February People & Places

Feb. 9, 2015


HSR Authority Hosts Official Groundbreaking Ceremony

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) joined hundreds of supporters and government, student, community, transportation, business and labor leaders to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail (HSR) system.

“We now enter a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system — for the next five years in the Central Valley and for a decade after that across California,” said High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors Chairman Dan Richard. “This is an investment that will forever improve the way Californians commute, travel, and live. And today is also a celebration of the renewed spirit that built California.”

The authority provided tours of nearby construction activity, including various demolition sites. Other achievements to date include finalization of project designs, ongoing right-of-way purchases, and workforce training and mobilization.

This phase of construction includes 12 grade separations, two viaducts, a tunnel, and a bridge over the San Joaquin River. California-based Tutor Perini Zachry/Parsons (TPZP), A Joint Venture, is designing and building this first phase of the project.


SFMTA to Launch Mobile Fare Payment Pilot

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced it will pilot a new smartphone app for purchasing and using transit fares across the Muni system. The pilot is expected to begin in the summer of 2015.

SFMTA will be partnering with GlobeSherpa. GlobeSherpa’s mobile ticketing platform allows transit riders to purchase, store and use tickets to ride the Muni system using a smartphone and an eCommerce website. Users will be able to store a debit or credit card or use PayPal to purchase tickets anytime and anywhere. GlobeSherpa also will provide SFMTA Transit Fare Inspectors with a new enforcement application to verify mobile fares using a separate hand-held mobile device.


Major Federal Funding Commitment for Green Line Extension

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a $996 million federal grant agreement to extend Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Green Line light rail service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford.

The 4.7-mile light rail extension will extend existing MBTA Green Line service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford. The project will serve some of the Boston region’s most heavily populated areas not currently served by rail transit — where 26 percent of residents do not own or have access to cars.

The USDOT will contribute approximately $996 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts) funding over the course of the $2.3 billion project. State funding sources will cover the remainder.


Metro Transit Police Dedicate New Station to Department's First Fallen Officer

Metro Transit Police, in Washington, D.C., dedicated the new Metro Transit Police District II Police Station and Range Training Facility to the department’s first officer to be lost in the line of duty, Officer Harry Davis, Jr.

Officer Davis passed on December 20, 1993 — five days before Christmas, 21 years ago — after being mortally wounded while investigating a suspicious vehicle near the Landover Metrorail station. The assailant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  

The facility was designed to be environmentally friendly and is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification. In addition to heat and energy recovery systems, the new buildings are constructed with a light-colored roof to reflect heat and save energy consumption, high-efficiency fixtures to save water, motion sensors to turn lights on and off automatically and parking for fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce pollution from automobile use.


Kiel Delivers Seats to Riverside

Kiel North America recently delivered 107 sets of lightweight bus seats to Riverside, California.

Riverside had to replace its aging fleet in a cost-effective way and it was imperative new seats help save operating expenses, support a rigorous CO2 emission reduction program and provide the utmost comfort.

Each of the 107 buses is equipped with up to 32 Kiel seats. About 107 buses equipped with lightweight, highly comfortable Kiel seats that set new standards in comfort, safety and efficiency. Ninety of the buses are equipped with the Intra model. The remaining buses feature the Kiel Ligero.


BART Plans Richmond Station Improvements

The BART Board of Directors awarded a contract Jan. 8 to reconstruct and make safety improvements to the area outside the Richmond Station where buses, taxis, and cars drop off and picked up riders.  

The $2.7 million project will modernize the existing lot on the west side of the station and provide for a safer and more functional multi-modal transit hub with sustainable features like energy efficient LED lighting and drought resistant landscaping.

Passengers will benefit from better lit and more visible pedestrian paths leading to and from the station, and a new pathway specially designed for those who are physically impaired with a ramp and tactile surface.  Other improvements aimed at keeping the flow of traffic manageable and safe for pedestrians include a new drop-off and pick-up lane, a new designated taxi area, and more effective operational space for buses with electronic displays showing real time bus departures at new bus shelters.


Stertil-Koni Introduces Touch Screen Control Console

Stertil-Koni introduced a full-color touch screen control console on its wireless mobile column lifts, engineered to provide ease-of-use with maximum visual information about the lifting process – all at the fingertips of the technician.

Called “ebright Smart Control System,” the new touch-screen technology will initially be available on the Stertil-Koni EarthLift.  The new version of EarthLift is available with a lifting capacity per column of either 18,500 lbs. or 22,000 lbs. (depending on the model) and is ANSI/ALI-ALCTV 2011 certified.

The console works even when a technician is wearing gloves and allows for fully synchronizing up to 32 mobile column lifts.

Stertil-Koni anticipates including the ebright Smart Control System in all new wireless mobile column lifts shipped in the first half of 2015.


Dayton Rolls Out Dual Power Electric Vehicle

On Jan. 5, the Greater Dayton RTA rolled out the first of four prototype dual mode electric trolley at Wright Stop Plaza in Downtown Dayton.

Dubbed NexGen for Next Generation, RTA is striving to innovate public transit at home and the industry with the launch of the vehicles that can operate on or off RTA’s overhead electric system.  

RTA is working to provide both passengers and operators with safe, quiet and dependable ride. RTA plans to test the prototypes initially on routes 4, 7 and 8 and eventually expanding to many other routes to analyze the off-wire capacity of the units. 

Throughout the test period data will be gathered and compared to RTA’s existing trolleybus and well as diesel and hybrid fleets.


John D. Dingell Transit Center Opens in Dearborn

The city of Dearborn’s intermodal passenger rail station was dedicated in honor of retiring U.S. Congressman John Dingell on Dec. 15.

The city-owned John D. Dingell Transit Center is west of the Southfield Freeway at the entrance to Dearborn’s west downtown and just north of The Henry Ford. It replaces a smaller station erected by Amtrak on city property in 1979.

The station was fully funded by $28.2 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has free parking, free Wi-Fi, a soon-to-open Tim Hortons restaurant and bike racks.

Six daily Wolverine Service trains sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) run daily through Dearborn. Nearly 79,000 Amtrak passengers used the former station in the last year, making it the busiest in Metro Detroit, More intercity passenger traffic is expected as MDOT’s accelerated rail project continues between Pontiac and Chicago, via Dearborn.


Link Transit launched Five Battery-electric Trolleys

After a four-plus year delay in delivery, Link Transit has launched “The Current,” a five-vehicle fast-charged battery-electric trolley service in downtown Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. Originally slated for delivery in October 2010, the project has been beleaguered by numerous technical problems relating both to the design and production of the battery components and the chargers.

The project was funded in 2010 by the Federal Transit Administration’s Transit Investment for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Link’s $2.9 million grant funded the purchase of five new electric trolleys, two “ultra-quick” charging stations and one overnight charging station, as well as staff time associated with project management.

The manufacturer of the trolleys was EBus of Downey, California. The trolleys are 22 feet long, with a capacity of 22 seated passengers and 10 standing passengers.


Omnitrans Introduces Veteran Discount Fare

In appreciation for the contributions of the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, Omnitrans introduced a discount fare for U.S. military veterans.

“It's our way of saying thanks to those who have served to protect our freedom,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps. Approximately 79,000 veterans reside in the Omnitrans service area of the San Bernardino Valley.

A kickoff event was held at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. At the kickoff event, Omnitrans donated 500 veterans 1-day bus passes to VA Healthcare system programs.Veteran resources were on site to offer assistance and information. San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs issued nearly 100 free photo ID cards for veterans. The IDs verify eligibility for the new bus fares and can be used to earn discounts at other “veteran-friendly” businesses in the county.

The veteran fare provides a 50 percent discount on fixed route bus fares and passes to US retired military personnel with ID. This includes those who served in the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.  Additionally, Omnitrans introduced free rides for uniformed active-duty military members, police and firefighters.



Sarah Feinberg

Federal Railroad Administration

Sarah Feinberg will serve as the acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). She succeeds Joseph C. Szabo who was appointed and confirmed as the agency’s 12th administrator in 2009. Since 2013, Feinberg has served as the chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), managing the agencies 10 modal departments and spearheading the agency’s legislative, policy and communications efforts.


