In The News


NYPTA President Bill Carpenter sat down with Susan Arbetter at Capital Tonight to discuss transit's vital role throughout the pandemic and why there continues to be a need for increased funding for transit systems in New York State.

During the pandemic, there was drop in ridership on public transportation throughout upstate New York, but it wasn’t as steep as you might think.

In Rochester, for example, the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority saw an approximately 50% decrease in usage. But the 50% of riders who continued using public transit were nurses, grocery workers, home healthcare professionals, and other essential workers – which transit advocates say illustrates just how vital public transportation is to our communities.

The CEO of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, and president of the New York Public Transit Association, Bill Carpenter, discussed upstate transit’s funding requests with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter.

According to Carpenter, upstate transit agencies are looking for a 50% increase in funding over five years, or 10% per year.

“The generation of buses today is not your parents’ bus,” Carpenter explained. “As we move to electric it’s great for the climate, the technology gets on the buses so you can see where the bus is while you’re riding on it. There’s a touchless payment system. It’s a whole different experience.”

View the full interview with Susan Arbetter at this link


Bill Carpenter, president of the New York Public Transit Association, urged the New York State Legislature to reconsider cuts in Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance (STOA) levels in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2021-22 state budget.

The 2021-22 Executive Budget proposes a decrease in state operating aid of 16.2 percent for downstate county bus systems and of 9.3 percent for upstate systems from the levels in the 2020-21 budget. Mr. Carpenter, who is also chief executive officer of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, told a joint hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and the Assembly Standing Committee on Ways and Means that this reduction in revenue “has the potential for long-term consequences to transit and the communities we serve.”

NYPTA recommends “that STOA levels be returned to at least the levels in the 2021-enacted budget so we can help our communities recover and grow,” Mr. Carpenter told the committees.

“The fiscal impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been devastating to everyone, including public transit,” he continued. “State revenue sources dedicated to transit, including fuel taxes and the new upstate auto rental fee, were hit hard by the decline in travel. In addition to lost revenues, transit operating budgets absorbed the increased costs of PPE (personal protective equipment) for employees and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles and facilities.”

Despite these developments, transit systems kept their communities connected to jobs and services by using federal relief funding. “Recently received federal relief funding will offset lost passenger revenues and the proposed STOA reduction for a while but will then be depleted,” Mr. Carpenter said. Without additional assistance, “transit may be forced to reduce services just as we are most needed to help the economy rebound.”

“Transit remained open during the pandemic to serve essential workers, and we are ready to expand mobility options so our communities can reopen, recover and grow. Robust transit service supports growth in the economy and jobs, addresses climate change, improves social equity, and moves people from poverty to prosperity. Accelerating investment in transit will accelerate these benefits.”

Click here for Bill Carpenter’s testimony as prepared for delivery.


The following New York Times editorial published on January 21, 2021 addresses why "the public interest requires large-scale investment by the federal government, as well as state and local governments, to restore and maintain robust service."

The coronavirus pandemic is jeopardizing the long-term health of the public transit systems that provide a crucial circulatory system for major American cities — particularly for lower-income residents who depend on trains and buses to get to work, the market or the doctor.

Brenda Dubose Transit authorities have tried to ride out the pandemic, which has sharply reduced ridership and farebox revenues, by curtailing service. In New York, where the subway famously runs through the night, the subway no longer runs through the night. Metra, the Chicago area’s primary commuter rail service, has suspended roughly half of its daily schedule. Atlanta’s regional transportation agency has stopped running buses on more than 60 of its 110 bus routes.

These transit cuts are yet another area in which affluence has shaped the experience of the pandemic. Many well-to-do commuters are able to work from home, or to drive to the office. The changes amount to an inconvenience. Millions of lower-income Americans, meanwhile, work in jobs that require their presence, and they cannot afford to get to work in other ways. They must leave home earlier, wait longer, walk farther and return later. What once took half an hour may now take two hours. A direct commute may now require two transfers.

Read the full article published in The New York Times at this link.


