Category Archives: Blog

TROUT Public Transit looks back at 2013 with mixed feelings

TROUT Rural Public TransitWe at TROUT Public Transit look back on 2013 with mixed feelings. We are thankful for the visionaries who support public transportation in our community – the municipal politicians, business owners, and others who know the value of public transportation for our non-driving friends and neighbours and for economic growth. They know that public transportation is a key component of sustainability for rural communities.

We are proud that rural communities throughout North America look to Trout Public Transit for counsel and inspiration for their public transportation initiatives. And we are deeply grateful to the Province of Ontario and Community Care North Hastings for their support and encouragement.

However, we have much work to do. We receive no support from the County of Hastings (future historians may be curious about that) and no support, or only token support, from seven of the eight municipalities we served last year.

Thank you to the Municipality of Highlands East in Haliburton County for your full support in 2013. We look forward to nurturing our relationship with you to address your public transportation needs.

Looking ahead, TROUT Public Transit remains committed to helping people in North Hastings and Highlands East access the goods and services they need to live with independence and dignity in our community.

Also, we will be seeking expanded support from local municipalities and the business community for the economic growth and development potential that a public transportation service offers. The extent of that support will dictate our direction in 2014 and beyond.

John Keith,  MA

Manager, Transportation Services

 

Rural Ontario Municipalities Curious About Public Transportation

rural public transitSomebody out there sees the value of public transportation service in rural Ontario communities. And that’s encouraging.

Rural municipalities are beginning to see that public transportation boosts local economies by connecting people to goods, services, and jobs, with a benefit-to-cost ratio of more than 3 to 1 for rural communities not uncommon.

They’re noting that public transportation is of vital importance for attracting prospective new residents – ranked second, right behind adequate healthcare.

And, they are becoming more sensitive to the requirements of their non-driving ratepayers. Public transportation fosters independence and dignity, and it enriches quality of life by providing social and cultural opportunities otherwise restricted to some of their friends and neighbours.

I’ve been invited by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to conduct a presentation on rural public transportation at the Ontario East Municipal Conference in Kingston on Thursday, September 12.

It will be interesting to see how many folks pop in for the hour-long session and what their backgrounds and interests are.

As a former educator, I cannot help but inject an interactive component into the get together to TROUT PASSENGERS 001bring out some ideas and perceptions about providing public transportation for an increasing number of non-drivers in rural Ontario communities.

We will discuss benefits of rural public transportation.  We’ll identify barriers, with cost right up there at the top of the list, I expect.  And we’ll look at ways to address barriers.

I will also provide participants with a brief overview of the TROUT Transit operation, and offer some insights based on research and my experiences as manager of a rural public transportation service.

TROUT Public Transit is in its fourth year of operation serving seven municipalities in rural Hastings County and one municipality in the County of Haliburton. Ridership increased 24% in the last fiscal year, and the need for public transportation in our communities continues to rise.

Hats off to rural Ontario municipalities for their curiosity about public transportation. It’s the first step toward evolving local transportation infrastructures to meet the needs of increasing numbers of non-driving ratepayers,  grow local economies, and contribute to a sustainable future.

Trout Rural Public Transit  005

Trimming transportation costs in retirement

Retirement savers are often warned about the impact of health-care and housing costs, but there’s another major expense Americans need to plan for as they age—transportation.

Transportation costs, regardless of income, account for 14% of expenses for retirees, on average, according to the Social Security Administration’s “Expenditures of the Aged Chartbook,” which is based on data from the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey Public-Use File.

Now at first glance, that might not seem to be a large expense. After all, housing is at 35%. But after housing, transportation is the average retiree’s second-largest expense in retirement. And it’s an especially big expense and issue for older Americans who live in rural areas and don’t have access to public transportation, according to Joe Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab. He spoke recently (as did I) at the Financial Communication Society’s 5th Annual Education Summit.

So what can you do to tame transportation costs in retirement? Here’s what experts had to say.

How much do you spend on transportation?

The average retiree household spends 14% on transportation, but you might spend more or you might spend less. But you won’t really know until you crunch the numbers. “We always encourage that pre-retirees complete a very comprehensive budget which includes transportation costs so that they are fully prepared when faced with the cost,” said Gavin Morrissey, a senior vice president of wealth management at Commonwealth Financial Network.

Others note how such costs can be budget busters. “Transportation costs can add up for retirees,” said Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies and marketing for Ameriprise Financial. “Those expenses can range from simply getting around town for day-to-day errands to the cost of travel to see family, friends or sites.”

Time to get creative

No matter what you spend on transportation, it’s likely that you take it all for granted. You likely drive to work, to malls and to the movies without thinking twice about it. But that may have to change in the future, or at least it might have to change for those who want to keep their transportation costs in retirement in check.

“It’s time for all of us to be creative about where we drive and how frequently,” said Sandra Timmermann, vice president and director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

In the future, Timmermann and others say, retirees and pre-retirees will need to consider planning their trips more carefully, and grouping errands together. They might, for instance, check with neighbors if they just need a few groceries, or take turns with friends driving to the store, going to social events, and the like, Timmermann said.