Mary Shaffer | Oscar Figueroa

Broward County Transit

Mary Shaffer has joined Broward County Transit as its communications leader. Shaffer comes to BCT from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) where she lead public relations efforts since 2010. Oscar Figueroa joined as its compliance/security leader. He was previously at the Bi-State Development Agency in St. Louis (Metro) where he served as manager of Safety and Loss Control since 2002 and has more than 20 years of experience in the safety industry.


Paul Grether

Cincinnati Metro

Paul Grether was promoted to director of Rail Services at Cincinnati Metro. He will continue to manage Metro’s involvement in the Cincinnati Streetcar project and oversee Metro’s railroad real estate holdings. He began his career with metro in 2012 as rail services manager and is responsible for overseeing the adoption and implementation of the Cincinnati Streetcar Operating Agreement between Metro and the city of Cincinnati. Previously Grether was the manager of Streetcar Development at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).


Bryan Smith

Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District

Bryan Smith has joined the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) as chief operating officer. He is the manager of MTD’s Operations, Maintenance, Safety and Training and Marketing/Customer Service/Communications Departments. Smith formerly worked at the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority in Kent, Ohio, initially as a bus operator, most recently as director of planning.

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Bryan Smith has joined the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) as chief operating officer. He is the manager of MTD's Operations, Maintenance, Safety and Training, and Marketing/Customer Service/Communications Departments.


Nicole Recker

Denton County Transportation Authority

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) announced the appointment of Nicole Recker as the agency’s new vice president of marketing and communications. In this position, Recker will plan, direct, manage and oversee DCTA’s marketing, communications, public relations and customer service activities. Recker previously served as the senior marketing manager for Greyhound Lines Inc., in which she managed all new brand development, brand management, program execution, digital and print campaign development and implementation, digital marketing initiatives, guerrilla marketing and event planning.


Jeffrey Lalloway

Orange County Transportation Authority

Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway was unanimously selected Jan. 12 as the new chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors.

Lalloway is a father, husband, attorney and businessman, who has served on the Irvine City Council since December 2010. He has served on the OCTA board since January 2013.


Natalie Cornell

LTK Engineering Services

Natalie E. Cornell has assumed the role of director of business development in LTK Engineering Services’ Ambler, Pennsylvania, headquarters.

Prior to joining  the company, she managed a division of Lecip Inc. Before that, she was a marketing director in Accenture’s Transportation Practice, as well as vice president of marketing and communications for a consulting firm. 


Tom Gill

Seon Design Inc.

Tom Gill was named president of Seon Design Inc., replacing Terry Akiyama.

Gill was hired as chief operating officer in 2009. He’s a veteran in the video surveillance industry serving as COO and CFO of Silent Witness prior to their acquisition by Honeywell in 2003.



PTC World Congress

March 10-12

Orlando, Fla.

Now in its 5th year, the PTC World Congress is for all professionals involved in meeting the mandate for PTC and safe and reliable rail operation. The congress aims to help railroads and commuters not only install PTC, but do so cost effectively to improve services long term. New for 2015 is the Rail Capacity Summit. With the need for rail to meet and capitalize on the growing demand, the summit will address how to best manage growing demand, share best practice maintenance and asset management strategies and keep clients satisfied by creating a sustainable, interoperable and safe network.

APTA Legal Affairs Seminar

Feb. 22-24

New Orleans, La.

Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum

Feb. 25-27

New York, N.Y.

SWTA & NMTA Joint Annual Conference & Expo

March 1-4

Santa Fe, N.M.

APTA Legislative Conference

March 8-10

Washington, D.C.

MetroRail Europe

March 9-11

London, U.K.

Digital Signage Expo

March 10-12

Las Vegas, Nev.

Communications Based Train Control Conference

March 10

London, U.K.

Middle East Rail

March 17-18

Dubai, UAE

APTA Revenue Management & Fare Collection Summit and TransITech Conference

March 30-April 1

Orlando, Fla.

Asia Pacific Rail

March 30-April 1

Hong Kong

APA National Planning Conference

April 18-21

Seattle, Wash.

International Rail Safety Seminar & Expo

April 20-22

Orlando, Fla.

Tutor Perini Corp.
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Fare Collection


Oct. 23, 2012