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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) unveiled its redesigned website, focusing on the 21st century customer. “Communicating effectively with our customers, stakeholders and the public is critical to providing the most efficient service in a way that best serves our communities,” said CDTA Chairman David M. Stackrow. “Just five years ago mobile usage was at just 6% and by the end of 2014, mobile users jumped to nearly 80% of our visits. Clearly the marketplace is changing and we wanted to be responsive to our customers’ needs.”
A $5 million deficit could cause changes for Centro bus riders in Utica. Frank Kobliski, executive director of the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees Centro, said the authority is considering “significant service changes” as a result of the deficit in its upcoming fiscal year. State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica said he is working with his colleagues in the Syracuse region to try and remedy that problem. “We’re facing a crisis right now and within a year we in the Central New York region may not have public transportation to rely on,” he said. “People rely on public transportation to get to work, to get to school and to get to health care appointments. You can’t have a metropolitan region without public transportation.”The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive $3.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to research and demonstrate an automated, data-based information collection system to measure and monitor the condition of subway railcar wheels and rail infrastructure to enhance safety, increase energy efficiency and ensure reliable subway service. The system will be tested on MTA's Flushing (#7) Line.
The public can now vote on the app they think is best to improve the commute. AT&T and the MTA opened public voting in the App Quest 3.0 virtual challenge for New Yorkers to select their new favorite transit tool to win the $5,000 Popular Choice prize. The 43 new apps were designed to help improve commutes for millions of subway, bus and rail riders using real time MTA data. The apps function in a variety of ways, from providing real-time date on elevator functionality to bus schedules to transit re-routes to voice directives to help commuters navigate the subway system.
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-125) attended the meeting at the NYS Department of Health (DOH) in Albany of the Work Group on Medicaid Transportation and Mobility Management. “Many of our rural transit systems are still fragile from the loss of ridership and revenue as a result of the loss of Medicaid dollars to the counties, “ Lifton said. “ I will be strongly weighing in with Speaker Heastie and the relevant Assembly Chair this week, urging that we provide state STOA funding that ensures continued and robust operation of rural public transportation in Cortland and Tompkins counties in my district, as well as the other rural counties in Upstate New York."
Three snowstorms in less than a week is not what highway superintendents want to see for their budgets. But local highway departments have been racking up the hours, and blowing through road salt, when plowing roads over the last seven days thanks to a series of winter storms. Queensbury Highway Superintendent Tom VanNess estimated his department’s overtime spending was up about 10 percent. He said his department is down manpower and two trucks because of mechanical issues, which has not helped its storm response.
Rebuild New York Now brought together lawmakers, business leaders and lobbyists in Albany Monday to call for spending billions of dollars to upgrade roads, bridges and other aging infrastructure. State Assemblyman John McDonald III told the crowd of close to 300 that past delays in funding road, bridge and infrastructure maintenance have harmed the growth of area cities and towns. McDonald then urged the crowd to call for spending the windfall money on tackling those overdue projects.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is introducing legislation that would nearly double the amount of money that public transit riders can set aside from their paychecks for a tax break on their commutes each month. Norton said the transit benefit, which was cut from $245 to $130 last year by Congress, should be made equal to the $250 that U.S. drivers are currently allowed to put aside for pre-tax parking rates.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is launching a four-day, five-state bus tour this week to urge Congress to approve a big increase in highway and infrastructure funding. Foxx’s bus tour will include visits to “universities, manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities, and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness of America’s infrastructure deficit. This month, the Obama administration unveiled the new surface transportation bill just four months before the latest stop-gap highway funding bill expires May 31.
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
Phoenix, AZ -- The future of public transportation in the greater Phoenix area could undergo some changes in the near future, and a group of Arizona State University graduate students appreciate the opportunity to assist. The team of 15 students built an online survey of 19 questions ranging from transit-related (which included socioeconomic and demographic topics that were aimed at highlighting respondents’ usage patterns) to service satisfaction and public opinion about the future of public transportation in the Phoenix region.
TRAINING AND EVENTSWebinar: 10 Steps to Starting a Travel Training Program
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:00–3:30pm EST
10 Steps to Starting a Travel Training Program will provide the steps essential to developing a successful travel training program. With rising costs of demand responsive transportation options including ADA Complementary Paratransit and medical transportation, training on how to use the fixed-route bus or rail option is in increasing demand. Starting a travel training program will assist in allowing persons with disabilities to travel on the least restrictive (and most often, least expensive) transit option, thus offering the highest level of independent mobility for people with disabilities and saving your agency/community funds allowing for additional services to be provided elsewhere.
Julie Rosekrans will provide you, your agency and/or your community a step-by-step process to starting a travel training program that will increase the choices for independent travel of those with disabilities in your community. Robyn Bernardy will provide details on many start-up projects that have been completed by MTM.
Presenters: Julie Rosekrans, ESPA Consulting and Robyn Bernardy, Medical Transportation Management
Registration Fee: $45 (Registration Deadline – February 17)
Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:00–3:30pm EST. Register here.