability Commitment, and our efforts since then are widespread across the agency. For example, in one of our bus yards, we used a FTA grant to install solar panels. We generate so much power from those panels that we sell some of it back to Georgia Power, our electric utility. The vast majority of our bus fleet runs on cleaner burning compressed natural gas, and by 2018, we’re planning to retire our last diesel-powered bus. The board has also committed to going green. We don’t generate any paper—all of our board information is electronic. It saves us a lot of money—to say nothing of the environment.
Director, Planning, Policy, and Sustainability
What are the top job elements you focus on the most—your primary responsibilities?
This is a tough question to answer because I am responsible for many things. One of my top priorities is working on advocacy efforts through the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), an organization of grassroots public transit supporters. NAPTA member organizations are eligible for APTA coalition grants, which can be used to help leverage local activities. This is very much a collaborative effort with my colleagues in the APTA Government Affairs and Communications and Marketing departments.
Another major priority is working with committees and meeting member needs. All four of my committees have seats on the APTA Board of Directors: Policy and Planning, Sustainability, State Affairs, and Mobility Management.
My other top priority is the work I do for APTA’s conferences. With member help, I develop the technical planning and financing track at the Bus & Paratransit Conference and the Rail Conference and put together other policy sessions for the Annual Meeting. I also work closely on the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop.
Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I have direct contact with APTA members on a daily basis. I provide members with information on a variety of topics—almost too many to count. One caller may ask for information about writing enabling legislation for a public transportation authority while another asks about funding initiatives. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I do know who the caller can contact.
As a co-director of the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), I am now getting more questions on integrating community transportation, vanpools, and bike and car sharing into the community and urban mobility.
What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
We do most projects in a collaborative way at APTA. So taking pride is shared among other APTA staff.
Two efforts of which I am most proud are the APTA Sustainability Commitment and the APTA Standards Working Groups on Sustainability and Urban Design. We are working with the Communications and Marketing Committee to help develop a toolkit to educate members on the commitment.
The APTA Sustainability Commitment recognizes organizations who exceed the basic measures with a higher status. More than 100 organizations have already signed on to the commitment; recently the first member joined at the Platinum level.
I also take great pride in my achievements as a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2013. I worked on a team project concerning the role of public transportation in mega events such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
I am one of three co-directors of NCMM, along with representatives of Easter Seals and the Community Transportation Association of America. These organizations created the center to facilitate activities that will help communities adopt transportation strategies and mobility options to encourage independent and self-sufficient living.
How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I applied for the research assistant position in 1985. I had to review the Federal Register on a daily basis—there was no electronic version back in those days—and summarize notices of proposed rulemaking. This was in the Reagan era, when there was interest in eliminating FTA. More recently, I was a program manager, senior program manager, and now a director.
Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
I previously worked for another nonprofit organization representing U.S. flag shipping companies, which received assistance from the Federal Maritime Administration. When I joined APTA, some of my colleagues joked that public transportation—like their own field—was “a dying industry.” Well, time has proven the opposite. Public transit plays a catalytic role in development and community building and connecting communities. I am a big supporter of transit-oriented development.
What professional affiliations do you have?
Along with NCMM, I am an associate member of the Urban Land Institute, a member of the steering committee of Rail~Volution, and a member of the American Planning Association.
Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I chair the National Complete Streets Coalition, which includes AARP, Smart Growth America, Institute of Transportation Engineers, National Association of Realtors, National Society of Landscape Architects, American Planning Association, America Walks, and other partners.
Make sure you see Richard Weaver's video, now that you've read this!
Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined officials of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Dec. 20 for the first ride on the extension of the MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) 7 Subway line, the first extension funded by the city in more than 60 years.
The extension provides a connection to Manhattan’s Far West Side, which has undergone extensive development in recent years. The $2.4 billion project is scheduled to be complete this summer.
“Today’s historic ride is yet another symbol of how New York City has become a place where big projects can get done,” said Bloomberg. “This project is the linchpin of an ambitious transit-oriented, mixed-use development that is already transforming Manhattan’s Far West Side.”
As part of the redevelopment of Hudson Yards, a 45-block area on Manhattan’s Far West Side, the city and the MTA worked together to extend the 7 Subway line farther west from its current terminus at Times Square to the new station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue.
The station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue will be accessible; it will be the first station in the system to have two high-rise incline elevators that will provide access to riders between the upper mezzanine and lower mezzanine, 108 feet below street level. Four high-rise escalators will also be installed at the station.
Philips has entered into a contract with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to upgrade the lighting in 25 of the authority’s parking garages.
The contract provides for the conversion of more than 13,000 of WMATA’s fixtures from high-pressure sodium lighting to a custom-designed LED lighting solution. The new technology is expected to reduce energy usage by 68 percent or 15 million kilowatt-hours per year while providing real-time data on energy consumption.
According to Philips, the new lighting system will remove more than 11,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. Energy cost savings will cover installation and operation costs, requiring no up-front capital expenditures.
The system will provide both interior and exterior lighting to the WMATA parking garages, using a modular design that can be configured to meet the specific needs of each facility.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) marked the centennial of its Green and Blue light rail lines on Dec. 17.
On that date in 1913, trains began operating on a 1.6-mile segment of private right-of-way between the suburban city of Shaker Heights and the Terminal Tower project in Cleveland as part of a plan by developers and brothers O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen. The Cleveland & Youngstown Railway, as it was first known, had a fare of 3 cents.
“It’s great to have been able to serve this region with passenger rail for 100 years now, as many other communities keep struggling with how to make it happen,” said RTA Chief Executive Officer and General Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Calabrese. “RTA has and will continue to invest in upgrading this network for the benefit of our growing customer base.”
RTA light rail continues to operate on the original track—the oldest section of continuously operating tracks still in use in Cuyahoga County, and one of the few surviving American light rail systems from the original streetcar era. It is now served by five RTA Green Line stations.
In 1920, the line changed its name to the Cleveland Interurban Railway (CIRR). That same year, the Van Sweringen brothers opened a direct, dedicated line, separating light rail trains from other rail and street traffic, from Shaker Heights to East 34th Street.
The city of Cleveland acquired the Cleveland Railway in 1942, and in 1944 the city of Shaker Heights acquired the CIRR. The two systems united in 1975 with the creation of RTA.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) in Las Vegas recently recognized the winners of its annual Anti-Graffiti Art Contest: Lyle Anthony Abapo of James Cashman Middle School and Catelyn Kaufman of Roy Martin Middle School. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Keep Southern Nevada Graffiti Free.”
The artwork of the two winners will be displayed on the outside of RTC transit vehicles and will travel Las Vegas Valley streets for up to one year.
More than 170 students from 14 schools across the region submitted their original designs supporting the message of respecting each other’s property and not devaluing or defacing it with graffiti.
RTC sponsors the contest each year along with Vector Media and Outdoor Promotions, in partnership with the Clark County School District, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Graffiti Investigation Section, Crime Stoppers, and the Southern Nevada Graffiti Coalition.
Photow courtesy of RTC
Lyle Anthony Abapo and Catelyn Kaufman display their winning artwork at ceremonies following RTC’s Anti-Graffiti Art Contest.
Phoenix hosted numerous activities Dec. 7, and record numbers of riders used Valley Metro Rail to travel to and from the events, resulting in the highest Saturday ridership in the light rail line’s history—58,408 boardings.
Events that day served by Valley Metro Rail included the Arizona State University’s (ASU) Pac 12 Championship football game, the Tempe Festival of the Arts, the city’s 27th annual APS Electric Light Parade, and a concert by Beyoncé at US Airways Center.
