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November 16, 2015

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



The Capitol Limited

News on federal transportation policy and developments from the Nation's Capital

  • CTAA's SUN Leadership Makes STIC Recommendation
    Leaders with CTAA's Small Urban Network have urged House-Senate Surface Transportation Conference Committee members to support the Senate language the increases the STIC set-aside to 2 percent immediately rather than House language deferring the same increase to 2019.


TripSpark Technologies

Around the Depot

New products, documents, upcoming events and training from CTAA's staff

  • Urgent: Tell Us How You Serve Veterans
    As we look back on last week's Veteran's Day, it reminds us that our returning veterans rely on our transportation services more than ever to connect them to needed services. The transit connections you provide to social events, medical appointments and employment make a difference daily in the lives of those who have served us well. CTAA and Easter Seals are collecting stories of the positive outcomes that have resulted from the transportation you provide to veterans and the relationships you have formed with local veterans' groups and others. Please send us a paragraph describing how veterans' access to the community and beyond has changed as a result of the services you provide. Discuss positive changes that have come through local and regional partnerships. Tell your story by sending a brief description along with your contact information to CTAA's Scott Bogren at
  • This Week: Next Edition of DigitalCT to Explore the Future of Ridesharing & Transit
    Stay tuned to your inboxes in the coming week for the next edition of DigitalCT Magazine, which will take a broad look at the many ways ridesharing, ride-hailing, micro-transit and other trend-setting options will set the stage for the future of mobility.

The Community Transportation Flyer

Updates from community and public transportation systems from across the country

  • Ohio's Rural Transit Providers Get Cash Infusion
    Source: The Marion Star
    That's thanks to $6.8 million in federal grant money awarded to 34 transit systems in Ohio's rural counties to update how they dispatch buses. Many still use paper and pen while their urban neighbors use GPS technology to track where buses are located, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said. With money for new technology, transit service providers can track where each vehicle is located and dispatch the closest one, saving customers time and the company money. Others groups that help low-income or elderly residents find rides could schedule those pickups more easily, Bruning said. ODOT will roll out the improvements, which will total $7.3 million, over the next three years, Bruning said. Transit systems with no scheduling software and no broadband access are on the top of the list.
  • St. Tammany Parish (La.) Forms New STAR Transit System
    Source: Times-Picayune
    St. Tammany Parish government's GoStat bus program and the Council on Aging's transportation service have been merged to create a new and more cost-effective system, the parish announced on Nov. 3. The new system is called St. Tammany Area Transit, or STAR Transit. The parish government re-evaluated the transit operations to address a funding gap created by a significant decrease in federal funding for local transit in both rural and urban areas, the release said. The new STAR Transit service began in October. Passengers must call ahead to schedule trips, and are asked to do so a week in advance.
  • Whatcom Transportation Authority (Wash.) Wants More Seniors to Benefit from Fixed Bus Routes
    Source: Bellingham Herald
    Only about 5 percent of riders on WTA's fixed bus routes in Whatcom County are over 65. That figure does not include seniors who use the agency's paratransit service. Just under half, 49.6 percent, of the people who used the paratransit service are over 65. For seniors, advantages of using the fixed routes go far beyond just reaching a destination. Other benefits include spontaneity, greater independence, social connections, and the chance to interact with people of different ages.
  • Cimarron Transit (Okla.) Offers Reduced Public Transportation Fare
    Source: Examiner-Enterprise
    Cimarron Public Transit System is offering reduced fares this week for Bartlesville public transportation users as the organization celebrates 16 years of operation. One-way trips within the city limits will be $2 during the week of Nov. 2-6, reduced from the regular $3 cost. "We hope to assist low income individuals and families by offering the reduced rates at the first of the month, when they need to pay bills and complete grocery shopping," said Laura Corff, transit director. In an effort to help as many people as possible, the offer could be expanded throughout 2016, Corff said.
  • Connect Transit (Ill.) Moves to Fixed Routes
    Source: WJBC
    Beginning Nov. 9, Connect Transit has officially made the switch to a fixed route bussing system. This means buses now only pick up and drop off passengers at predetermined bus stop locations and transfer centers. General Manager Andrew Johnson said the switch will hopefully mean more buses will be on time. "It helps us plan better, in terms of, we know how many times that bus might stop during its route and we can plan for that and build in time for it," he said.
  • Ninilchik Traditional Council (Alaska) Plans A Peninsula Transit Service
    Source: Peninsula Clarion
    Ninilchik is more than 37 miles from either of the central and southern peninsula's hospitals, which isn't a problem for most people with a car and license. For those without, it's an enormous barrier. The community has the conundrum of being nearly perfectly centered between the western peninsula's two major population centers of Homer and the Kenai/Soldotna area. It falls outside the purview of both Central Emergency Services and Anchor Point Fire & Emergency Service Area, and while the community has some medical services, they can't do everything. So the Ninilchik Traditional Council drafted a plan for a western peninsula public transit system.
  • Decatur (Ill.) Transit System Celebrates Millionth Rider
    Source: Herald & Review
    As a frequent user of the Decatur Public Transit System over the past two years, Gary Byers has often noticed a photo of the previous year's one millionth passenger. He never imagined he would become that individual in 2015, the lucky winner of a year of free rides. "I've never won anything like this," said Byers, 58, after receiving the news. It'll come in handy, as Byers doesn't have a car and said he rides the bus everywhere. He is undergoing both dialysis treatments and chemotherapy, and takes the bus to receive the latter. The transit system had about 1,451,000 passengers in 2014 and is on track to meet those levels again this year.
  • Metro Transit May Extend Services Further Into Wildwood (Mo.)
    Source: KMOV
    The City of Wildwood wants Metro Transit to expand its services west to include St. Louis Community College's Wildwood Campus and the Wildwood YMCA. Students commute to the campus from all over the area, but public transportation is not a feasible option with the closest bus stop roughly a mile away. Metro was previously approached with the idea a few years ago, but it was turned down. This time around there is enough support to make it happen.
  • University of Miami (Fla.) Paves Way for Fewer Cars Traveling Around Campus
    Source: Miami Herald
    The University of Miami has reduced vehicle traffic along the northern edge of the Coral Gables campus an average of 37 percent over the last 25 years by encouraging students, faculty and staff to walk, bike or take transit, and by instituting innovative policy and parking management strategies, UM officials say. UM's efforts provide a road map for businesses or institutions in Miami-Dade County to start similar measures, a move that could have a wider impact in traffic-choked South Florida, experts said.
  • 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.


CTAA and Newtek

The Porter's Station

Technical assistance resources, documents and events, including webinars, conferences and training

  • Webinar: FTA Bus Safety Program and Safety Management Systems (SMS)
    Source: National RTAP
    The National RTAP is offering a Webinar on the FTA Bus Safety Program and Safety Management Systems (SMS) on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time. This Webinar is designed for state DOTs, small bus transit agencies, and other industry stakeholders that will ultimately be involved in implementing SMS consistent with FTA's SMS commitment under MAP-21. The Webinar will be moderated by Joseph Powell, FTA's Bus Safety Program Manager. Erik Larson, contractor lead in support of FTA's Bus Safety Program, will discuss the initiatives of the FTA Bus Safety Program and how they support the small bus transit agency safety mission. Ream Lazaro, a 38 year bus transit safety, security, and training professional who has worked in support of FTA,CTAA, NRTAP, NTI, numerous state DOTs and hundreds of small bus agencies, will discuss the benefits of SMS, its major components, and how it can be implemented by small bus agencies without undue burden. There will also be a Q&A period.
  • Course: Managing Community Mobility
    Source: National Transit Institute
    On Jan. 13-14, 2016, the National Transit Institute will host "Managing Community Mobility" in New Brunswick, N.J. Mobility, human service, and transportation professionals struggle to create ride options to meet the needs of these disparate consumer groups. It is time to put the pieces of this puzzle together to make a seamless transit network for those who need it. Mobility management strategies address this need in an inclusive and non-threatening manor for both human service and public transit as well as the automobile industry. This course will examine creative approaches to resolving fragmented and/or duplicative transportation systems to create a more seamless and cost-efficient network with a customer-focused mindset.

The Whistle Stop

Commentary and analysis on developments in community and public transportation

  • Who Gets Left Out When We Talk About Highway Spending? (Hint: Those In Poverty)
    Source: The Hill
    Across the country, people living in high-poverty urban communities of color face a number of systemic barriers that deeply affect their quality of life and ability to prosper including limited educational opportunities, a scarcity of jobs, inadequate healthcare and food deserts. One of the most basic and sometimes overlooked obstacles for low-income Americans is a lack of access to cost-efficient, effective public transportation. For low-income people who can't afford to buy a car, access to such public transportation is critical for access to jobs, healthcare, schools, housing and grocery stores.
  • Why Lyft Is Making Friends With Transit Agencies
    Source: NextCity
    Even as cities continue to grapple with regulating companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, the popularity of such services keeps growing. And when it comes to on-demand ride firms, some transit agencies are choosing to embrace the trend, not fight it. According to the company's data, 25 percent of Lyft riders say they use the service to connect to public transit. In Boston, 33 percent of those rides start or end near a T station. And transit hubs like Chicago's Union Station, D.C.'s Union Station and Boston's South Station are among the most popular destinations for its users, Lyft finds. So riders already see on-demand rides as a solution to the first mile/last mile problem. Lyft thinks it can do more.
  • Study: Put a Price on Traffic Congestion to Help Fund Roads and Transit
    Source: Global News
    A new report from Canada's Ecofiscal Commission concluded some of Canada's congested cities, including Calgary, could benefit by putting a price on road use. The study said Calgary, with its low-density neighborhoods, long-distance commutes, and localized congestion problems, could put in HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes on new roads where carpool lanes (HOV) are currently planned. It said it could be a practical approach to reducing congestion while maintaining choice for drivers.
  • The Next Stop Toward a Better Transit App
    Source: CityLab
    Savvy riders want more than directions to navigate transit services. Which neighborhoods have the most regular service? Where are the wheelchair-accessible stops? How strong is bus service relative to metro? Transit apps could give us this information just as easily as they spit out routes, if developers had easier access to the digital data feeds most transit agencies generate (and continually update). Despite being public information, these feeds aren't always easy to come by, and the legal terms by which to use them can be opaque.

The Information Station

Resources from CTAA

  • Tip-Sheet: Planning Inclusive Meetings (PDF)(159 KB)
    We offer this short list to encourage you to think about similar tips and reminders as you begin planning a meeting; and a checklist for seeking out meeting locations. We also offer some suggestions for short-term solutions, and, encourage you to find meeting places that are more welcoming or to seek long-term solutions to some of the problems.
  • 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 LogoPASS 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 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.

  • 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.

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Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729