April 1, 2016
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Industry Briefs

Md. MTA Launches Radio Station — Maryland DOT’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) recently launched the first new radio station in Baltimore since 1988. WTTZ-93.5 FM, dubbed “The Maryland Transportation Channel,” broadcasts regular commuter updates from the MTA and other Maryland DOT departments, along with instrumental music and some vocals.

Riverside Marks 250,000 Travel Training Rides
— The Riverside (CA) Transit Agency (RTA) recognized Mark Shorner for taking the 250,000th trip in the four-year history of RTA’s travel training program for veterans, older ­riders and persons with disabilities. RTA officials surprised Shorner at a transit center with a travel bag filled with commuter supplies. His travel training continues as he learns how to transfer from an RTA bus to a special VA-operated vehicle to the Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Health Care System.

Amtrak Delivers Bottled Water to Flint — Thanks to an effort organized by its employees, Amtrak recently delivered 2,800 cases of bottled water to residents of Flint, MI, suffering because of lead contamination in their drinking water. The idea began in Amtrak’s Consolidated National Operations Center and spread nationwide as employees collected donated water bottles and organized the logistics of the special delivery.

Improved Digital Accessibility in Houston
— Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is making its affiliated websites, mobile applications and print formation more accessible and inclusive for riders with visual impairments. METRO worked with blind riders and with Disability Rights Texas, a nonprofit legal advocacy agency serving Texans with disabilities, on this initiative.

COTA Branding Wins Local Honor — The Columbus (OH) American Advertising Awards presented its Best in Show award to the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) campaign—“COTA: We Move People, People Move Us”—created by the Ologie branding agency. The cross-platform campaign highlights COTA’s value as a public transit agency and a community asset.

HART’s ‘STAY-cation’ Program for Students — Middle and high school students in the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) service area can take unlimited free rides with a valid school ID until June 10 through the Tampa agency’s “STAY-cation” program. HART has partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to offer this program.

Metra Police Unit Patrols Trains 
— Metra commuter rail in Chicago introduced a six-member police unit whose primary mission is to patrol trains, providing a visible law enforcement presence and deterring criminal activity on all 11 Metra lines. The officers, both in uniform and in plainclothes, supplement the efforts of Metra police officers and detectives who are already patrolling trains and platforms and working to stop criminal behavior on trains, assist conductors and protect customers.
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