“Valley Metro Rail was designed to connect passengers to employment, education, and entertainment,” said Stephen Banta, Valley Metro Rail chief executive officer. “Special event ridership is an important segment of our base and to creating a vibrant local economy.”
The Dec. 7 ridership also was the fourth highest in the system’s history; the highest was 65,088 on Oct. 18, 2012, serving an ASU football game.
Lane Transit District (LTD) General Manager Ron Kilcoyne, right, accepts the 2013 Ripple of Hope Award from Terry McDonald, executive director, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, OR. The award recognizes an agency in the Eugene-Springfield area that partners with St. Vincent de Paul and other area organizations to provide emergency housing for the homeless. LTD earned the honor for transporting homeless people to the organization’s Egan Warming Centers when temperatures drop below 30 degrees. McDonald said: “I don’t think I am exaggerating that your efforts literally have saved lives.” He explained that the society operates centers throughout the region, rather than in a centralized location, adding: “As we all know, public transport is absolutely the glue that holds that effort together."
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) welcomed the first of its new 7000-series railcars Jan. 6 at Greenbelt Station. The new cars from Kawasaki will undergo testing over the next several months before full-scale production begins later this year. The 528-vehicle order includes 300 cars that will replace the oldest cars in the fleet, the 1000-series, and additional cars to accommodate ridership growth anticipated when the Silver Line enters service. WMATA incorporated customer comments into specifications for the 7000-series cars, such as seat design and material, flooring material and colors, interior layout, and accessibility elements. Participants in the tour of the railcar included Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD); Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently completed its first-ever online auction, providing public transit fans with their own piece of CTA history in time for the holidays.
During the week-long event, customers placed 1,737 bids totaling more than $34,000 on 117 items, including two vintage 2200-series railcars. The auction generated 36,000 page views on the auction website hosted by firm Rick Levin Associates Inc.
“The CTA is pleased with the outcome of our first auction of bus and rail memorabilia and to be able to offer collectibles to our customers and fans,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.
The vintage railcars received 59 bids, with top bids of $13,150 and $10,000—well above the $4,000 each car would have fetched as scrap. The CTA retired the 2200-series, built between 1969 and 1971, from its fleet earlier this year.
Other popular items included a bus shelter and railway crossing that each sold for $400, a farebox machine for $360, a rail conductor seat for $310, and a bus stop sign for $250.
One of the vintage CTA railcars sold during an online auction.
Photo by Travelportland.com
Riders on the Amtrak Cascades line can get a taste of Portland, OR, as they grab a bite to eat when they ride in the specially wrapped and designed dining car that is part of the rail line’s Portland Express. The dining car’s exterior is covered in iconic images portraying many of Portland’s landmarks, restaurants, and tourist attractions, while the interior features custom wallpaper, furniture, and accessories provided or inspired by Portland vendors and artisans. The special car will be in service through March.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus launched a year-long celebration of its 40th-anniversary year with a family-friendly celebration Dec. 31 at First Night Columbus, followed by free fares on New Year’s Day.
COTA’s “Bus Ride to Fun” at First Night Columbus gave guests an opportunity to enter a prize drawing by collecting at least seven exhibitor stamps on a special pass. The agency also provided late night service on two bus routes until 3 a.m. on Jan. 1.
In recognition of COTA’s first day providing public transportation services on Jan. 1, 1974, passengers rode free between midnight Jan. 1 and midnight Jan. 2. The agency will also mark service changes throughout the year with special 50-cent fares on the first day of each change.
Each year, APTA publishes and distributes to its members a wall calendar that presents some of the many facets of public transportation, offers interesting data points about the value of public transit, and tracks key APTA events. Here’s what’s on tap for January:
The photo: This month’s photo features students boarding the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) Metro Express at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA. The photo is provided courtesy of the RTD.
The factoid: Did you know? 35 million times each weekday, people board public transportation.
The event: APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors Annual Business Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22-24 in Del Mar, CA.