Like Timmermann, Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement for Wells Fargo, recommends that retirees and pre-retirees consider carpooling and ride sharing. “Go grocery shopping with friends and share the cost of gas or alternate the use of cars,” Wimbish suggested.

“In the same way that people are sharing housing costs, they may also be able to share transportation expenses,” said Shannon Reid, director of retirement solutions at Raymond James Financial.

So, for example, if you no longer need to have a car to commute to work every day, car sharing or carpooling can become easier options with the more flexible schedule of some retirees, Reid said.

And don’t be shy about looking for carpooling buddies. “If you are commuting to daily or weekly activities like exercise classes or volunteer opportunities, near where you live consider sharing a ride with a friend who is doing the same activities,” said de Baca. “Ask around and you may find that others are also looking for a driving companion.”

And, if you live in the city, consider sharing cab rides.

Who needs two cars anyway?

Retirees should also evaluate whether they need two cars for one household. “With both spouses no longer working there may be more schedule flexibility which may allow for their transportation needs to be met with one vehicle,” said Morrissey.

Wimbish said another way to trim transportation costs—at least for those who are able—is to walk more.

Consider public transportation

If you are planning to retire to another location, consider not only tax rates and climate but also whether there’s public transportation. “Will there be shuttles to places such as grocery stores, church, and shopping centers?” asked Wimbish.

Others share that point of view. “While moving isn’t an option for many people, relocating to an active adult community near amenities or with its own transportation services or to a downtown area where stores and restaurants are within walking distance could be a good choice for a number of reasons,” Timmermann said. “In addition to the benefits of saving money on transportation, being closer to services and near other people is an antidote to social isolation.

De Baca also thinks public transportation is a viable way to cut costs. “Depending on where you live, public transportation can be a convenient and inexpensive way to get around,” she said. “Bus, train, or trolley systems can be safe and offer reasonable fares.”

In addition, de Baca recommends exploring community-sponsored senior transportation. “Some communities offer transportation options to seniors, such as van services or even vouchers or sliding scale fees for public transportation,” she noted.

Plan ahead/shop around

It might seem a bit obvious, but if you’re retired don’t forget to plan ahead for air travel. “Discount airfares are available for those who plan ahead or shop around,” said de Baca. “If you know your travel plans in advance, lock in attractive rates by exploring fare deals or looking for travel packages.”

Also, shop around for car insurance. “If you are still driving a car, consider shopping around for auto insurance,” said de Baca. “You may be surprised at how competitive the marketplace is and be able to shave some cash off your fixed expenses.”

Transportation costs fall over time

There is one other item to consider about transportation costs in retirement. Those costs are likely to fall from 14% of expenses to less than 10% over the course of retirement, as people age and become less mobile. “With retirement, daily transportation needs (such as commuting to work) fall to a great extent, and with increasing age and declining health people become more restricted to the indoors, which cuts entertainment expenses,” wrote Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute in 2012. Read Banerjee’s report, Expenditure Patterns of Older Americans, 2001‒2009.

Median transportation spending in 2010 dollars, and mean percentage:

Age Amount % of total
50-64 $4247 14
65-74 $2927 12
75-84 $2091 10
85+ $936 7

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates from the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey, 2001-2009.

Robert Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly, published by MarketWatch. Learn more about Retirement Weekly here. Follow his tweets at RJPIII. Got questions about retirement? Get answers. Email rpowell@marketwatch.com.

Transportation woes mount for patients

Brenda Snider, executive director for Volunteer and Information Quinte, said her organization is struggling to assist people in need of transportation to medical appointments as current services are stretched to their limits for volunteer drivers and excessive fuel costs. The double whammy has seriously impacted people in need of rides to important appointments, said Snider.

“The core issue is that we’re seeing an increasing number of individuals requiring transportation services that do not fall into any particular category,” said Snider.

One such individual is the 78-year-old mother of high school teacher Debbie Clare , Elizabeth MacLeod, who must travel to Kingston for a medical appointment later this month. While Clare has been able to secure transportation for her wheelchair-bound mother, it was a long, drawn-out process.

“My mom’s had a stroke so she is basically a quadriplegic,” she explained. “She requires 24-hour care and she is at Hastings Manor.”

Last year, MacLeod developed a sore on her back that was determined to be cancerous and of such a size that a plastic surgeon would have to remove it. The doctor forwarded MacLeod to a Kingston-based surgeon who will perform the necessary procedure later next week.

While Clare said she was happy to finally have an appointment for her mother, she had no idea how difficult it would be to get her there.

“I assumed the Manor would take her, but they don’t do that. I phoned different local agencies that the Manor said would probably provide wheelchair transportation, but one told me I wasn’t in their geographic area, another said because she wasn’t registered as a client they couldn’t take her, another agency said their volunteers do drive cancer patients, but they aren’t wheelchair accessible … It just went on and on,” she said.

Even options such as taking a train or borrowing someone’s vehicle proved futile as time concerns and medical needs created constraints. Using either a wheelchair bus or wheelchair-accessible taxi were also investigated but prices between $500 and $700 for a round-trip to Kingston were too high.

“I just thought things were getting a little outrageous,” Clare said. “I literally called 15 or 20 people and I even went to our MPP’s office and they, eventually, put me in touch with an agency who is able to take her.”

Despite securing transportation for her mother, Clare said there is no reason people in need of transportation for medical appointments should have to face such an uphill struggle.

“It just continued to be six or seven days of a few hours on the telephone trying to get this done,” she said. “How do people in a wheelchair that don’t have their own vehicle survive? How can they get anything done? It was such an eye opener throughout the whole thing.”

Clare said as she continued to be bounced back and forth from agency to agency she questioned why there isn’t a better system in place to take care of people in need of such transportation.

“I just thought the whole thing was overwhelming,” she said.

It can be, Snider concurred.

Clare’s story, sadly, is not unusual. Snider said her agency receives between three to four calls each week with residents sharing similar stories. While there are agencies out there many can’t meet the demand and there is a large gap left where many people fall.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t have the means or the finances to acquire needed transportation,” she said.

Snider explained many local residents often require medical care in Kingston and are forced to face the same battle Clare recently waged. However, even shorter trips such as travelling from Quinte West to Belleville can bring financial woes and hardships.

“It’s not that agencies don’t want to help, it’s that they can’t because they’re already overburdened,” she said. “Agencies have pulled together and have done what they need and what they can. It’s an issue that everybody knows is there but no one knows the solution.”

Snider, however, said there is a solution there if someone would step forward.

“The ideal solution would be if there was an organization that handled transportation for everyone,” she said. “But, who’s going to take that on and where does the funding come from?”

brice.mcvicar@sunmedia.ca

TROUT connects youth with Freedom Skate Park

Youth in Hastings Highlands now have an easy and affordable way to get to the Freedom Skate Park on Saturdays.

Each Saturday starting on May 25th the TROUT will pick up youth at the Hastings Highlands Centre at 9:30 a.m. Return fare to the Freedom Skate Park in Bancroft is only $5 and skateboards and BMX bikes are both welcome on the bus.

The TROUT will depart from the skate park in Bancroft for the return trip to Maynooth at 2 p.m.

The pilot program was developed to meet the needs of local youth who want a safe location to bike and board but who have had to rely on friends and family for rides to Bancroft on the weekend.

“Welcoming youth on public transportation will give them more freedom to get around North Hastings,” said John Keith, manager of transportation services at Community Care North Hastings. “We want our youth to feel comfortable and welcome on public transportation. We are also happy to support youth who want to get outside and be physically active.”

The special skate park student summer special will run through the summer as part of the special Saturday service that will deliver riders from Bancroft to the Maynooth Farmers Market each weekend.

For additional details:

Barbara Shaw

Community Care North Hastings

(613) 332-4700 x 23

Ontario earmarks $3.4 billion in transit funding for 2013

Ontario’s Liberals are set to establish a greater commitment to reduce road congestion and improve public transit throughout the province. Transit funding is expected to increase to $3.4 billion in 2013-2014, according to the provincial budget which was delivered today at Queen’s Park by finance minister Charles Sousa.

According to the budget, the financial commitment has jumped nearly $1 billion from last year’s funding on public transit systems.

The government proposes to make permanent the allocation of 2.2 cents per litre of the provincial gas tax toward public transit costs. The tax has generated $2.2 billion for public transit systems in Ontario since 2004, according to the budget.

Some current public transit projects the province is financially aiding include up to $416 million to renew Toronto’s fleet of streetcars, up to $600 million to fund Ottawa’s light rail transit project, up to $300 million toward the Waterloo Region’s rapid transit project and $870 million to extend the TTC’s Yonge-University-Spadina subway line to York University and Vaughan.

The budget also addressed the congestion problem on provincial highways by investing $2.2 toward highway infrastructure.

Some of the highway infrastructure projects that are planned or underway include, widening “key” sections of Highway 401 in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), extending Highway 407 east into the Durham Region and introducing HOV lanes on sections of Highways 401, 404, 410 and 427 in the GTHA.

The province is also proposing to transform some high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in the GTHA into high-occupancy toll (HOV/HOT) lanes.

“We want to be able to offer a choice — if you wish to use them and pay for them,” Ontario finance minister Charles Sousa. “We know that in other parts of the world, they’ve been able to implement HOV’s and offer the HOT’s as an alternative.”

Sousa said that he estimates toll fees from HOVs/HOTs could generate $250 million to $300 million of additional revenue for the province, which will go back to fund public transit infrastructure.

The proposal was received with skepticism by NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who thinks that the toll lanes would result in more drivers on the road.

“The one thing that’s supposed to be about transit isn’t about transit,” she said during a press conference today. “What it does is discourage people from carpooling and create Lexus lanes in the Province of Ontario.”

Horwath said that the budget still lacks measures that will hold the Liberal party accountable on its proposals.

Author: ANDRE WIDJAJA, multimedia staff writer, QUEEN’S PARK

Source: DailyCommercialNews

REPORT TO THE NEWS MEDIA – TROUT RIDERSHIP UP AN ASTOUNDING 24%

THE RURAL OVERLAND UTILITY TRANSIT (TROUT)

CELEBRATING 3 YEARS

OF SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC TRANSIT SERVICE

IN NORTH HASTINGS AND HIGHLANDS EAST

APRIL, 2013

INTRODUCTION

Centred in Bancroft, Ontario, The Rural Overland Utility Transit (affectionately known as the TROUT), offers a unique four-component fully accessible public transit service in seven municipalities comprising the north half of Hastings County, and one Haliburton County municipality in a sparsely populated rural region of Southeastern Ontario.

The TROUT is currently operated by Community Care North Hastings.

Among challenges the TROUT faces are its large service area and small population base.

The permanent population in the region is only 15,000, and the area served is 3380 km2, about two-thirds the size of Prince Edward Island. That’s an average population density of only 4.4 people per km2, requiring creative service strategies to accommodate the ridership base.

However, ridership continues to grow at a rapid rate.

TROUT RIDERSHIP UP AN ASTOUNDING 24%

Demand for TROUT public transit service increased 24% in fiscal year April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, over the previous year.  Increase in demand is expected to continue as the local population ages and consumers embrace the advantages of our unique mass transit opportunities.

We will continue to actively promote the benefits of local public transit in North Hastings and Highlands East to increase awareness and help grow the service.

TROUT UNIQUE PUBLIC TRANSIT SERVICE MIX

Therefore, the TROUT employs a four-part public transit service mix to meet its demographic and geographic challenges.  We call it “TROUT Blended Flex Public Transit Service.”

TROUT Blended Flex Public Transit Service

TROUT Blended services1

TROUT blended flex public transit service makes an important contribution as an alternative to personal transportation in North Hastings and Highlands East, by empowering our non-driving friends and neighbours with mobility to access the goods, services, and social and cultural activities that allow them to age in place in our region with independence and dignity.

Service Mix Details

Scheduled Regional Route Service

The TROUT offers regularly scheduled, fixed bus stop route service throughout the region.  Service

Public Transit Operator, Linda Landon greets riders as they catch the TROUT. Social interaction is encouraged on the buses and the service is for everyone in the community. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

Public Transit Operator, Linda Landon greets riders as they catch the TROUT. Social interaction is encouraged on the buses and the service is for everyone in the community. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

extends out to different parts of the region on specific days of the week, stopping at bus stops along the way, to bring riders into Bancroft for goods, services, and other pursuits.

Regional pickups are made in the mornings, returning riders to their areas in the afternoon. Daily route service in Bancroft connects riders from throughout the region to most businesses and all medical centres in the town.

As the TROUT grows and evolves, additions and modifications to fixed bus stop routes will be necessary to provide more efficient and effective public transit service.

Door-To-Door Service

Blended into TROUT regularly scheduled route service, is door-to-door service provided to qualified

riders, older adults 55+ and adults with physical disabilities who are clients of Community Care North Hastings. TROUT transit drivers incorporate door-to-door service pickups into their regular route schedules, picking up riders from their homes as close as possible to regular route times and locations.

Special Destination Service

 TROUT public transit is for everyone in North Hastings and Highlands East. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

TROUT public transit is for everyone in North Hastings and Highlands East. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

Also incorporated into the TROUT’s unique public transit mix is “special destination” public transit service offered to facilitate access to local special events, attractions, and other destinations off regular route and time schedules.

This service feature connects riders to social and cultural activities and other destinations of interest that cannot be covered by regular route service. The TROUT values this component of public transit service as especially important to help promote emotional and mental health and the overall wellbeing of riders.

Individualized Service

The TROUT provides “individualized” public transit service to riders who require wheelchair

TROUT encourages social interaction on the buses and provides access to goods, services, events and activities throughout the region. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

TROUT encourages social interaction on the buses and provides access to goods, services, events and activities throughout the region. The number of riders increased by 24% over the last year.

accessible transportation outside regularly scheduled route service. Riders use the service for important medical appointments, or transportation home from the hospital.

A number of “Special Destination” public transit service opportunities were identified and offered in fiscal year 2012-13 providing riders with access to events, activities, and other destinations throughout the region. Sunday bus service to area churches was instituted in November, 2012, and has become an ongoing special destination public transit initiative.

WE’RE PROUD OF OUR BUS DRIVERS/PROGRAM COORDINATORS

TROUT bus drivers do much more than just drive the buses expertly.  They also have administrative

job duties and rider support service duties to perform along with driving. And, they’re customer service gurus.

TROUT bus drivers assist riders with mobility disabilities by helping them on and off the buses and by carrying parcels for them. They also strive to cultivate positive social interactivity and enjoyable experiences for their bus passengers.

OTHER SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE TROUT

TROUT Trips

TROUT offers enriching out-of-town trips to connect our non-driving residents and others in our community with social, cultural, and other destinations throughout the province. Our goal is to provide the same kind of access to destinations that personal vehicle owners enjoy.

Private Hires

The TROUT is available to groups for private transportation to destinations of their choice. Some groups hire the TROUT for trips to “special interest” events and activities. Others hire the TROUT for special occasions to transport their guests to and from venues and to offer a safe and lawful alternative to drinking and driving.

Promotional Transit Service

Promotional service is offered free of charge to riders, or at a reduced rate, to promote public transit and other TROUT services

Promotional service was offered in Bancroft, Coe Hill, and Maynooth during the past year to connect riders with community activities and events such as Santa Claus parades, luncheon socials, community activities and other local initiatives.

TROUT Bus Advertising

The TROUT offers display advertising opportunities on the buses and in the buses. It is a great opportunity for advertisers to profile their businesses and get their messages out over a wide area on a continuous basis. The TROUT is “a billboard on wheels.”

National Public Transit: Province puts $3.4M to expanding public transit between Edmonton, Leduc, Nisku

The provincial government announced plans Tuesday to invest millions to help expand public transit between Leduc, Nisku, Leduc County and Edmonton.

On Tuesday, the province said $3.4 million in funding to expand the “C-Line” inter-municipal bus service currently running between those communities.

The “C-Line” runs from Century Park in Edmonton, to bus stops in Nisku and Leduc, before looping back to Century Park – with a total of five trips running during morning and afternoon peak times Monday to Friday. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, National Public Transit and tagged Edmonton, funding, public transit on April 1, 2013 by john. Edit

National Public Transit: Public Transit Users – Claim Your Tax Credit!

If you use public transit, you can claim the cost of certain public transit passes to reduce the taxes you owe.

Important information

You can claim the cost of monthly or annual passes for unlimited travel within Canada on any of the following: buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains, or ferries. You may also be able to claim the cost of shorter duration passes and electronic payment cards in certain circumstances.

When claiming the public transit amount, keep your transit pass in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asks you to verify your claim. If you do not have your passes, you can also provide your receipts, cancelled cheques, or credit card statements to support your claim. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, National Public Transit and tagged CCRA, public transit, tax credit, transportation on March 15, 2013 by john. Edit

National Public Transit: City forecasts increased public transit usage for 2013

The City of Charlottetown, in partnership with Trius Transit, is anticipating another successful year for the transit system.

Charlottetown transit experienced growth throughout 2012 with ridership up eight per cent over 2011.

In February 2013, the Monday-to-Friday daily average was 1,291 people, which represented a 19.6 per cent increase over February 2012.

“Charlottetown transit is an affordable and environmentally friendly transportation option that we encourage citizens to take advantage of,” said Mayor Clifford Lee. “The city worked hard with Trius Transit to provide many improvements in 2012, including a more aggressive marketing plan, and it’s great to see those efforts producing such positive results.”

The city entered into a transit agreement with Trius Transit, the Town of Stratford and the Town of Cornwall in 2012 to provide regional transit services to the three municipalities.

Transit was also re-branded last year with the new T3 logo and tagline, “Take Transit Today”, which represents the three-way partnership. New signage was created, uniforms were provided to drivers and the buses were painted bright green with yellow trim.

Transit schedules have also undergone many revisions to increase frequency and availability, and passengers have reported it to be a more reliable service.

As a result of the changes, two statistical records were broken in 2012: the number of passengers using transit per day; and the number of riders per month.

“We have no reason to think those numbers won’t continue to grow as we keep making improvements to the transit and we’re able to access more routes and appeal to more passengers,” said Coun. Terry Bernard, chair of the city’s public works, street lighting and transit committee.

Source: TheGuardian

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, Home, National Public Transit and tagged rural public transit, transit on March 13, 2013 by john. Edit

Just wating on a public transit route…

The affordability of transit is playing a role in the growth of ridership across the US states a 2012 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another key finding was that Baby Boomers, empty nesters and young professionals are also using more public transit.

In our own community we have quite a few empty nesters and we are also attracting Baby Boomers as a retirement option. Having access to public transit only increases the desirability to choose our community to retire in… thus boosting our economy. As for the young professionals, most here drive but I for one don’t and would love to see the TROUT partner with Carlow Mayo as I know others that live here have similar feelings (see TROUT’S report). The access to have some independence without having to rely on a neighbour, family or friend only enhances the quality of life.

TROUT has made some great progress over the last couple of years and we will keep striving to achieve even greater accessibility and service.

Author: Sharron Clayton

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events, Home and tagged Baby Boomers, public transit, rural public transit on March 12, 2013 by john. Edit

International Public Transit: Public transportation hits 10.5B rides in 2012

Ridership on buses, subways and other modes of public transportation in the USA rose 1.5% to 10.5 billion trips last year, the highest annual total since 2008, according to a new report.

Although Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath slowed ridership on some of the nation’s largest transit systems, at least 16 systems reported record ridership numbers in 2012, says the American Public Transportation Association.

