Posts Tagged ‘public transit agencies’

Worker Shortages Hindering Public Transit Agencies

November 23, 2022

Nearly all North American public transit agencies have worker shortages the American Public Transportation Association said this week.

The trade group said 96 percent of North American transit agencies responding to a survey it conducted do not have enough staff.

Eighty-four percent of agencies indicated the worker shortage is affecting their ability to provide regular service. The shortages are occurring at agencies in communities of all sizes.

“This shortage is complex, multifaceted, and connected to changes in the broader culture and economy,” said APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas. “This workforce shortage is the confluence of multiple factors and successfully responding to it will involve a comprehensive approach.”

APTA’s recommended steps to help ease the shortage in the short term includes increasing compensation, improving worker schedules, creating a positive work environment, and ensuring worker safety.

The APTA study also recommends building a resilient workforce development program.

SEPTA Releases Safety and Security Plan

October 8, 2022

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has released a plan to address safety and security concerns for those who are homelessness, and or have substance abuse and mental health issues.

In a news release SEPTA said the number of those with these issues has grown, which prompted the public transit agency to launch its Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnership and Engagement  program last year.

The most recent plan lays out a strategy to confront the problems SEPTA is facing and describes what riders, employees, policymakers and local business owners can do to help.

SCOPE outreach personnel work with the SEPTA Transit Police Department, which has increased patrols on trains and at stations in recent months.

Public Transit Ridership Continues Rebound

September 30, 2022

Ridership of public transit has rebounded to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the American Public Transportation Association said this week.

APTA said heavy- and light-rail are both at 61 percent of 2019 ridership, while commuter rail is at 54 percent. Bus ridership is 66 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

The figures reflect data reported by 130 transit agencies.

The trade group attributed the increase in ridership to higher levels of workers returning to the office rather than working from home as became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic took root in March 2020, some transit agencies suffered immediate declines of up to 40 percent. By April 2020 transit ridership has fallen to a national average of 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Rail transit sustained higher ridership levels than bus transit, APTA officials said.

SEPTA Offering Cleanliness Survey

September 28, 2022

Riders of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority buses and trains now have a means to report cleanliness issues.

The Philadelphia-based transit agency said these issues can be reported by scanning a QR Code on a smartphone.

That will lead to a cleanliness survey in which users will be asked to rate the cleanliness of their bus, train or trolley.

The QR codes will be posted on a limited number of transit vehicles near exit doors. Taking the survey will take about two minutes, SEPTA officials said.

SEPTA said the information provided on the surveys will be sent to its maintenance department, which will know how long the vehicle has been in service at the time of survey completion. There is also a comments section at the end of the survey for the rider to offer additional information.

Transit Agencies Seek $129M in Emergency Aid

September 20, 2022

Public transit agencies are seeking a $129 million emergency appropriation from Congress.

The American Public Transportation Association asked for the funding last week, citing unmet funding needs of transit agencies.

Many of those needs were inflicted by harsh weather, including foods, hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes.

If approved the funding would go to the Federal Transit Administration’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program.

That program provides funding for such things as rebuilding damaged infrastructure and replacement of vehicles destroyed by natural disasters.

Cleveland RTA Gets Grant for New Rail Cars

August 25, 2022

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has received an $8 million grant to be used to fund rail car replacement.

The grant was awarded by the Ohio Transit Partnership Program.

Cleveland RTA said it now has been awarded from the Ohio Department of Transportation $21.4 million to be used toward replacement of rail cars used on its 33-mile rail network.

The agency has raised $197.5 million of the $300 million Railcar Replacement Program budget, according to Deputy General Manager Engineering and Project Management Mike Schipper.

This includes funding being provided by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, Federal Formula Funding, and USDOT BUILD, as well as the self-funded Rolling Stock Replacement Fund.

Schipper told RTA trustees during an Aug. 23 meeting that RTA’s rail car fleet is one of the  older in the nation and has exceeded the 30-year expected lifespan of the cars.

“Even as we are in the process of procuring the railcars, the new cars are still going to be 3-4 years from now.” Schipper said.

RTA has enough funding to order 24 new rail cars with options for 36 additional cars.

In a related development, RTA said it received a $3.5 million Urban Transit Program grant from ODOT that will be used to replace six 40-foot diesel buses with six 40-foot Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses.

During the Aug. 23 meeting, RTA trustees approved a resolution to create a seven-member civilian oversight committee to review and investigate public complaints against transit police department employees.

The resolution said the civilian oversight committee must have members who are “representative of the diverse communities in Cuyahoga County.”

At least one member must be a retired police officer. The oversight committee will have the power to receive, investigate and make recommendations to the RTA police chief as to how complaints should be resolved.

RTA’s Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver told the trustees that the agency has not had any major issues with its police officers, but by appointing an oversight committee there will be a mechanism to resolve issues should they arise.

OLS Distributes Info to Transit Agencies

August 17, 2022

Public transit agencies will receive rail safety education materials from Operation Lifesaver.

OLS is distributing the materials in a partnership with the Federal Transit Administration.

The materials include 30- and 15-second video and audio public service announcements in English and Spanish; a transit safety brochure; social media graphics; and a six-minute transit safety video.

The materials can be viewed on the Operation Lifesaver website at https://oli.org/safety-near-trains/passenger-and-transit-rail-safety

SEPTA Partnership to Give Football Fans Free Rides After Philadelphia Eagles Home Games

August 13, 2022

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority announced it has reached a partnership with a sports betting company to provide free rides for those attending Philadelphia Eagles home games.

The partnership with sportsbook app betPARX Casino & Sportsbook will provide rides that begin at the NRG Station on the Broad Street Line.

SEPTA said it will operate 10 trains on the Broad Street Line to NRG Station. Six Sports Express trips will run every 10 minutes departing Fern Rock Station beginning at 6 p.m.

Local and Express trains will give rides from the NRG Station after each game.

There will be a free transfer to the Broad Street Line from the Market-Frankford Line and City Trolley routes at 15th Street/City Hall.

It also connects to bus routes that provide service throughout the city and region, and it is accessible from the PATCO High Speed Line for riders from South Jersey.

SEPTA Expanding Use of Key Passes

July 14, 2022

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is expanding use of its SEPTA Key Advantage.

The Philadelphia-based public transit agency said it is inviting more organizations to participate in the pass program.

Participating institutions can acquire SEPTA Key cards directly from the Authority and distribute them to employees.

The program began on May 1 with Drexel University, Penn Medicine and Wawa stores in Philadelphia participating.

SEPTA said more than 7,000 are using the passes and it has helped boost ridership by 18 percent among workers of those institutions.

SEPTA Budget Tops $1B Mark

July 1, 2022

The governing board of Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has approved an operating and capital budget that is the largest in the agency’s history.

In a news release, SEPTA said it was the first time the agency’s budget has exceeded the billion-dollar mark.

Among the $1.16 billion in capital projects to be funded are King of Prussia Rail, trolley modernization and rail-fleet replacements under state of good repair initiatives. The Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines will be fully accessible for disabled people by 2034.

The agency said the $1.61 billion operating budget contains no fare increases and features fare-related efforts aimed at increasing ridership that faltered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those efforts include the new $10 Neighborhood FleX DayPass, which is intended for short-distance riders on regional rail systems. The pass program will begin in the fall and can be used for up to 10 rides on subways, trolleys, Zone 2 Regional Rail trains and buses.

The budget also includes the expansion of the SEPTA Key Advantage, a new institutional pass program for universities, hospitals and local businesses.

SEPTA will retain such pandemic-era benefits as one free-transfer per trip on all transit modes and free rides for young children. Select fares will be reduced starting July 1.