Metro Bus, St. Cloud, MN, collected more than one ton of food and more than $1,400 in 18 hours during its “Fill the Flyer” Food Drive. Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan Daniel, third from right, joins agency employees, Boy Scout volunteers, and Santa Claus outside the collection bus.
DART First State participated in a radio station’s “12 Days of Christmas” toy drive by providing a bus to serve as a collection point for Toys for Tots in a store parking lot in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Donations included thousands of toys, 57 bikes, 60 winter coats, and numerous bags of hats, gloves, and scarves. In addition, DART First State employees donated more than 90 toys at Toys for Tots collection boxes in all agency facilities statewide.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) Charity Club Holiday Shop provided more than 600 bicycles and 11,000 other toys this year. MARTA employees who participate in the voluntary club give year-round. The group has raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for more than 400 Atlanta-area charities and nonprofits.
Festively dressed participants in the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC) Holiday Bike Ride pose with the toys they donated to a Las Vegas radio station’s annual toy drive for local children. The 10-mile, round-trip ride began and ended at the RTC’s Westcliff Transit Center.
Employees of Dallas Area Rapid Transit joined local print and broadcast partners in stuffing a bus with toys, canned goods, socks and blankets to benefit two employee-organized charitable campaigns.
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) collected $5,300 from its riders during Fares for Food Day—enough for the Food Bank of Iowa to provide 23,850 meals. Food Bank of Iowa Executive Director Carey Miller, center, accepts the check from DART officials, from left: Planning Director Jim Tishim, Commission Chairman Steve Van Oort, General Manager Elizabeth Presutti, Marketing Director Kirstin Baer-Harding, Chief Financial Officer Jamie Schug, and Public Affairs Manager Gunnar Olson.
BY DOUG EADIE, Doug Eadie & Company
Consider this true story from the field: When the board-savvy general manager (CEO) of the regional transit authority approached his board chair about the need for a better designed process for board evaluation of his performance, suggesting that the board’s governance committee devote a couple of work sessions coming up with a new approach, he got the gut response he’d expected: “If it ain’t broke, why bother trying to fix it? We’ve got plenty going on already.”
No one on the board was pressuring him to improve the process, the chair pointed out; in fact, everyone seemed pretty satisfied with the questionnaire they’d been using for a decade or so. The GM didn’t press the point at first, instead opting to educate his chair over the next few weeks. They were early in the new fiscal year, so there was time to re-design the process and actually use it at the end of the year. So over the course of a series of breakfast meetings, the GM convinced his chair that the current process, involving a questionnaire that essentially measured board members’ opinions about the GM’s functional competence in areas like financial planning and supervision, was dangerously subjective, missing the key outcomes piece and leaving both the board and GM at a disadvantage.
The next steps were for the chair and GM to reach agreement on the outline of a more outcomes focused process and on the chair’s playing the leading role in fleshing out the outline with the governance committee over the course of two work sessions, which the chair agreed to schedule. Naturally, the chair suggested that the GM, being the CEO and having a big stake in the outcome, take the lead in the work sessions, but he came around when the GM pointed out that it’d take the chair’s influence to overcome the inevitable resistance from committee members who were pretty comfortable with the way evaluation had been done for as long as they’d been on the board. As the GM expected, the board chair’s strong leadership did the trick, and the upgraded evaluation process was implemented during the current fiscal year.
What Board-Savvy CEOs Know
I could share many more true stories of successful board chair-CEO collaboration, but the reader can easily see what board-savvy CEOs well know: Investing in the development of a rock-solid board chair-CEO working relationship can yield powerful organizational dividends. In fact, I would suggest that one of the preeminent priorities of a truly board-savvy CEO is to transform her board chair into a strong governing partner, a reliable ally, and when needed, an ardent change champion. The board chair makes an especially important partner for the CEO not only because of her formal authority as “CEO” of the governing board, but also the fact that board chairs are often major actors who wield tremendous influence in their communities, including in the profession or industry an association represents. I’ve seen board-savvy CEOs successfully employ five major strategies in building close and productive working relationships with their board chair:
1. Reach agreement with the board chair on the fundamental division of labor with the CEO.
2. Get to know the board chair really well.
3. Actively help the board chair succeed in her formal governing role.
4. Actively assist the board chair in having a richer, more satisfying experience beyond her formal leadership role.
5. And never miss an opportunity to provide the board chair with ego satisfaction, often in little but important ways.
A Closing Word on the Division of Labor
“I’m not sure why you’re talking about CEOs reaching agreement with their board chairs on the division of labor. Isn’t it pretty obvious?”
My response to this question, which came up last week in a nonprofit CEO seminar I was conducting, was an emphatic “Yes and no.”
Yes, it’s true that the board chair is the formal leader of board deliberations, and normally organizational bylaws specify that she has the authority to appoint the chairs and members of the board’s standing committees and ad hoc task forces and committees and to refer matters to the appropriate committee.
But when you think about it, even that seemingly clear responsibility must be shared with the CEO for the simple reason that board chairs, being part-time volunteers for the most part, can’t possibly play their board leader role alone.
Active collaboration with, and strong support from, the CEO is essential for their success. And in the realm of external relations, both the board chair and CEO are commonly viewed as major actors, so they’d better pay some attention to coordination and division of labor or they’ll be stumbling all over each other. So every board-savvy CEO I’ve ever worked with has made a point of sitting down with a new board chair to discuss in detail how they’ll be working together.
This article is excerpted with permission from Eadie’s 20th book, The Board-Savvy CEO: Building a High-Impact Partnership With Your Board, which can be found here, and was the subject of a podcast with APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. Eadie is also scheduled to present at APTA’s Transit CEOs Seminar, Feb. 8-11, in New Orleans. He can be contacted here or here.
This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.
CHICAGO, IL—Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Rebekah Scheinfeld as commissioner of Chicago DOT. Her nomination is subject to Chicago City Council approval.
Scheinfeld serves the Chicago Transit Authority as chief planning officer and a senior vice president. Her duties include strategic planning for major capital projects and new public transit service.
She is an attorney who previously worked at Mayer Brown, representing public and private sector clients on major infrastructure and transportation projects.
GLOUCESTER, MA—Lindsay Robertson is joining GannonConsult, a leadership consultancy, as its director, based in Arlington, VA. She will be responsible for the planning and execution of the firm’s training, team building, and partnering practice, among other responsibilities.
Robertson previously served as director of the Eno Center for Transportation Leadership. For APTA, she is a member of the Human Resources Committee.
WASHINGTON, DC—Parsons Brinckerhoff has named Gunay Gun a project manager in its Washington office.
Before joining the firm, Gun was a program management consultant with various Virginia consulting firms, responsible for managing capital development programs on behalf of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Federal Aviation Administration, and Virginia DOT.
Dave Rich, Bill Fay
GREENVILLE, SC—Proterra Inc. announced the appointments of Dave Rich as chief financial officer and Bill Fay as vice president of sales.
Rich joins the company with 23 years of financial and business leadership experience, including 19 years in progressively responsible roles within Ford Motor Company. Most recently, he was chief financial officer at Toyota Boshoku America.
Fay has more than 20 years of industry experience, most recently with Clever Devices as vice president and managing director of North Carolina operations, where he led the Clever Care sales and service organization along with all OEM relationships. He also has held senior management positions with Digital Recorders, TwinVision, ElDorado National Bus Company, and Blue Bird.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—Rick Cain, administrator of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and director of the city’s Public Transportation and Parking Department since 2004, has announced his retirement effective Feb. 20, 2014. He has worked in public transportation for 23 years.
