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U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to approve the Capital District Transportation Authority's (CDTA) recently-submitted application for federal funds to expand Albany's bus system. Specifically, the CDTA is seeking funding through the FTA’s “Small Starts” program, which Schumer urged that they apply for during an event at the College of St. Rose in October 2013. In order to make the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along Washington and Western Avenue a reality, the CDTA has officially submitted an application for Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Capital Investment Grant program.
When the Transit Center opens on November 28, 2014, Regional Transit Service (RTS) is proposing to adjust the bus lineup schedule and route structure to accommodate the additional time required to travel through the Transit Center and to enhance the customer experience. RTS is inviting customers to learn more about the proposed changes online at rgrta.com and during eight Public Information Sessions from April 3 –May 1. Customers will be able to weigh in and ask questions.
For decades, federal regulations have kept a popular and highly efficient form of passenger rail technology off the tracks, leaving the United States with trains that are a far cry from the type of modern transit found elsewhere. But by 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to lift its restrictions on the kind of passenger trains that are common in Europe and Asia, and it could open the door to a new era in rail travel.
A Senate committee voted to fully restore mass transit benefits for two years, after they were cut almost in half on Jan. 1. The benefit for federal employees using public transportation fell from $245 to $130 in 2014 after a provision in the American Taxpayer Relief Act – also known as the fiscal cliff deal – expired. The parking benefit actually increased by $5 to $250 for 2014.
Sen. Chuck Schumer announced a push to make the cost of Citi Bike and other bike share programs tax deductible for commuters. Schumer will introduce the tax exclusion in an amendment to the Senate’s tax bill. If the bill passes as Schumer’s office expects, workers with employer-provided Citi Bike memberships will be able to exclude $20 a month from their income for tax purposes.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
NEW ORLEANS —Amtrak is standing by a promise to hire more veterans, by actively recruiting thousands of veterans who are returning to civilian life. The company has a long history of providing career opportunities to veterans as well as active military members. Amtrak president and CEO Joseph Boardman, a Vietnam veteran, visited the National WWII Museum to report on the progress made since last year to recruit more veterans. To date, more than 19 percent of all new hires have been veterans.
CLEVELAND -- Almost four out of 10 transit users in Northeast Ohio live in a zero-car, zero-license household. That's one of the findings of an extensive survey of bus and rapid use, demographics and travel patterns released this week by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. It is the first comprehensive look at public transit use since 1993, and will drive decisions such as whether to extend the Red Line or HealthLine from the Louis Stokes/Windermere Station east to the Lake County border. Survey workers gathered information from nearly 32,000 riders over 14 months, through in-person interviews taken throughout the RTA and Laketran systems.
Utah Transit Authority (UTA) selected SmartDrive Systems to provide its video-based operator performance and safety program for its nearly 600 buses and paratransit vehicles. By mid-2014, UTA will begin using SmartDrive Safety in-vehicle recorders to capture video and vehicle data during its bus and paratransit vehicles’ daily routes. All recorded event clips will go through the SmartDrive Review Center where SmartDrive's specialists provide video analysis services including reviewing, scoring and prioritizing videos for coaching.
NICE Systems is providing the Denver Regional Transportation District(RTD) with an innovative mobile video recording and investigation solution for its new bus fleet. The mobile solution, which leverages the NiceVision IP video management software and NICE Inform, will significantly enhance RTD’s investigative efficiency by automatically offloading these video recordings and integrating them with various other video and audio sources to create a unified event timeline.
Connecticut has taken another step towards expanding commuter rail service between New Haven-Hartford-Springfield in 2016. On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced what was described as "a significant milestone in progress to provide more robust commuter service on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line: the state will be seeking proposals from railroad companies to begin operating the service in 2016."The Connecticut Department of Transportation will be seeking proposals in the next six to 12 months. Current service is provided by Amtrak, which owns the line.
Megabus.com, the first city-to-city, express bus company with fares from $1, has served 35 million passengers across North America as of April 2nd. With a growing fleet and fares starting as low as $1, plus a reservation fee, megabus.com has expanded rapidly over the course of its seven-year existence. In the last year, the company has increased sales by 20.3 percent in North America.
NYPTA Training and Events
Public Transit Industry FREE Webinar
Participants will focus on the process of developing a strong succession plan. You will learn how to identify key positions and leaders within your organization, and how to engage those people both inside and outside of the organization who will allow for continued growth as current leaders are phased out. Performance metrics and tracking of data will be discussed as tools for analyzing the progress of your succession plan. Registration is Free!2014 NY Public Transit Fall Expo
We invite transit industry manufacturers, vendors and service providers to reserve your space at the 2014 New York Public Transit Fall Expo, September 16-18 at the Saratoga City Center in Saratoga Springs. It’s your chance to market your solutions to more than 150 public transportation leaders from across the State. Expanded hours give you a greater opportunity to make important connections. Call Mike Cocca at 518.434.9060 for your exhibitor prospectus, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.