March 4, 2014
About Fast Mail
Fast Mail is a compilation from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) of the latest news and updates from the Community Transportation industry that delivers timely information, resources, and announcements to our members, colleagues and friends. Please keep us posted on your latest news and developments by emailing your content to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the Depot
New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff
- CTAA Launches New Project: RideShareNation (PDF)(236 KB)
The Community Transportation Association of America recently launched its new project, RideShareNation. The new effort – located at http://www.ridesharenation.com – provides news, resources, research, networking, training, financing and more about the connections between the rideshare and transit industries for ridesharing and public transit professionals as well as advocates in order to improve the nation's mobility. RideShareNation users will be able create strategies that encourage the traveling public to help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. The project also focuses on abandoned areas and communities that have experienced declining use of public transportation and ridesharing.
- CTAA's Small Urban Network's Legislative Staff Briefing (PDF)(306 KB)
On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, CTAA's Small Urban Network (SUN) will host a legislative briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building here in Washington, D.C., for staff of U.S. congressional representatives and senators. We'd like your help in spreading the word on the briefing with staff members of your state's senators and representatives. You can download a formal invitation to the briefing which we'd ask you to share with any contacts that you and your organization may have with the staff of your local member of Congress and state's U.S. senators. The briefing will focus on the priorities the SUN has recommended for changes to the nation's surface transportation legislation (MAP-21) as well as federal regulations that impact small urban communities. All CTAA and SUN members are welcome to join us for the briefing.
- EXPO 2014 Registration Now Open
The annual Community Transportation EXPO is your chance to join colleagues from around the nation in a setting dedicated to fresh ideas, innovative products and services, networking and learning. The official site for the 2014 Twin Cities EXPO is now live, including registration. Check in regularly for updates on the nation's most important community and public transportation conference.
- CTAA Members: Participate in the APTA International Bus Roadeo for 30- & 40-Foot Buses
APTA's 2014 International Bus Roadeo is scheduled for May 2-6, 2014, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown and Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo. CTAA members who operate 30- and 40-foot buses can enter their drivers at APTA's member rate (the same is true for APTA members entering CTAA's National Community Transportation Roadeo in St. Paul, June 7-8, 2014).
- Visit CTAA's Community Transportation Marketplace
The Community Transportation Association is pleased to announce the debut of the Community Transportation Marketplace, an online portal of vendors, products and services similar to our annual, printed Buyers Guide magazine. Take a look and browse the community and public transportation industry's most thorough and navigable electronic resources of products and services.
The Capitol Limited
News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital
- CTAA Applauds Reauthorization Proposals from Obama, Camp
The twin proposals address the fundamental challenge of the reauthorization process: identifying new revenue to support levels of investment necessary to maintain and expand the nation's surface transportation network. During the legislative process in 2012 that ultimately produced MAP-21, revenue sources were not revealed to the public until passage of the legislation was imminent, and those sources were only stop-gap measures, hence MAP-21 was a two-year bill. On behalf of its more than 4,000 members, the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is encouraged by these developments from leaders in both parties at the federal level. Click here for more.
- U.S. Senators Udall, Heller Introduce Bill to Improve Health Care for Rural Veterans
Source: Sen. Tom Udall
Recently, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced a bill to address some of the biggest barriers to health care for veterans in rural communities. The Rural Veterans Improvement Act would improve access to care by expanding transportation options, recruiting and retaining doctors, and prioritizing improvements at rural clinics.
The Community Transportation Flyer
Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country
- Tri-River Transit Successful in Logan County (W. Va.)
Source: Logan Banner
Tri-River Transit is a growing and successful business, jumping from 56,000 passengers riding the buses in 2010, to over 80,000 passengers picked up through the system during 2013. The Logan route accounted for over 16,000 passengers, with the first year of a new route for Man having 3,800 passengers, which was good considering the road was closed for nearly three months.
- CoMo Connect Transit Overhaul Wins Columbia (Mo.) Council Approval
Source: Columbia Tribune
The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a motion at its regular meeting directing Columbia Transit to get rolling on the implementation of CoMo Connect, a major facelift for the city's bus system that will include the retirement of Wabash Station as the bus system's primary hub. The current "hub-and-spoke" or "orbital pulse" system of organizing routes — which generally begin and end at Wabash, located downtown — will be replaced with a system in which two commuter routes that span the city north-south and east-west link up with smaller neighborhood routes running tighter circles within certain areas of the city.
- Biloxi (Miss.) Ups Contribution to Coast Transit to Preserve Service
Faced with cuts in service to seniors, the disabled and other riders, the Biloxi Council voted 4-3 to provide an additional $65,000 to Coast Transit Authority this year. For the past two months, dozens of people who ride CTA told the council how they depend on CTA to get to work, shopping, doctors and church.
