APTA | Passenger Transport Express
August 21, 2009

News Headlines

Rail Transit CEOs, Millar Discuss Rail Safety With LaHood

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on August 20 called on leaders from various sectors of the rail transit industry to join him at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington to discuss how rail transit safety regulation could be improved. The group comprised rail transit CEOs, union leaders, and state transit safety experts. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, who chairs DOT’s Multimodal Safety Working Group, presided over the meeting. Also in attendance were Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and Peter Appel, administrator of FTA’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

APTA President William Millar gave a summary of the recent survey of APTA rail transit CEOs regarding ways rail transit safety could be improved. Joining him were representatives of several APTA public transit member systems, including APTA Chair Beverly Scott, general manager and CEO of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Gary Thomas, APTA vice chair for rail transit and president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit; and Patrick A. Nowakowski, executive director of the Dulles (VA) Rail Project and chair of APTA’s Rail Transit Committee.

This meeting was the first of a series to be held in the months ahead with a wide variety of stakeholders, as DOT develops its policy and legislative ideas.

For more information, contact APTA’s Kathy Waters at kwaters@apta.com or 202-496-4030. Look for more details in the August 31 issue of Passenger Transport.

DOT: ARRA Investment in Public Transit Created 4,400 Jobs in June Alone

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted in his official blog that public transit projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resulted in an estimated 4,400 jobs in the month of June alone.

Rail Transit Standards Out for Public Comment

In response to APTA members’ commitment to increase the effectiveness of safety devices and features on rail transit vehicles, the APTA Rail Transit Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Committee, chaired by Jayendra Shah, general superintendent of the division of car equipment for MTA New York City Transit, has released for public comment three APTA standards addressing emergency lighting and low-level-path marking. The 30-day comment period begins today.

The Standard for Emergency Lighting System Design for Rail Transit Vehicles specifies performance criteria for the emergency lighting systems and requires tests to validate their design.  The Standard for Emergency Signage for Rail Transit Vehicles specifies minimum design and performance criteria for rail transit car emergency signage and requires design-validation tests. The Standard for Low-Location Emergency Path Marking for Rail Transit Vehicles  provides guidance to rail transit systems in specifying minimum required equipment and performance measures for low-location emergency path markings.

These standards can be reviewed and comments can be submitted via the APTA Standards web page.

Report Documents Public Transportation Service Cuts; 2009 Fare Database Now Available

A new report titled “Stranded at the Station: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Public Transportation” details the service cuts many public transit systems have been forced to undertake due to insufficient budgets. The report, produced by Transportation for America, complements the findings of APTA’s recent APTA member survey on fare increases and service cuts.

This report echoes the findings of APTA’s recent work to document transit fares in the newly released 2009 Public Transportation Fare Database, a comprehensive survey of APTA’s transit agency members on fares, including information on adult base fares, distance and time surcharges, fare payment options, special categorized passenger fares, and demand response passenger fares.  A total of 235 transit members participated this year, including 42 of the largest 50 public transportation systems in the United States. 

The survey confirms that the majority (52 percent) of public transit systems were forced to raise fares over the past year, with an average increase of more than 20 percent.  An additional 19 percent of systems report planned fare increases between July 2009 and July 2010.  The survey also highlights the increasing use of advanced fare collection technology, with 43 percent of systems selling fare media online.  The database is free to members and can be downloaded from the APTA bookstore.

Save the Date: Early Registration Deadline Is Monday

Monday, August 24, is the deadline for early registration for the 2009 APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, October 4-7. Visit the APTA web site to download the preliminary program and to save money by registering now.

In the Media

The winning designs in a month-long contest to create projects for re-imagining suburbia have been chosen. Among the submissions for the Reburbia Competition was a design for a “modular,” gondola-style rail car.

An old rail tunnel in the Texas Hill Country is now home to millions of bats, the Associated Press reports.

Taxicab drivers in Johannesburg, South Africa, are objecting to a new bus system being introduced there, according to the Associated Press.

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