September/October 2014 Industry News

Sept. 22, 2014


Annual DART Ridership Increases 5 Percent

Total ridership on Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) services reached 4.7 million rides in the last fiscal year (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014), an increase of more than 5 percent over the same previous period.

The ridership increases for DART follow recent investments made in public transit, including expansions of service in 2012 and 2013 under the DART Forward 2035 Plan, the opening of DART Central Station in 2012, and the launch of the MyDART Trip Planner in 2013.

“What this shows is that if you add and improve service, people will use it more,” DART General Manager ElizabethPresutti said. “Public transit in Greater Des Moines continues to improve, and I encourage people who haven’t been on a bus lately to give it a try.”

MTS Announces a Record 95 Million Passengers Rode the Bus and Trolley in FY 2014

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) that 95,010,550 trips were taken by passengers on MTS buses and trolleys in Fiscal Year 2014, shattering the previous record of 91,641,508 million set in FY 2009.

“Serving 95 million passengers over a 12-month period is a significant milestone for MTS and the public transportation system in San Diego,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “MTS provides critical transportation services for the region, helping residents get to places such as work, school and entertainment venues. The ridership record further demonstrates that public transportation is an attractive alternative for San Diego residents and visitors.”

CATA Sets Ridership Record in FY 2013/14

The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) announced that in the FY 2013/14 CATABus fixed-route annual ridership climbed to a record high of 7,352,133, eclipsing the previous record of more than 7.1 million rides set in FY 2009/10.

This number demonstrates a 3.4 percent increase in ridership over FY 2012/13, and a 9.7 percent increase in CATABus Community Service alone.

Ridership on the CATARide program, which primarily serves persons age 65 and over and persons with disabilities, has grown by 4 percent. And CATACommute, with its ridematching, vanpool and emergency ride home programs for long-distance commuters, continues to grow with the number of persons registered in the program increasing by approximately 9.5 percent to more than 2,500, and 44 vanpool groups on the road, up from 29 just two years prior.


Capital Metro Successfully Launches Second BRT Line

Capital Metro in Austin, Texas, has launched its newest MetroRapid BRT line, the 803, rolled out on Aug. 24. The second of two MetroRapid lines to launch this year offers riders frequent service, new vehicles with spacious interiors and free Wi-Fi, and upgraded stations with real-time arrival information.

The new 15-mile route, which features 46 stations including 12 shared downtown with the MetroRapid 801 line, provides service to several college campuses including the University of Texas at Austin, the city’s museum district, two of the city’s most popular shopping destinations, downtown Austin and the State Capitol. The two MetroRapid routes serve approximately 25 percent of Capital Metro's service area. MetroRapid’s two lines launched on time and under budget.  “Just like the 801, which took to the streets in late January, the 803 lets you explore all of the best things we have in Austin,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson at Monday’s event. “After just seven months, we’re about to provide our one-millionth trip on MetroRapid, which indicates people are really enjoying the new ride."

Metro Launches Silver Line

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metrorail grew 10 percent larger July 26 with five new stations and new direct rail service between the Washington region's two largest employment centers, all as a result of the opening of the Silver Line's first phase.

Silver Line trains will provide high-quality, high-capacity transit service that reduces travel time between the Dulles corridor and Downtown D.C., expands the reach of the existing regional rail system, offers a viable alternative to automobile travel and supports future development.

“The Obama Administration is proud to be a partner in delivering more world class transportation options to the Washington Metropolitan area and connecting thousands of residents and visitors with major employment, education and economic opportunities throughout the region,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Silver Line is an excellent example of why we need to think and invest long-term to meet the rising demand for more critically important projects like this across the country.”

Silver Line trains run every 6 minutes during rush hour, every 12 minutes during midday, evenings and weekends, and every 20 minutes during late-night hours.  The service levels are consistent with most other Metrorail lines. Like otherMetrorail lines, Silver Line fares are based on distance traveled and whether a rider is traveling during rush hour or off-peak travel times.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing $975 million toward the $3.14 billion total project cost for Silver Line’s first phase. The remaining cost is being covered by state and local funding sources.

First BRT in Michigan Launches in Grand Rapids

The Rapid’s Silver Line bus rapid transit launched August 25 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 9.6-mile line connects the Grand Rapids metro area with the downtown and Medical Mile area.

Silver Line stations feature amenities to provide convenient, efficient travel, including level boarding, real-time signage, camera surveillance, ticket vending machines for off-board payment, and bike parking.

The BRT service will operate on a 10-minute frequency during peak hours and 20-minute frequency off-peak.

The state paid about $8 million of the project and the federal government, about $32 million.

DFW Airport Station Connects DART to the World

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) opened the Orange Line in Irving on Monday, July 30, bringing new access to employment and educational opportunities, most notably in the master-planned community of Las Colinas. For the thousands of employees who commute in and out of Irving daily, the Orange Line offers fresh alternatives to driving.

The arrival of light rail culminates more than 12 years of land-use planning by DART, the city of Irving, the Las Colinas Association and the Dallas County Utilities Reclamation District.

“With the opening of the Orange Line, thousands of people now can reach one of the region’s densest employment centers via public transit,” DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said. “That makes it easier for people to not only find jobs, but also pursue careers.”

On Dec. 3, DART opens the second phase of the Orange Line to North Lake College and Belt Line Road. At Belt Line Station, buses will meet trains to take passengers to and from DFW International Airport. The DFW Station is scheduled to open in 2014, connecting downtown Dallas to one of the nation’s busiest airports and making DART one of the few transit agencies in the U.S. with direct rail service into a major airport.


Aecom Technology Corp. announced that Chet Teaford has joined the company as senior operations manager responsible for Aecom’s Arizona operations.  His technical expertise includes program and project management, transportation planning, civil engineering as well as design-build planning and delivery. His previous roles include operations and office manager positions with major transportation as well as oil and gas companies in Phoenix and Houston.

Kalen Ost joined Bis-Man Transit as the organization’s marketing director/mobility manager. Ost will handle marketing, promotion and public relations as well as travel training programs for Capitol Area Transit (CAT) and the Bis-Man Transit door-to-door paratransit service. He comes to Bis-Man Transit after serving as the online editor for Lee Agri-Media.

John Andoh, former transit director of the Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA), is now a county transportation specialist for Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency.

HDR has promoted Janet Gonzalez to transportation sustainability director. Based in the Chicago office, Gonzalez will work to grow HDR’s sustainability practice across the spectrum of HDR’s transportation service offerings. Prior to her promotion, Gonzalez was a senior transit planner and will continue in this role. She is currently project manager for the North-South Corridor project as part of the District of Columbia Streetcar program.

Macy Neshati has joined Vehicle Technical Consultants (VTC) as vice president of business development. Neshati will be responsible for new business development as well as customer service for North America. Neshati has more than 30 years of experience in the heavy-duty vehicle market, including more than 10 years with Detroit Diesel and Allison Distributors and has spent the last 17 years as vice president of sales and marketing for Complete Coach Works.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) announced Stephanie Haddock has been promoted to chief financial officer (CFO)/director of the finance department. For the past seven years, Haddock has served as financial administrator at RTC. Haddock has served at RTC for 18 years, including as a financial analyst and senior financial analyst. She has had a significant role in production of the annual budget and comprehensive annual report.

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) CEO Michael G. Ford announced that he will leave the agency to become the new CEO of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan.  The RTA was created in 2012 by the Michigan legislature to oversee mass transit operations in metro Detroit including Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The South Bend Public Transportation Corp. (Transpo) announced Mia Brunelli has joined the organization in the newly created role of operations manager. As operations manager, Brunelli will assist with the day-to-day management of the operations department and will oversee dispatch and be responsible for fixed-route and paratransit service delivery.

Guy Charron has joined MCI as vice president, regional sales eastern Canada, succeeding Joe Simard, who is retiring after an eight-year career at MCI and 31 years in the industry. Charron will be responsible for MCI and Setra new-coach sales as well as the sale of pre-owned coaches to private and public operators in Quebec and the Maritime provinces.

American Seating is pleased to announce Kurt Hillary as its new vice president of operations and Allen Fox as vice president of engineering and product development. Hillary is responsible for all manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, supply chain and quality functions. He comes to American Seating from X-Rite where he was director of operations. Fox is responsible for all engineering and product development at American Seating.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has hired two executives; Nicole Fontayne joins DART as its chief information officer and Joseph Costello as the new vice president of finance. Fontayne oversees management information systems, intelligent transportation systems, networks and telecommunications. She also is responsible for developing and implementing information technology and intelligent transportation systems that support the agency's strategic goals. As the vice president of finance, Costello supervises the agency's budget process, financial planning, debt financing and management, treasury, funds management, revenue administration and collection, grants management, accounting and business process re-engineering.