- Frigid Cold Helps Dunn County Transit (Wis.) Set Ridership Record
Frigid weather means more bus riders, and in record numbers. Dunn County Transit manager Kent Conklin told the Dunn County Board that in February, the weekday average has been 1,619 trips, far outpacing the record 1,000 trips a day in 2013. "This cold weather is great for my business," Conklin said.
- Dial-A-Ride Participation Up in Surprise, Sun City West (Ariz.)
Source: Your West Valley News
Sun City West and Surprise have experienced increases in the use of Northwest Valley Dial-A-Ride, officials learned this week. Speaking at the Community Transportation Stakeholders meeting Thursday at Benevilla in Surprise, Arleen Schenck, Valley Metro Mobility Services manager, said Surprise has seen the greatest increase in use while Sun City West has experienced a slight rise since services were added a year ago. This service is the Valley Metro's public transportation alternative for residents of Surprise, Youngtown, El Mirage, Sun City and Sun City West who are unable to use local bus service.
- Transit Station Opens in Sabre Springs (Calif.)
Source: Fox 5 San Diego
Area transportation officials showed off the newly improved Sabre Springs/Penasquitos Transit Station, which underwent a $12.2 million, one-year renovation. The facility has a new multi-level parking structure and added surface parking for a total of 630 vehicles. The station also has eight bus bays, passenger shelters, next vehicle arrival signs, 10 electric vehicle charging stations, a bicycle parking building, designated spaces for clean-air and vanpool vehicles, electronic parking space availability signs, security cameras and water-efficient landscaping.
- Rutgers, NJ Transit Team to Teach People With Disabilities to Ride Trains and Buses
Source: The Star-Ledger
Rutgers University and NJ Transit have come together to offer a free program to teach commuters with disabilities to ride trains and buses. The program — called NJTIP@Rutgers — offers individual and group programs to help people with autism, Down syndrome, mental illnesses, mobility problems and other disabilities navigate the public transportation system, according to a report on Rutgers Today, the university's news site.
- Kitsap Transit (Wash.) Seeks Passenger-Only Ferry Plan
Source: Bremerton Patriot
Kitsap Transit is putting out a request for proposals this week in hopes of hiring a consultant to develop a long-range plan for cross Sound passenger only ferry service. Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson says that bids should come back by March 19 and will then be reviewed by a special committee. He said he hopes to see a final report by the end of August. The agency is poised to spend up to $300,000 for the plan.
- Porterville City Transit Service May Expand to Lindsay (Calif.)
Source: The Porterville Recorder
Porterville Transit may start including Strathmore and Lindsay in future routes, officials said. "There's a study for expanding transit and dollar ride transit," said Porterville Transit Manager Richard Tree. Porterville's transit has been increasing in ridership since the program was put into place. In fact, it has grown so much that extra hours plus weekends have been added to the routes. One of the most popular routes is to the Eagle Mountain Casino. However, the transit system does not provide transportation as of yet to areas such as Strathmore and Lindsay. A study is currently being done to determine the feasibility of expanding Porterville's transit out to those areas.
- New Capital Transit Plan Boosts Mendenhall Valley (Alaska) Bus Service
Bus service on Riverside Drive in Juneau's Mendenhall Valley could start by midsummer, if city officials adopt a new Capital Transit plan. Valley buses also would be rolling 30 minutes earlier each day. The bus system has been under review for nearly a year and the 2014 Transit Development Plan is now complete.
- Okanogan County Transit Authority (Wash.) Gets Loan to Jump-Start Operations
Source: Methow Valley News
The new Okanogan County Transit Authority (OCTA) has secured a bank loan to help with startup costs, after being turned down for a loan by Okanogan County commissioners. Creation of a new countywide bus system received strong support from voters in last November's general election, winning approval by a margin of 56 to 44 percent. In approving the transit authority, voters authorized a new sales tax of up to 0.4 percent to fund the new public transportation system.
- New Rochester (N.Y.) Downtown Transit Center to Open November 28
News10NBC is learning new information about the new transit center downtown. Officials say the center will open five months early. Passengers will be welcomed starting November 28, which is Black Friday. The new RTS station is located on Mortimer Street near St. Paul. It spans an entire city block and can accommodate 100 buses per hour. It will include an indoor space and will be heated in the winter.
- Tax for Improved Transit Services in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti (Mich.) Will Go on May Ballot
Source: Ann Arbor News
Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will be asked on May 6 to approve a new tax to pay for an expansion of local public transit services. The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's governing board voted unanimously Thursday night to place the question on the ballot in the three communities that make up the official membership of the AAATA. The owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 (and a taxable value of $50,000) would pay $35 per year under the proposed 0.7-mill levy.