“When Sandy hit, and the snowstorm that followed it, an estimated 74 million (transit) trips were lost, and yet we still had the second-highest ridership since 1957,” said APTA president and CEO Michael Melaniphy. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, Home, International Public Transit and tagged public transit, rural public transit, transportation on March 11, 2013 by john. Edit

Global Public Transit: As U.S. Transit Fares Increase, Europe Starts to Make It Free

http://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Tramway-in-Tallinn.jpghttp://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Tramway-in-Tallinn.jpg

A tramway in Tallinn, Estonia in 1996 Credit:Flickr user Felix O

Public transportation ridership may have increased in 2012, but major transit agencies across the nation have picked an odd way to celebrate. On July 1, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which serves the Philadelphia region, will increase fares. Meanwhile, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will, for the fourth time in five years, up its prices this weekend.

Seven time zones to the east, the Estonian capital of Tallinn has taken the opposite approach: In January, it entirely scrapped fares for city residents, although they must initially purchase a smart card. Those who live outside the city still have to pay fares. According to Reuters, the city decided a carrot in the form of free rides is the best way to deal with traffic congestion by luring drivers onto buses and trams. (A bit of stick has been applied, too, as cars are now barred from some roads and parking fees have increased.) The city government purchased 70 new buses and 15 new trams to meet the anticipated surge in demand. Three-quarters of Tallinn residents support the plan. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, Global Public Transit, International Public Transit and tagged free public transit, public transportation, US on March 7, 2013 by john. Edit

International Public Transit: Top Eight Reasons People Give Up On Public Transit

http://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/San_Francisco_Muni_107535.jpghttp://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/San_Francisco_Muni_107535.jpgCommuters are more likely to stop using public transit when they experience delays they can blame on the transit agency, according to researchers at the University of California Berkeley.

They are more likely to forgive delays caused by traffic, emergencies or mechanical failures.

“The most significant negative experiences that drove a reduction in transit use were delays perceived to be the fault of the transit agency, long waits at transfer points, and being prevented from boarding due to crowding,” wrote the researchers: graduate student Andre Carrel, undergraduate Anne Halvorsen and Professor Joan L. Walker from Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in Blog, Events, Home, International Public Transit and tagged bus, International Public Transit, policy, public transit on March 7, 2013 by john. Edit

Global Public Transit: 500 new Chinese buses for Madagascar’s creaking public transport

Madagascar- Madagascar transporters have decided to import 500 new buses from China to improve the country’s public transportation, official sources said.

“The new vehicles are expected to arrive in the capital Antananarivo in June,” Mr Jocelyn Andrianambinintsoa of the Malagasy transporters union, told reporters Tuesday.

The buyers have opted for the products of the Chinese manufacturer Yutong for technical and financial reasons.

Two types of buses were proposed to the transporters: A bus containing 40 seats was negotiated for $40,000 while the one with 30 seats was purchased at $30,000.

The transporters will get the financial guarantee of the government.

An arrangement with two Madagascar’s commercial banks that are to fund the operation has been concluded, the source said.

The initiative to modernise the country’s common transport has been in the pipeline since last year.

Commuters have for long complained about the bad quality service observed across the island.

The vehicles in use are not only old but the fares charged are also considered exploitative.

In last December, President Andry Rajoelina sent to China a delegation to select any manufacturers they wanted to cooperate with.

Last month, representatives of three Chinese vehicle constructors such as Yutong, Hengtong and Higer met with their eventual clients in Antananarivo.

The plan to buy the big number of buses from China is like a mini-revolution for the nation land transportation.

Historical records show similar initiative dates back to the 1980s.

The then-government encouraged importation of hundreds of Japanese buses while the country was a popular exhibit destination for cars made in Europe.

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Events, Global Public Transit and tagged buses, public transit on March 6, 2013 by john. Edit

International Public Transit: Public hearing held on transportation rate increase

YORK – Slight increases will likely take place regarding York County Public Transportation System.

Right now, it costs $2 for an out-of-city ride on the county’s bus. If the commissioners move forward with the change, the rate will increase to $4.

Also, it costs $10 for out-of-county round trips on the county bus. It’s proposed that this particular rate should change to $12.

A public hearing on the matter was held Tuesday morning, with no one speaking against the rate increases. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events, International Public Transit and tagged aging, fares, Handibus, public trasporation on March 6, 2013 by john. Edit

National Public Transit: Subway line for Broadway corridor is best public transit option to relieve gridlock, UBC study says

TransLink has cited a $3-billion subway line along the Broadway corridor as having the “highest acceptability rating” among three potential rapid-transit options.

But the transportation authority noted light rail transit or a partly tunnelled LRT – ranging from $1.1 billion to $1.84 billion – along with a $2.67-billion combination of subway and LRT are also “more acceptable than business as usual” on the heavily congested corridor.

Bus or bus rapid transit along the route, meanwhile, has not been recommended for further consideration because “they do not have sufficient capacity to meet demand in 2041,” according to a University of B.C. rapid-transit analysis. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Events, National Public Transit and tagged BC, public transit, subways on March 6, 2013 by john. Edit

International Transit: FTA and FEMA agree roles for addressing public transit needs in future major disasters

The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both agencies in providing federal assistance to repair and restore public transportation systems in areas the President has declared a major disaster or emergency. FTA’s newly authorized Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program was established by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the MOA is required to establish the relief program

. “After disasters hit, our federal, state and local partners must be able to move quickly and make the necessary repairs to our nation’s transit systems, roads, rails and bridges,” said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Today’s announcement makes it easier for them to get to work, and DOT will continue to work closely with FEMA and our partners to ensure that emergency relief funds are available as quickly as possible to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy.”

The MOA is a key requirement that must be in place before the bulk of the FTA’s disaster relief funds for Hurricane Sandy aid can be released, as prescribed by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events, International Public Transit and tagged disater, FEMA, FTA, government, International Public Transit, policy, public transit on March 6, 2013 by john. Edit

Cash for rural transit may be en route

http://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/TROUTOct2012-003.jpghttp://catchthetrout.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/TROUTOct2012-003.jpg‘Communities can’t wait another year,’ Hendsbee says

Those living without a car on the outskirts of Halifax Regional Municipality usually have to rely on their feet, a bicycle or the kindness of friends and strangers to get around.

And with the suggestion of an urban transit boundary in the regional plan, it is unlikely bus routes will pull into those rural communities any time soon.

Instead, Metro Transit has suggested rural communities come up with their own transit solutions, something the municipality may help pay for if council approves the funding scheme that went before the grants committee Monday. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events and tagged news, public transit, rural transit, transportation on March 5, 2013 by john. Edit

Our Economy Needs Public Transit To Tackle Gridlock

Ontario has followed the same basic transportation strategy for decades. We build more roads, traffic congestion increases. The result? Longer commutes. Less farmland. Frustrating traffic jams. Soaring asthma rates.

Clearly, the status quo isn’t working. Ontario needs change. Gridlock costs $6 billion per year in the GTHA alone. If we continue with the status quo, congestion will cost $15 billion per year by 2031. There are clear economic costs when we can’t move goods and people efficiently. There’s also a cost to our families and communities when we spend more time in the car than at home.

We need a strategy that will take Ontario’s economy out of gridlock and into the fast lane. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events and tagged gridlock, ontario, public transit on March 4, 2013 by john. Edit

McCallion blames poor planning for transit woes

Hazel McCallion.

Mayor Hazel McCallion told last night’s meeting of the Toronto Region Board of Trade thattransportation issues have caused a crisis across the GTA.

The mayor cited poor planning, communication and arrogance on the part of the provincial government, City of Toronto officials and other members of government, including herself, who neglected to make transportation the focus of land use.
“It’s not been the basis of land use planning and that’s why we’re in the mess that we’re in,” said McCallion at the meeting, billed as a “fireside chat” by its sponsor, the Urban Land Institute’s Toronto chapter.

“One of the greatest things that we did not do well, and all municipalities are guilty of this, was that transportation should have been the basis of all decisions back then. When we look at the GTA, we say ‘why are we in this problem?’ Transportation is one of the things that should be a land use decision, but it’s never been that way and it still isn’t. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events and tagged congestion, Hazel McCallion, public transit, transportation on March 1, 2013 by john. Edit

Public transit safest mode of transportation, study says

Vancouver – If you wanna be safe, take the bus – and leave the motorbike on blocks.

That’s the conclusion from a new study on the relative safety of the car, bicycle, and motorcycle as opposed to walking and public transit.

Buses and public transit are the safest, while motorbikes are the most dangerous. Continue reading →

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events and tagged canada, public transit, rural transit, safety on March 1, 2013 by john. Edit

Could Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reboot a national transit strategy?

Ontario’s new premier is vowing to put transit planning back on the federal radar, a call to arms that could succeed where others have failed.

The Globe and Mail reports that freshly-crowned Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week and spoke about the need for a national strategy to fund transit projects in Canada.

“Infrastructure is one of the issues that I’ve said very clearly that I’m going to be raising with the federal government – particularly infrastructure and transit funding. I think that it’s extremely important that those two go hand in hand,” Wynne told the Globe.

Wynne’s focus would certainly be Ontario systems, specifically the overburdened and aging Toronto transit grid, but it is a message that could help across the country.

The last formal bid to start a national public transit strategy came in 2011, when NDP MP Olivia Chow introduced Bill C-305, intent on tackling the fragmented transit planning approach.

The National Public Transit Strategy Act aimed to build a game plan to ensure fast, accessible transit across Canada.

The keys were to reduce commute times, alleviate congestion and establish a permanent funding system, rather than one-off funding promises issued piecemeal. It was officially rejected in 2012, as the Conservative government elected to maintain the status quo.

Canada is also the only G8 nation without a national transit strategy. This says something about how serious other nations are taking the issue, or perhaps how much we are not.

The University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance considered the proper role of the federal government in a transit strategy, and suggested the current funding arrangements lacked transparency and actually “has a negative impact on public transit.”

It recommended a dedicated, long-term commitment that funds regions and projects based on a clear allocation formula.

So how would a national transit strategy actually work?

In the United States, 0.067 per cent of the GDP goes toward transit through the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA).

SAFETEA was signed into law in 2005, guaranteeing $244.1 billion in funding for highways and public transportation systems. The one-stop shop for transit funding streamlines construction and safety improvements, allows states to react quickly to issues causing congestion and ensures each state receives an equitable share of funding.

So, you know, something like that would be a start.

Whatever the end result, it is progress that the issue is being discussed. The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) wrapped up a two-day conference today, focused on the economic benefits of investing in transit.

“It is important to put transit at the centre of communities across Canada and to keep transit at the forefront of urban development and growth” CUTA President Michael Roschlau said. “These meetings are an opportunity to reinforce that message with government and industry stakeholders.”

Yes. More talking, please. Maybe something will be said that spurs action.

Author: Mathew Coutts

Source: YahooNews

Leave a reply This entry was posted in About the Trout, Blog, Events on February 27, 2013 by john. Edit

A day in the life of Canberra’s bus network

Insight: Making the Connection between Public Health and Transit

Numerous Martin Prosperity Institute Insights have looked at the relationships between transit accessibility in Toronto and various socio-economic indicators, such as income and working poor population shares. These Insights have identified several patterns between neighbourhoods with less transit accessibility and high concentrations of increased poverty levels. Recently Toronto Public Health released a report entitled Next Stop Health: Transit Access and Health Inequities in Toronto that looks at the relationships between public transit and health within Toronto. In the report, Toronto Public Health (TPH) uses the MPI’s transit score to map the availability and frequency of transit in Toronto. This Insight will provide a quick overview of the results in the Next Stop Health report.

The Report examines transit accessibility within areas of Toronto by looking at how affordable and available public transit impacts the building a healthy city. TPH argues that currently in Toronto numerous low income residents, particularly those in the inner suburbs, are experiencing a disparity in transit accessibility. In turn, the poor quality transit that many low income residents depend on is causing negative health impacts, by making it difficult to access healthy food, employment, education, recreational services and health care, amongst other things.

Exhibit 1: Percent of labour force using public transit to commute to work by employment income, aged 15+, Toronto, 2006

Exhibit 1

Notes: (1) Mode of transportation to work by total employment income of persons 15 years and over with a usual place of work or no fixed workplace address. Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Canada (CANSIM Table: 97-561-XCB2006015.IVT) Prepared by: Toronto Public Health, May 2012

 

As previous MPI Insights have demonstrated, the lowest income neighbourhoods in Toronto are the least accessible by transit. Not only are the residents with the lowest employment incomes often provided with the worst transit, they are also the most reliant on it. Exhibit 1 shows the percentages of the labour force that uses public transit within Toronto to commute to work, grouped by different employment incomes. The two income groupings, in which the highest percentage of the labour force uses public transit to get to work, are the two lowest income groups that earn from $20,000 to $39,999 or less than $20,000 a year. When examining the use of motorized vehicles as the mode of transportation to work, high income commuters are found to be 1.5 times more likely to use a motorized vehicle than the lowest income commuters (66.5% of high income commuters use a motorized vehicle).

Exhibit 2: Transit affordability (Cost of monthly transit pass as a percent of monthly minimum wage income), select Canadian cities/municipalities, 2009

Exhibit 2

Notes: (1) Figure includes Quality of Life Reporting System members with populations (2006) greater than 500,000. Source: Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Quality of Life Reporting System. Ottawa, Ontario. Prepared by: Toronto Public Health, May 2012

 

The TPH report further identifies that the health of low income residents in Toronto is being negatively affected by the poor accessibility of transit, and also by affordability. While many low income residents in the City rely on transit, many of them are provided with less transit access, at a cost that they can barely afford. Exhibit 2 presents transit affordability (cost of a monthly transit pass as a percent of monthly minimum wage income) for selected Canadian cities. As shown, Toronto has the second least affordable transit pass amongst the selected Canadian cities, coming second to the Quebec metro area. The dependence on poor transit, coupled with a less affordable transit pass creates a scenario in which performing daily duties for low income residents or those on social assistance more difficult.

The TPH report further examines how poor transit accessibility and affordability for low income residents in Toronto, is negatively affecting their health. The study found that once again, the northwest (Rexdale and Jane/Finch) and eastern (Malvern and Kingston/Galloway parts of the city that were identified as having the worst access to transit are the areas that have higher diabetes rates and also experience longer travel times to practitioners. TPH illustrates that many of the health services that aim to promote good health are unattainable by many in these areas due to barriers created by the dependence on unreliable transit access. TPH also identified that affordability can be especially problematic for families, as some of the parents interviewed mentioned that they have missed doctors’ appointments for their children due to not having transit fare. Poor transit accessibility affects poor residents in Toronto in every aspect of their lives. Not only do they often have a longer work commute, but activities that help maintain a healthy life, such as doctor and dentist appointments are made increasingly difficult, due to the lack of accessibility and affordability of transit for those most dependent on it. Furthermore, Martin Prosperity Institute research suggests that the added dimension of affordable housing options must be considered in conjunction with plans for transit expansion, in order to ensure that these outer neighbourhoods due to improved transit do not become less affordable for the current residents that currently need more accessible and affordable transit. In order to build a healthier city for all of residents, the implications of poor transit accessibility and affordability on the most vulnerable and dependent residents must be examined in for the hopes that must needed changes are made to address these issues.

To read the full report please click here

Source:The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto‘s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors — location, place and city-regions — in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.