Posts Tagged ‘Public transit’

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 Launches Station Renovation Project

September 30, 2022

A ceremony was held on Wednesday to mark the debut of a $19 million project by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to make the Tasker-Morris Station on the South Philadelphia Broad Street Line fully accessible.

The project will involve installation of an elevator from street level to the mezzanine level and a second elevator to the platform below.

Other work will include new lighting and other electrical improvements; ADA-compliant communications system upgrades with emergency call boxes and HD security cameras.; new safety and wayfinding signage; ADA-compliant guard rails and handrails; and modified fare lines for improved traffic flow.

The work is expected to be completed in early 2024 and will make 13 of the 22 Broad Street Line stations fully ADA accessible, SEPTA said.

The Tasker-Morris station serves approximately 3,000 riders on weekdays and will remain open during construction.

Cleveland RTA Launches ‘Last Mile’ Pilot Project

September 27, 2022

Cleveland RTA is working with SHARE Mobility and employers in Solon and Bedford Heights to provide a “last mile” service.

RTA officials say the project seeks to address coverage gaps in public transit service.

SHARE Mobility said it “contracts with fleet providers to provide transportation for workers leaving a bus stop or other transit connection at the appropriate time to get them to jobs in the area.”

This involves ride sharing and allows riders to schedule trips in advance.

The service, which is targeted at hourly workers without access to transportation or seeking to save on month transportation costs, transports workers between their workplace and an RTA bus stop.

The route frequency will be based upon employer work schedules.

SEPTA Seeks Comment on Trolley Stations

September 24, 2022

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has released design concepts it will implement in creating new trolley stations and modernizing existing trolley stations.

In a news release, SEPTA said the stations will receive level boarding platforms and new signs to make it easier to navigate the trolley system.

Most existing trolley stations are little more than signs along a sidewalk.

As part of the project SEPTA is soliciting public comment through an online survey on such things as the design, colors and lighting for the stations,

Public comment also will be solicited through pop-up and virtual community events.

In an related development, the SEPTA governing board has approved plans to advance major initiatives of the SEPTA Forward plan.

That includes funding for modernization of the trolley system and extending the Norristown High Speed Line by four miles to Kind of Prussia.

The latter has been described by SEPTA as providing a “one-seat” ride from any station along the NHSL, including 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and Norristown Transportation Center.

The next phase of the King of Prussia extension is land acquisition. The SEPTA board authorized the agency’s staff to begin appraising the properties, determining fair market value, making offers, and reaching an agreement with owners.

Related to that, the SEPTA board approved acquiring 13 acres in southwest Philadelphia for the trolley modernization program.

That property will be used to create a shop that can accommodate the anticipated future fleet of articulated, ADA-accessible trolleys.

SEPTA officials said the property has an existing structure that can be adapted to its use as well as additional land area to support a planned yard and employee parking.

SEPTA’s existing trolley tracks are immediately adjacent to the roadside of the property.

OLI to Award Transit Safety Grants

September 13, 2022

Operation Lifesaver is accepting applications for its 2022 Rail Transit Safety Education Grants.

The railroad safety group plans to award $200,000 to transit agencies and governments that provide transit service to conduct transit-rail safety education and public awareness initiatives.

In a news release OLI officials said no recipient may receive more than $20,000. The grants will require non-federal match funding of at least 25 percent.

Grants will be awarded for projects that focus on safety education or public awareness initiatives in communities with operating or planned commuter-rail, light-rail, subway and streetcar systems.

Applications are due Oct. 17 and awards will be announced on Dec. 1.

Cleveland RTA Creates Intervention Teams

September 8, 2022

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority said this week it has created programs to watch stations and assist riders, and to provide assistance during emergencies.

In a news release, Cleveland RTA described the programs as a “progressive policing and community engagement initiative that reduces the law enforcement’s footprint on GCRTA transit systems by integrating unarmed professionals to handle non-criminal issues.”

Civilians in uniforms will be trained in conflict resolution skills to help people experiencing mental health crises.

Members will be part of a Transit Ambassadors team or a Intervention specialists team comprised of licensed social workers who will be embedded within RTA’s police force.

RTA said transit ambassadors will provide general information and assistance to riders and the public; assist riders needing help with navigating GCRTA’s transit system; assist riders in understanding and complying with fare policies; request transit police assistance as needed; and help maintain a safe and clean environment.

The crisis intervention specialists will perform mental health, crisis, and substance abuse outreach; defuse immediate crises and serve as a gateway to available resources; establish relationships with social service agencies.

Members of both program have received 40 hours of crisis intervention team training along with training on de-escalation, defensive tactics, first aid/CPR/Narcan, human trafficking awareness and customer service.

One to two teams per shift will initially provide coverage on the HealthLine and at RTA rail stations before expanding out to other routes and locations.

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.

COTA Land $750,000 Federal Grant

August 24, 2022

Columbus-based Central Ohio Transit Authority has won a $750,000 Regional Infrastructure Accelerators grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It will use the money for its LinkUS Mobility Initiative for the development of high-capacity transit corridors; investments in smart mobility options such as first/mile last mile service; and enhanced bus service with increased frequency, USDOT reported.

The grant was one of five awards totaling $4.8 million awarded under the RIA program.

In a news release, USDOT said the program seeks to help accelerate transportation project delivery through project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work.

This is the second round of the RIA program awards with the first five having been announced in September 2021.

In that round of funding, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency in Cleveland received $295,000 for an intermodal facility; airport access improvement; road improvement to a healthcare facility; and a pedestrian connection.

SEPTA Regional Rail Extension Opens

August 23, 2022

New schedules and service to a new regional rail station have been implemented by Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The 3.5-mile extension of service to the Wawa Station in Media, Pennsylvania, is the first expansion of the SEPTA rail network since 1985.

The rail line is now known as the Media/Wawa Line. It previously was named the Media/Elwyn Line.

New schedules that went into effect last Sunday have restored early morning service on the Airport Line on weekends, and provide earlier service to Center City Philadelphia on the Trenton, Lansdale/Doylestown, and West Trenton lines.

Touching Base with Public Transit in Pittsburgh

August 5, 2022

Port Authority of Allegheny PAT car 4009 is shown in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania, in August 1998. The agency is now known as Pittsburgh Regional Transit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas