March 18, 2016
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Industry Briefs

Free Rides in Reno — Access to Healthcare Network is now providing free transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities for healthcare-related trips through a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno, NV, and the county. The service can be used for doctor appointments, picking up medications, getting home from a local hospital, getting to and from outpatient procedures and stopping by designated stores to buy groceries. FTA provided almost $270,000 for the program through MAP-21 Section 5310, which went toward purchasing minivans and establishing a dedicated phone line.

Riverside Offers Riders a Lift 
— The Riverside (CA) Transit Agency (RTA) partnered with an area ski resort to provide a limited number of free lift tickets for use on Wednesday nights through the end of the ski season. “This is a great opportunity for RTA to thank its customers for riding the bus,” said Chairman of the Board Frank Johnston. “We are thrilled to give our customers another big reason to ride.”

Bombardier to Overhaul MARC Coaches — The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded a $36.8 million contract to Bombardier Transportation to overhaul 63 MARC III bi-level commuter rail cars. The railcars, which have been in service almost 17 years, provide service along three commuter rail lines that terminate at Union Station in Washington, DC.

LA Metro Produces ADA ­Videos 
— Los Angeles Metro has created a video series that provides customers with disabilities with information about public transit service and features. Find the ­videos, in English and Spanish with open captioning, at Metro's Riders with ­Disabilities page.

Tri Delta Helps Riders Stay Dry — The Eastern Contra Costa County Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit), Antioch, CA, is distributing more than 1,000 umbrellas to area residents in anticipation of El Niño rains. System employees and bus drivers are handing out the umbrellas—which they call “mobile bus shelters”—on board buses, at bus stops and park-and-ride lots and at Tri Delta Transit’s administrative offices.

VIA Displays Art by Seniors — VIA Metropolitan Transit recently partnered with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department to display artworks by older residents. This year’s “Bravo for ArtAbility, Never Too Old to Create” exhibit included paintings, drawings, photographs, jewelry, pottery, ceramics, sculpture and crafts.

CCW Installs Safety Barriers on Foothill Transit Buses — To improve safety on its fleet, Foothill Transit in West Covina, CA, contracted with Complete Coach Works to install safety barriers in place of forward-facing flip seats on all 171 buses in the agency’s fleet. The seat removal and installation of barriers was necessary because passengers sitting in those seats with no barriers in front of them could be thrown forward and injured if the driver had to brake hard or make an evasive maneuver.

Metra Adds Wi-Fi Hotspots 
— Metra commuter rail in Chicago has completed installation of cellular Wi-Fi hotspots on one railcar for each of its 11 lines as part of a six-month pilot program to determine whether the technology can provide free and dependable Internet access to customers on board Metra trains. Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno said, “If it’s financially feasible and our customers like the free service, our agency would seek funding or sponsorships to install Wi-Fi on more of Metra’s railcars.”

CATS Apps Offer Safety, Convenience — The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) recently introduced two apps for rider safety and convenience. The “See Something, Say Something Elerts App” allows users to report suspicious activity directly to police, including uploading photos and submitting reports, while the “Next Trip App” provides arrival information for all CATS stops and stations.

Napa Agency Changes Name — The Napa County Transportation Planning Agency in Napa, CA, operator of VINE bus service, has changed its name to the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA). The name—and branding for both the agency and its buses—is the only change for the joint powers agency among the county and its cities. Bus service will continue as it was and the NVTA will continue its work on regional transportation planning and projects.
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