Cain is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2002 and a member of these APTA committees: Awards, Bus and Paratransit CEOs, Legislative, Marketing and Communications, Member Services, Small Operations, and Small Operations Steering, as well as the Streetcar Subcommittee.
NEWARK, NJ—Paul Sullivan has been named a senior supervising engineer in the Newark office of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB).
Sullivan has 25 years of experience in planning and design for public transit systems and facilities in project management roles, across a wide range of rail and bus modes. Prior to joining PB, he worked for an international consulting engineering firm, responsible for managing large-scale transit projects across the U.S. He earlier was director of passenger facilities planning and engineering project manager for New Jersey Transit Corporation.
SPOKANE, WA—URS Corporation has named Tom Reese operations manager of its Spokane office.
Reese has worked in both the public and private sectors in the Spokane area for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was director of business development for Lydig Construction. He also has served as economic development advisor in the mayor’s office and as an urban designer with the city’s planning department.
Edward La Guardia
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Edward La Guardia, P.E., has joined Michael Baker International as chief engineer of the firm’s rail and transit practice.
La Guardia has more than 34 years experience in the railroad industry. He previously worked for Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, managing the engineering, construction, and operating maintenance of the physical plant for all modes. of the transit authority in Philadelphia. For APTA, he is a member of the Commuter Rail and Rail Transit committees, Elevators and Escalators Technical Forum, and Rail Conference Planning Subcommittee.
Howard H. Haynes Jr.
ORLANDO, FL—Hill International has named Howard H. Haynes Jr., P.E., CCE, senior vice president in charge of the firm’s Construction Claims Group operations in Florida.
Haynes has more than 25 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry. Prior to joining Hill, he was senior vice president with Delta Consulting Group. Before that, he was president and founder of Haynes Massa & Associates.
William (Bill) Barringer, Clyde J. Hart Jr., Steven Neubauer, Scott Sauer, Shayne Gill, Michael Logue, Terry Ludban
ALEXANDRIA, VA—William (Bill) Barringer, director of grade crossing safety at Norfolk Southern Corporation, has been named chairman of Operation Lifesaver's board of directors. He succeeds Cliff Stayton, director of hazardous materials programs at CSX.
Clyde J. Hart Jr., a board member since 2007, was re-elected vice chairman, and Steven Neubauer, who joined the board in 2012, was elected secretary-treasurer.
The board also welcomed four new members: Scott Sauer, director of system safety, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia; Shayne Gill, program manager, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Michael Logue, chief safety officer, Amtrak; and Terry Ludban, director of community affairs and safety, CSX.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—HNTB Corporation announced the appointment of Dominic Spaethling as rail-transit market sector leader for the San Francisco region.
Spaethling has worked in the transportation industry for more than two decades. He comes to HNTB Corporation from Parsons Brinckerhoff, where he was a vice president. He also is a former planning manager for Amtrak in Oakland, CA.
TORONTO, ON—John Howe has joined Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall as vice president, strategic consulting. The firm is the Canadian operating company of Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Howe previously served as vice president, investment strategy and project evaluation, at Metrolinx, an agency of the Ontario government created to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. He also has been senior infrastructure strategy advisor to the premier of Ontario; director, federal provincial infrastructure strategy; and director, Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Secretariat.
Wael W. Safi
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees recently welcomed Wael W. Safi, Pharm.D., corporate functions and open innovation manager, San Francisco Bay Area and university relations, for Procter & Gamble.
He chaired the Cincinnati Health Department from 2010-2013.
DALLAS, TX—Rick Stopfer, a former city official in Irving, TX, has been appointed to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors by the Irving City Council.
Stopfer was an Irving councilman from 1998-2012, the city’s deputy mayor pro tem from 2007-2008, and mayor pro tem from 2008-2009. He is a retired automotive consultant.
BARRIE, ON—Steve Donald has joined Stantec as railway operations planning and modeling lead, based in the firm’s Barrie office.
Donald has worked in the railway industry for 30 years.