Day featured panel discussions with New York Public Transit Association members, transportation advocates and state legislators, followed by advocacy at the State Capitol

On March 10, transportation advocates descended on the Renaissance Albany and the State Capitol to meet with lawmakers and discuss their advocacy priorities for the year, as well as the immediate needs for the 2020 budget as it continues to be negotiated.

The New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA) and the New Yorkers For Better Public Transit coalition hosted panel discussions with transportation advocates and members, along with state and locally elected officials, and spoke about the need for increased and sustained funding for public transit systems throughout the state.

As communities across the state demand greater mobility, more travel options and better access that supports economic growth, transportation advocates are seeking sustainable, multi-year funding for all transit systems in New York.


“To meet the growing needs of our customers, make critical investments in transit infrastructure, and continue driving success in New York’s economy, it is imperative that there is long-term and sustainable funding in place for New York state transit systems. We thank the Governor for listening to the needs of transit systems and for proposing a significant increase in transit operating and capital funding for systems throughout the state. This includes a significant percent increase in Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance (STOA) funding for upstate transit systems as well as a 13 percent increase for downstate and MTA systems, as well as $124.5 million in capital assistance for non-MTA systems. This gives us a great start toward meeting our goal of a 10 percent increase in STOA funding for upstate systems, and a 5-year $1 billion capital plan.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and state legislators in the coming months to secure additional funding for upstate transit systems. This funding is integral for meeting the Governor’s proposed plan of upstate and suburban downstate transit systems electrifying 25 percent of their bus fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035, and will allow us to continue connecting New Yorkers to their jobs, healthcare, shopping, education and recreational activities.”


By Marie J. French for POLITICO Pro

ALBANY — The transit agencies that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to go all-electric by 2035 will need state help to buy the more expensive vehicles, according to a group that represents the entities.

"We're supportive of this," said Bill Carpenter, the CEO of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority and head of the New York Public Transit Association, which represents the agencies. But, he added, "collectively we have a $1.7 billion need" without the add-on of electric buses. State assistance should be in the form of "funding that's in addition to the rest of our capital ask," he said.

Cuomo proposed in his State of the State address on Wednesday that five transit agencies — upstate in the Capital Region, Buffalo and Rochester and downstate in Suffolk and Westchester counties — get to 25 percent electric buses by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035. Those five agencies operate 1,400 buses.

Subscribers may read the full article here.


New York Public Transit Association says its members need a renewed 5-year capital program and increased transit funding to adequately support electric bus infrastructure.

The New York Public Transit Association announced its support on Wednesday for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to create a task force that will develop a plan for five of the largest upstate and suburban transit systems to electrify 25 percent of their bus fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035. The Governor’s initiative is a linchpin to the $1.7 billion five-year capital program for statewide public transit systems, which NYPTA supports as part of the 2020-2021 State Budget.

The electrification of New York’s bus fleets is already in motion. This week, the Capital District Transportation Authority will unveil four electric buses, and this summer the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority will add 10 electric buses to its fleet. Other transit systems across the state are planning to test electric buses in the coming year.


Bill Carpenter, President of the New York Public Transit Association and CEO of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, discussed the needs of Upstate public transportation on The Capitol Pressroom December 12, 2019.


Funding needs outlined at New York Public Transit Association's Annual Conference

TARRYTOWN - With demand for mobility choices increasing, New York transportation leaders have released a report that outlines the need for $1 billion over the next five years to help transit systems make upgrades to public transit infrastructure.

The report was released during the New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA) annual Conference & Expo, which took place at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, New York on November 12-14. The full report can be accessed here. A summary document can be found here.

The report assembled the capital programs at all upstate and suburban downstate transit systems in New York state. It showed that while available federal, state and local revenues can fund $700 million of the investment need, there is a projected funding gap of $1 billion. The report details capital projects needed over the next five years, as well as projects funded from the expiring 2015-2019 capital program. The report will guide NYPTA’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 New York State budget season.


Public Transit advocates testified before both state Senate and Assembly members during a hearing on Friday in Syracuse where they stressed the importance of long-term, sustainable transit funding that benefits all transit riders throughout the state. Testimony was heard by the state Senate’s Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and the Standing Committee on Transportation, as well as the state Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation.