Passenger Transport Express - 03/05/2018 (Plain Text Version)
New FRA Administrator Sworn In
Ronald L. Batory was sworn in as the 14th administrator of the FRA by USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao, Feb. 28.
"Ron Batory brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Federal Railroad Administration during a critical time for rail and passenger safety," said Chao. "His 45-year career in the operation and maintenance of railroads will be of great value in helping to implement new safety technology and improve compliance with safety alerts."
Batory said: "Railroads are an integral part of America's transportation system and vital to our economy. In addressing the challenges and opportunities ahead, my goal is to use data-driven decision making to further enhance safety while embracing new technologies that will revolutionize America’s rail transportation network."
White House Reporter Joins APTA's Legislative Conference
Ashley Parker, a White House reporter at the Washington Post, will be speaking at the March 18 afternoon General Session: Welcome to Washington during APTA’s 2018 Legislative Conference. Parker previously worked at the New York Times for more than a decade, covering politics. In addition, Parker is a political analyst for MSNBC.
This year’s event convenes March 18-20 at a new location: the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.
To learn more and register for the conference, click here.[return to top]
Transit Communications Professionals Share Insights at APTA Workshop
Public transit agency PIOs and other communications and marketing professionals convened for APTA’s largest ever Marketing & Communications Workshop, Feb. 25-28 in San Francisco, to share best practices in how to increase ridership, crisis and employee communications, communicating with the media, strategies for providing a comprehensive customer experience, social media and more.
APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas delivered opening remarks, following host agency welcomes from Grace Crunican, general manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), and Edward D. Reiskin, director of transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). JC Vannatta, member of the APTA Board of Directors, chair of the Marketing & Communications Committee, and director, communications & marketing, of Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, presided.
Ford outlined challenges facing public transportation and provided a progress report on his five priorities for APTA, including the need to embrace the new mobility paradigm and how organizations such as TNCs are increasingly providing new public transportation options. “APTA has a role in helping agencies understand this paradigm and working toward the future,” he said.
Skoutelas stressed APTA’s overarching goals of being more influential, respected and effective. He also reiterated Ford’s priorities and how public transportation is undergoing great change: "at APTA’s Mobility Summit this summer, our thought leaders will be discussing all the ways we can evolve.” Skoutelas also acknowledged the role communicators play in advancing APTA’s goals and priorities. “We rely on people who know how to tell our story. You have a tremendous amount of responsibility to make sure the messaging is done right."
Crunican discussed the introduction of new railcars to the BART system, an expansion of services and an initiative underway to improve the cleanliness of stations and how that initiative is being communicated to the public. Reiskin provided an overview of SFMTA’s various modes and the challenges and opportunities facing public transportation in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond.
The workshop also featured the finals of APTA’s 2018 Call Center Challenge. The event saw five finalists, from 49 organizations that initially entered the competition, testing their customer service and problem-solving skills through a series of simulated customer phone calls on topics ranging from riders reporting criminal behavior to personal items left on vehicles. APTA congratulates Mallory Wright of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) on being named overall winner.
Also at the workshop, APTA's 2018 AdWheel Awards recognized top marketing and communications initiatives. A full listing of the first-place-winning public transit systems and business members will be shared in the March 12 issue of Passenger Transport.[return to top]
Legal Executives Convene at APTA's Legal Affairs Seminar
Attorneys and legal professionals representing APTA members came together at APTA’s 2018 Legal Affairs Seminar to share information on regulatory and legislative developments, litigation and other legal issues affecting the public transportation industry, Feb. 25-27 in Palm Springs, CA.
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas opened the seminar and APTA Chair Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. shared opening remarks via video link. FTA Acting Chief Counsel Dana Nifosi discussed issues facing FTA and shared tips for working with the administration.
The following day focused on effective management of a transit legal office, with attendees hearing from Lauren Skiver, CEO of SunLine Transit Agency, on how small systems manage tight budgets and innovate to keep costs down. Other sessions included legal issues surrounding cyber and physical security of transit systems, civil rights, P3s and collaborating with TNCs. Uber Senior Associate Paige Tsai emphasized the collaborative relationship between TNCs and public transit agencies and shared data on the effectiveness of TNCs in providing first-mile, last-mile solutions.
The final day of the seminar included a business meeting of APTA’s Legal Affairs Committee, where Karen Landers was elected vice chair and Jennifer Ross-Amato was elected secretary, and concluded with a discussion regarding 13(c) issues, rail operations regulations and ethics.
Applications for 2018 Bus Safety and Security Awards Due Soon
The deadline to submit applications for the 2018 APTA Bus Safety and Security Awards is March 15. To apply, click here, then click the “Nomination Form” link. Winners will be announced at APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference May 6-9 in Tampa. Questions? Contact Brian Alberts (Safety Awards) or Polly Hanson (Security and Emergency Management Awards). [return to top]
SAVE THE DATE
Make plans to attend these upcoming APTA events:
IN THE MEDIA
CTA Launches "Be Safe on CTA"—Chicago Transit Authority has launched its 'Be Safe on CTA' campaign to teach Chicago Public School children how to ride safely on its trains and buses.
Passenger Helps Stop Bus when Driver Falls Ill—Metro RTA, Akron, Ohio, is thanking a passenger who stepped in to help stop a bus recently when the driver had a medical emergency.
Autonomous Vehicles Aren't Enough—A New York Times slide show demonstrates how a blend of transportation modes can manage urban congestion better than simply replacing privately owned vehicles with autonomous vehicles.
Program to Help Officers ID Riders with 'Invisible Disabilities'—Utah Transit Authority has implemented a program to train its transit police officers recognize 'invisible disabilities,' such as autism, in riders.
Queen of England Takes Public Transportation Like the Rest of Us—HM Queen Elizabeth II was spotted at the King's Lynn train station in Norfolk, England, where she boarded a train to head home to London.