- Proterra Sells Seven Battery-Electric Transit Buses to Nashville MTA
Proterra Inc., the leading provider of zero-emission battery electric transit solutions, recently announced the sale of seven buses and an electric charging station to Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (Nashville MTA). The buses are slated to be built at Proterra's manufacturing facility in Greenville, S.C. and delivered to Nashville this year.
- Advertisement: Champion Bus, Inc. Announces immediate release of the LF Transport FlexBus
Source: Champion Bus, Inc.
The FlexBus Line of vehicles represents the next generation of innovative vehicles that are designed to exceed the expectations of today's passengers and operators. By utilizing the latest advancements in transit vehicle manufacturing, the Champion LF Transport FlexBus provides the very best in vehicle accessibility without compromising reliability and safety. The FlexBus combination of patent and patent-pending technologies eliminates the need for hazardous interior steps and cumbersome lifts, producing equal access and a positive transit experience for all riders.
- Follow Us on Twitter!
For all the latest transit industry updates including local system highlights, federal and legislative news follow @CTMag1 and @RAILmag on twitter.
The Porter's Station
Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training
- 2014 STAR Awards Application to Open March 20
The 2014 STAR Awards Application for volunteer driver programs will open on Thursday, March 20, and will close on Friday, April 11, 2014. Awards will range from $2,500 to $10,000. Links to the application will be available on the CTAA, Ride Connection, and Beverly Foundation Legacy websites. Applicants must include volunteer drivers in their delivery of transportation services. The STAR Award program was initiated by the Beverly Foundation in 2000 to gather information about transportation programs that served senior passengers and to celebrate their excellence in service delivery. From 2000 through 2013, 143 STAR Awards totaling more than $1,000,000 were conveyed to 125 organizations in 47 states (and Puerto Rico). The STAR Award applications have gathered data on more than 1,500 unduplicated transportation services, many of which provide rides to older adults. More than 900 of those services include volunteer drivers. In late 2013, the STAR Award program was transferred to CTAA, Ride Connection, and the newly-organized National Volunteer Transportation Center. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Highlight Your Mobility Management Practices Nationally!
Has your community implemented a practice that has improved transportation? Please tell us about it by completing a practice description. We are especially interested in the impact this practice had in your community and the setting in which it was implemented. Information about the context and conditions under which the practice is implemented will assist other communities to make informed decisions about applying a particular practice within their own setting. Please share your practices with the National Center for Mobility Management.
- Report: 2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit – Conditions & Performance
Source: Federal Highway Administration
This document is a summary of the 2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance report to Congress (C&P report). The C&P report is intended to provide decision makers with an objective appraisal of the physical conditions, operational performances, and financing mechanisms of highways, bridges, and transit systems based both on the current state of these systems and on their projected future state under a set of alternative future investment scenarios. This report offers a comprehensive, data-driven background context to support the development and evaluation of legislative, program, and budget options at all levels of government. It also serves as a primary source of information for national and international news media, transportation associations, and industry.
The Whistle Stop
Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation
- Iowa's Transit Fleet Showing Its Age; Lack of Federal Bus Capital Program to Blame
Until 2011, Iowa typically had received between $5 million and $10 million annually for its bus replacement needs via federal earmarks, Little said. But that funding largely disappeared with a congressional earmarks ban three years ago, and Little said the state's transit systems have been losing ground since then. Last year, for instance, the state's Public Transportation Department received about $1 million in federal money, and the state allocated $3 million from its Iowa Capital Access Program for transit replacement. Instead, cities are trying to stretch out the lives of their old buses. For Iowa City's transit mechanics, that means more frequent oil changes and staying ahead of maintenance schedules — ensuring heating and cooling systems are up and running well ahead of the necessary season, for instance. For passengers, older buses can result in rocky suspensions or draftier rides. And although newer buses have entryways and a ramp at ground level, older models often have steps and a mechanical lift.
- What's So Hard About Mass Transit?
We are talking about something that will still have to pass muster with taxpayers. If, that is, the taxpayers are ever given the chance to have their say. Making law has been famously likened to making sausage. The end-product may be delicious, but you'd hate to see what goes into it. That's an understatement in this case. In the end, though, you have to wonder why so many of our legislators are so afraid of what the people of central Indiana might (or might not) want when it comes to public transportation. Why is this so hard?
- Leave Transit Decisions to the Experts
Source: Toronto Star
Toronto should pull the transit file from the political sphere by making it possible for politicians to vote only on how much money is put toward transit. The actual decision of what happens to the money should be left to the professionals. There would have to be an oversight committee to make sure there was no cronyism taking place between the politicians and the transit engineers. The only people who should be making the decisions about what kind of transit there is and where it should go are the professionals who must simply shake their head in frustration every time a project is announced.
- MetroAccess is a Public Transit Lifeline for People with Disabilities
Source: Washington Post
Mandated by the Americans With Disabilities Act, MetroAccess is vital to many of its 32,000 users, people who are not physically capable of riding Metro's buses or trains or who might feel frightened doing so because of their disabilities. For Rush and others, it's a key to an active, fulfilling lifestyle, allowing them to avoid becoming shut-ins or burdens to their families.
- Transit Improves with Collaboration
Source: Eagle Valley Enterprise In 2010, Avon and Eagle County (Colo.) partnered (collaborated) to fund the design of the transit facility. The project was awarded several federal and state grants to help pay for the majority of the professional services and construction of the transportation-related elements of the project. The final design resulted in a project that could be built in phases and allow for future expansion as transit demand grew. The work of many individuals resulted in a building that houses 24 buses and can expand to include four more vehicles. The facility includes offices, a meeting room, radio dispatch station, wash and service bay and break room. The building also features several green qualities including; recycled asphalt, a storm-water management system and an energy efficient HVAC system. It was also built using made-in-the USA materials.
- Advertisement: Why Your Company Needs Directors & Officers Insurance
Did you know that directors of public or private companies can be held liable for their decisions? Sure, anything is possible one might think, but statistics show this reality is far more pervasive than one might expect. In fact, more than 39 percent of private companies (with more than 25 employees) had a D&O (Directors & Officers) suit filed against them in the last five years. Most insurance providers that meet the points above are likely qualified to help, but if you want to speak directly with an expert, call Newtek Business Services at 1-855-284-3722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have someone reach you.
The Information Station
Resources from CTAA
- CTAA, Partners Create National Volunteer Transportation Center (PDF)(387 KB)
The Community Transportation Association of America announces the creation of a National Volunteer Transportation Center. The founders of the new Center are: Community Transportation Association of Washington, D.C.; the Beverly Foundation of Albuquerque, N.M.; Ride Connection of Portland, Ore.; CIMA Volunteers Insurance of Woodbridge, Va.; and AlterNetWays of San Francisco, Calif. The new Center was created in response to the outpouring of interest in volunteerism related to the delivery of transportation services to many population groups, especially older adults. Its founders have extensive experience in studying, supporting, and delivering volunteer transportation and are aware of the positive experience of those who volunteer to provide services as well as the many benefits accorded to those who receive the services.
- Ahead of the Curve: CTAA's Safety Training Programs Lead the Way
For community and public transportation operators safety has always been the priority. Recent action by the Congress to include new transit safety requirements in the latest surface transportation law reinforces this industry-wide commitment. To help transit agencies further meet their system safety goals and come into compliance with the forthcoming federal transit guidelines, CTAA has launched the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) program.
PASS Training is Now Available Online!
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is excited to announce PASS Basic, the online alternative to its passenger assistance training. Simply by going to http://training.ctaa.org you can access the virtual classroom experience through six audio/visual modules which will prepare your drivers to attend the hands-on aspect of PASS training and attain full PASS driver certification.
- Veterans Transportation Resources
The National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination (NRC) has put together a list of resources for transportation (and other human services) issues from the perspective of veterans and military families.
- Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships to Promote Community Living
The mission of this project, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living is to demonstrate the value that inclusive processes can bring to transportation efforts. The Community Transportation Association of America, in partnership with Easter Seals, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Westat, is developing, testing and demonstrating ways to empower people with disabilities and older adults to be actively involved in designing and implementing coordinated transportation systems.
- Certified Safety and Security Officer Program
Also, learn more about CTAA's safety training programs. The mission of this Certified Safety and Security Officer Program is to assist in improving the professional preparedness of public and community transportation officers, and to maximize their ability to provide safe and secure transit service.
- The Competitive Edge: Making Community and Public Transit the Best Alternative for Medical Transportation: Today there is never-before-seen complexity in the non-emergency medical transportation field. Limited funding combined with growing patient loads has states seeking intermediaries that can control costs through competition. Community and public transportation providers must become efficient, safe, cost-effective and accountable to maintain these important medical transportation services. The Community Transportation Association, in response to requests from its members, is introducing a new initiative -- the Competitive Edge -- which will give community and public transit providers the tools, resources and benefits they need to make them central players in this new medical transportation environment.
The Transportation to Work Toolkit for the Business Community gives businesses the information they need now to assist their employees in achieving a timely, cost-efficient commute that promotes productivity and job satisfaction. Explore the toolkit's flyers, fact sheets, resources and examples of transportation initiatives undertaken by employers nationwide. Each approach is straightforward to launch and simple to manage.
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines