Dear APTA Members:
I would like to take this opportunity--now that I have been “on the job” for just over four months--to give you an update on what the APTA team and I have been focusing on and where we are headed. Working closely with APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas, we have achieved much in this short period. And may I say under very challenging circumstances! We faced our biggest battle in 30 years—the fight for a robust multimodal authorization bill.
But with your help and that of our many partners, we are working daily to secure a bill soon. I want to thank all of you who took your case to Capitol Hill during our very successful Legislative Conference—and over the past few months. We let our legislators know—loudly and clearly—that our nation depends on public transportation.
Also, here at the APTA offices we have been working on our three areas of focus: Value. Thought leadership. Agility. These are all geared to making APTA the best organization it can be and helping you to take full advantage of all the benefits.
Much of our work has been dedicated to “demystifying APTA.” What do I mean by this? It’s simple.
We are embracing the concepts of inclusion and involvement with the goal of enhancing your membership in APTA. We’re encouraging you to become even more active in APTA committees, and we’re asking for your feedback. We’ve created a new member resource page which provides a quick and easy reference. Please use it!
In terms of value, I’m sure you have already seen several new features in Passenger Transport. These include columns highlighting APTA members and APTA staff. Another new item is a column that focuses on member benefits, which has spotlighted the online buyers guide and forums where you can talk to other members, ask questions, and share best practices. Also, we are continuing to reach out through the new Twitter and Facebook pages we have created.
At the Bus & Paratransit Conference in May in Long Beach, CA, you will be seeing a new format to the new member “This is APTA” presentation. You will also have the opportunity to meet in smaller groups to have peer-to-peer conversations. Let us know what you think! Another new initiative: we launched an annual state of the industry address in January which focused on what the industry has accomplished to date and where we are going in the future.
We are also creating a series of white papers to help you make the case for investment in public transportation with your elected officials. The first two, one on small urban and rural communities and the other on economic benefits, were released at the Legislative Conference.
Over the course of the last few months, we have been asked to be at the table on conversations of national importance. In January, we were invited to the White House to discuss how we, as an industry, are taking leadership roles and improving service through technical applications. The role of new technology, and in particular smart phone applications, is another area in which we are becoming more active and adept.
And, we were thrilled when were invited back to the White House during the Legislative Conference to discuss the benefits of public transportation.
APTA is also focused on ways that we can assist veterans so that they have the mobility and access to the resources they need, as well as exploring opportunities to welcome them into the public transportation workforce. Many of their skills are a perfect match for our needs in the public and private sector.
We continue to work hard to ensure APTA is a more agile association. We’ve retooled our website to make it an even more valuable tool with the latest industry news at your fingertips. This means one touch access to the information you need immediately, as well as more targeted emails on specific updates you need—when you need it! These include frequent updates on our homepage. And, up-to-the-minute Legislative Alerts and updates—even on the weekends—all to keep you informed and connected.
All along, I continue to search for every opportunity I can to meet with you, to listen to your concerns and suggestions—all aimed at bringing your suggestions back home to make APTA a stronger and more transparent association. Your association.
We had a very successful Business Members Board of Governors Annual Business Meeting and Transit CEOs Seminar where we used a more interactive approach. In addition, at the latter conference, and as part of our ongoing workforce development initiatives, we added a new breakfast session dedicated to Deputy CEOs. So as you can see, we’re trying some different things, adding new twists here or there—all in an effort to make sessions more beneficial to you.
Because the more resources and the more information we can provide will help you in your day-to-day jobs. Jobs that helped spur ridership on public transit in record numbers in 2011. More than 235 million more trips were taken on our vehicles. What does this say to our legislators? That investment in public transportation is essential to the independence, mobility, and economic dependence of our nation.
We still have much work ahead of us—so in closing I want to thank each of you for your support, your enthusiasm, your feedback, and your commitment. Success takes great teamwork and I sincerely look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to take APTA to new heights.