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) announced July 28 the appointment of Raymond Suarez as the agency’s new chief operating officer. Suarez will be responsible for developing, organizing and directing the implementation and operation of the agency’s transportation and maintenance services and functions for the A-train and bus system. Suarez previously served as chief administrative officer for the Trinity Railway Express (TRE).

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority announced that Mark Huffer, general manager, will leave his post effective Aug. 22. Huffer has served as general manager since 2000 and has positioned the agency to begin the implementation of an organization-wide restructuring designed to emphasize its capabilities and technical expertise to plan and manage regional projects.

Pierce Transit CEO Lynne Griffith announced her intent to retire effective Dec. 31, 2014. Griffith has led the Agency since April 17, 2006.

The board of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) accepted the resignation of Metro CEO & General Manager Terry Garcia Crews.

Garcia Crews, who joined Metro in November 2010, plans to return to a successful consulting career in the transit industry.

After nearly 50 years in public transportation, including 15 years leading the San Mateo County Transit District, Michael J. Scanlon is retiring. During his 15 years and at the direction of the district’s three boards, Scanlon has transformed SamTrans into a modern mobility manager, led the dynamic growth of Caltrain into a regional and record-setting rail system, presided over the reauthorization of the transportation authority sales tax by 75 percent of the voters and undertook the Caltrain Modernization program to electrify and modernize Caltrain.


Keolis Sverige Expands its Use of Giro's Hastus Software

Giro recently signed an agreement with Keolis Sverige to upgrade the current Hastus software installation and add new daily operations and analysis modules.

“We thank Keolis Sverige for their renewed trust,” said Odd-Jørgen Sagdahl, Giro’s director for the Nordic countries. “We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration and helping Keolis’ forward-thinking team continue to improve productivity and keep their competitive edge through powerful optimization and analysis tools."

“Keolis Sverige aims to be in the forefront of world-class passenger transport operations,” said Stefan Gustavsson, Keolis Sverige’s director of business development. “We expect these software modules to help us deliver on our promise to make our passengers’ daily journeys as easy and efficient as possible, while boosting staff satisfaction.”

Ribbon Cuttings at Wisconsin Sites of ABB Mark Completion of New Construction and Renovation of Facilities

The building at Discovery Parkway is Silver LEED certified, and incorporates ABB drives and controls throughout the HVAC system. Unique acoustic tile also creates a quiet work environment for personnel in their cube spaces, while offices at the interior of the building feature sliding doors that close for work sessions and conversations. Tiled pavers on the exterior of the building allow rainwater to be collected and sent to reservoirs that support wildlife throughout Innovation Campus.

At the manufacturing site on Glendale Blvd., the renovation included expansion of capacity on the manufacturing floor, the addition of new offices, conference rooms, work spaces, and large expansions of the training rooms and café.

Edmonton Transit & Edmonton Police team up on LRT

The Edmonton Transit System (ETS) and Edmonton Police Services (EPS) are pleased to announce the formation of a trial Transit and Police Partnership (TAPP), a joint ETS/EPS initiative to enhance security on Edmonton’s LRT network.

TAPP will consist of ETS transit peace officers paired with EPS police officers in two-person teams. These teams will patrol Edmonton Transit property and vehicles on a day-to-day basis, assisting citizens and enhancing customer safety and security, primarily on the northern half of the LRT system.

“The EPS and Edmonton Transit have entered into this trial project as a joint venture to help dissuade disorder situations from occurring on our LRT system and to make the transit system an even more enjoyable and safe form of transportation for Edmontonians,” said Staff Sgt. Gary Beaulieu, EPS Downtown Beats.

TAPP will leverage the strengths of both transit peace officers and Edmonton Police officers in order to maximize on-the-ground operational efficiency. As part of the city’s guiding strategic plan, The Way Ahead, the city of Edmonton continues to explore opportunities to build stronger ties between its service institutions in order to meet citizen needs.

KCATA Opens CNG Bus Fueling Station

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) recently celebrated the opening of its compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. The CNG fueling station is the largest fast-fill station in Missouri and the Kansas City region. The station allows buses to be fueled in less than seven minutes, and will enable KCATA to fill more than 200 buses nightly.

The move from diesel to CNG fuel is expected to save up to $500,000 in fuel in 2015, and up to $4,000,000 per year once the fleet is fully converted over the next dozen years. KCATA has entered into a partnership with Clean Energy, who will monitor and maintain the fueling station.

“The move from diesel fuel to CNG will result in cleaner air, and significant cost savings,” said Dick Jarrold, KCATA vice president of regional planning and development.

The station cost $3.2 million to build; eighty percent of the cost was provided by the federal Urbanized Area Formula Grant Program.

Ion Celebrates Historic Groundbreaking

The region of Waterloo celebrated a historic moment Aug. 21 as officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the start of Ion Stage 1 light rail transit construction. The event took place at the future home of Ion’s Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility on Dutton Drive in Waterloo.

 “Our government is proud to invest in this transit project as we focus on creating jobs, promoting growth and building strong, prosperous communities across Canada,” said MP Braid. “Investments in public transit will keep residents and visitors moving, contribute to productivity, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions across the region.”

The groundbreaking is a significant milestone in the implementation of Ion, the region’s rapid transit service, set to begin operation in 2017. All three levels of government are funding Stage 1 Ion, including $300 million from the province of Ontario, one-third of eligible costs up to $265 million from the government of Canada, through the Building Canada Fund, and $253 million from the region of Waterloo.

Ion will be implemented in two stages. Stage 1 is a 36-kilometre corridor that includes 19 kilometres of LRT from the Conestoga Mall transit terminal in Waterloo to the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal in Kitchener as well as 17 kilometres of adapted bus rapid transit (aBRT) from the Ainslie Street transit terminal in Cambridge to the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal in Kitchener. Waterloo Region Council has committed to Stage 2, which will see the aBRT route converted to LRT, creating a 37-kilometre route of LRT across the region’s three urban centres.

GrandLinq, the region of Waterloo’s public-private partner on Stage 1 LRT, will design, build, finance, operate and maintain ION over the next 30 years. GrandLinq officials and Region of Waterloo staff are currently finalizing the detailed construction plan for Ion, which will be released this summer. Construction on Ion aBRT will also get underway this summer, with the service set to begin operating in early 2015.

Omaha Adds Four Hybrids to Paratransit Fleet

The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) awarded Metro Transit $52,000 for the "Enhanced Paratransit (Moby) Service Using Hybrid Sedans" project.  The NET grant was one of 134 projects receiving $24,247,260 in grant awards. Of these, 87 were new applications and 47 carry-over projects. 

Metro’s NET award served as the local match to a Federal Transit Administration 5307 Urbanized Capital formula grant in the competitive procurement of the four hybrid cars.

Moby’s fleet includes 26 cutaway paratransit vans that can accommodate up to 12-14 passengers including multiple wheelchairs and other assisted mobility devices such as scooters.   However, an ever-increasing demand for Moby’s ADA complementary paratransit service had Metro organizing and paying for cab rides to handle the excess demand.

The review of alternatives to meet the increasing demand found research showing the use of smaller vehicles improves the quality of paratransit service as many ambulatory disabled passengers prefer the ease and comfort of sedan/car transportation.

Valley Metro Phoenix Awards Customer Information and Transit Wayfinding Project to CHK America

CHK America President and CEO, Rick Wood announced that the company has been awarded the customer information design project for Valley Metro of Phoenix. The project includes the development of consumer-focused light rail and bus connection maps and Guide-a-Rides, as well as local neighborhood maps to support all connectivity and pedestrian wayfinding at Valley Metro’s light rail stations, transit centers and park n’ rides.

CHK America will develop clear and concise customer information, utilizing their “Psychology of Wayfinding” philosophy. This unique, well-researched approach is proven to reduce a rider’s cognitive load and making it easier to navigate Valley Metro’s system of fixed routes, light rail, express and rapid bus service. Specifically, the new designs will incorporate the company’s Spider Maps, which include color-coded routes and frequencies, key landmark symbols, and standardized wayfinding icons. As with all CHK America wayfinding programs, this project will align with the company’s proprietary “8 Second Rule,” which provides decision-making tools that help first-time and regular riders navigate the system with minimal confusion.