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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
State lawmakers are working on changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget to ensure Centro will not have to cut bus services or routes in Central New York, Sen. John DeFrancisco said. The changes call on the state to provide an extra $25 million in taxpayer money for Upstate transit authorities in the coming year. In subsequent years, the amount going to Upstate transit would increase at the same rate as sales tax growth. "I think (Centro) will be funded so they don't cut routes, otherwise that part of the budget is not going to be acceptable to us," DeFrancisco said of Senate Republicans, who control the upper house.
Capital District Legislators, labor, business groups, and transportation advocates called on the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo to support critically-needed transit systems throughout New York State and to ensure the final state budget includes both capital investment and additional operating aid for non-MTA transit systems. “Public transportation is essential," said New York State Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy. "The more riders we keep on the buses the less pressure and less traffic we have on our roads. It’s green, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for jobs. It’s good on so many levels.”A coalition from the North Country joined with downstate concerns calling for full funding to New York’s statewide transit capital plan. Nova Bus President Jean Pierre Baracat calls public transportation an economic generator across New York and says it’s critical to fund the authorities that purchase their products. The transit funding is critical to the upstate region because industries there manufacture the infrastructure for bus and subway systems used by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Broome County officials discussed improving public transport routes to help economic activity. 'Brain Drain' is a term that refers to when students move out of their college town after graduation. The Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study discussed how to prevent a Brain Drain in Broome County at a meeting. "With the millenial generation, there's less desire to drive," transportation planner Scott Reigle said. "Increasing accessibility to places that they want to go that allow for walking, biking and better use of public transportation is important."
The Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE Bus) will purchase 110 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for its fleet. The new buses will replace the oldest buses in the 315-bus fleet. Our customers will enjoy a more comfortable ride, our drivers will operate vehicles with the latest technology and standards of safety and our repair and maintenance challenges should improve,” said NICE Chief Executive Officer Mike Setzer. The new buses are equipped with the latest GPS technology, designed to enhance passenger information and communications and enhance overall operations of the NICE fleet. The buses operate on CNG, which is more environmentally friendly fuel.
New York has put the brakes on an aggressive schedule to award a lucrative contract for the construction of a new Albany headquarters for the state Transportation Department and Thruway Authority. The initial March 23 deadline to receive proposals from the four qualified firms bidding on the contract was changed to April 6, and then postponed, with no new date set. “In an effort to keep costs at a minimum, it has taken longer than originally anticipated to evaluate the project," said Shane Mahar, a spokesman for the Thruway Authority.
A leading New York Democratic legislator has rejected a Port Authority reform proposal from New Jersey Republicans, essentially killing the bill before it could be introduced. Assembly member James Brennan, of Brooklyn, was quoted by the New York Times saying that New Jersey Senator Thomas Kean, Jr.'s proposal did not adequately address his concerns about oversight and transparency at the Port Authority. Brennan is the sponsor of reform legislation in New York, and both state legislatures and governors must agree on any such package to become law.
Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation in 2014, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 58 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy said, “Despite the steep decline in gas prices at the end of last year, public transit ridership increased. “Expanded and improved public transit services also played a role in attracting more riders,” said Melaniphy. “For example, the transit agencies in Albany (NY), Denver (CO), Indianapolis (IN), Riverside (CA), and Salt Lake City (UT) saw increased ridership due to greater service.”
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
Seattle, WA -- Transit agencies in and around Seattle launched a new, two-tiered fare system: one rate for most riders in a region full of high-wage tech jobs, and another for those living on less than 200 percent of the poverty line. The project — from the same city that last year brought us a $15 minimum wage, and a higher property tax to fund preschool for the poor — was designed to blunt rising inequality in the region, and it could aid as many as 100,000 low-income people there.
Portland, ME -- The Portland School District superintendent will start developing a cost-sharing agreement with Portland Metro, the public bus service, to get its high school students get to and from class next year. If everything goes according to plan, the school system will no longer use its own buses, but instead issue students a metro pass for daily transportation. Officials with both the school system and the metro see this as a win-win, saying it will save the school district money and get more people on the city bus system in the short and long term.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
March webinar: The Realities of Developing and Managing a Transit System Budget
Presented by the Transit Training Institute & NYS DOT Public Transportation Safety Board
Today, 9:30am-3:30pm, Liberty Lines Transit Inc., Yonkers, NY Registration Closed!
Thursday, April 16, 9:30am-3:30pm, Greater Glens Falls Transit System, Queensbury, NY
Thursday, April 23, 9:30am-3:30pm, Regional Transit Service, Rochester, NY
The New York Public Transit Association, the Transit Training Institute and NYS PTSB present another in its series of regional training programs. This free program will provide information on Federal ADA regulations for transit operations and hands-on training on the use of securement devices and offered in three convenient locations.
The program is open to one person from an agency. Seating is limited to 20 people at each location. If your agency wants to send more than one person, a waiting list will be established. If the class does not fill up with staff from 20 different agencies, then additional seats will be offered to those on the waiting list a few days prior to the training.
DESCRIPTON: NYSDOT/PTSB, Centro and Easter Seals Project Action Consulting are collaborating to present a one day hands-on workshop on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). It will cover:
The day will be split between lecture and hands on training, and is limited to 20 participants.
Attendees will leave with knowledge of requirements for applying ADA regulations to the operation of their system, a practical use of securement devices for today's mobility equipment, inspection of buses equipped with FMVSS 403 Public Use Lifts and guidance to bring back to the bus property for an appropriate ADA operations policy and to teach drivers proper techniques. Bring your questions.
An attendance certificate will be issued. RTAP reimbursement for expenses associated with this training is available for RTAP eligible systems. Refreshments and lunch will be served.REGISTER HERE
Thursday, April 16, 9:30am-3:30pm, Greater Glens Falls Transit System, Queensbury, NY (Space is limited)
Thursday, April 23, 9:30am-3:30pm, Regional Transit Service (RGRTA), Rochester, NY (Space is limited)