Category Archives: International Public Transit

International Public Transit: Advocating For Transportation Systems Change

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 15, 2013 — Elevators on subways stop working, bus stops aren’t announced and pathways or sidewalks are inaccessible. Every day, these types of problems create major issues for people living with disabilities when simply trying to get from one place to another. A U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics study found that 6 million people living with disabilities had difficulties accessing needed transportation. Concerns about accessible transportation have led many Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in California to increase their advocacy efforts to create long-term transportation systems change.

“Accessibility to transportation continues to be a significant issue for people living with disabilities,” said Executive Director of the California State Independent Living Council (SILC) Liz Pazdral. “In addition to providing education and training on transportation options, ILCs throughout California are focusing on creating meaningful transportation systems change within their areas.” Continue reading

International Public Transit: Alexa Edinburgh: Boost public transit to keep young grads here

Dear Editor: As a student about to finish my undergraduate degree at the  University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am troubled by aspects of Gov. Scott Walker’s  proposed state budget that fail to meet Wisconsin’s transportation needs.

Easily accessible public transit is a major factor in deciding where I’ll  settle and start my career. Throughout college I have relied on the bus system  in Madison. Although campus routes are good, taking the bus to other  destinations can be hit or miss, especially on evenings or weekends. If these  services are reduced due to funding reductions, graduates may relocate to other  cities. I don’t relish the idea of trading the transit service and bike paths  I’m used to for the traffic, pollution, and high cost of commuting by car in  places where driving is the only option. Choosing transit over driving and  maintaining a car will also help me pay off my student loans.

Chicago offers trains that facilitate an easy commute into and around the  city. Bus service is also excellent, with frequent service and low fares. Even  though we don’t have the same population density, Madison stands to lose out if  we ignore growing traffic issues on the Beltline and the isthmus over the next  decade.

Wisconsin should do all it can to avoid losing bright, young professionals to  other states. Legislators can help do that with a budget that continues to  support transit through the transportation fund, reduces highway spending, and  expands public transit.

Alexa Edinburgh



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International Public Transit: Home Values Performed 42 Percent Better When Located Near Public Transportation During Last Recession

WASHINGTON, DC –  Location, location, location near public transportation may be the new real-estate mantra according to a new study released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Data in the study reveals that during the last recession, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.

“When homes are located near public transportation, it is the equivalent of creating housing as desirable as beach front property,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “This study shows that consumers are choosing neighborhoods with high-frequency public transportation because it provides access to up to five times as many jobs per square mile as compared to other areas in a given region. Other attractive amenities in these neighborhoods include lower transportation costs, walkable areas and robust transportation choices.” Continue reading

International Public Transit: How about a mass-transit lobby

Federal funding for public transportation programs has lagged far behind what states and municipalities have had to spend in order keep mass transit systems not only operational, but expanding.

That’s because mass transit users don’t have lobbyists in Washington, said former New York City Councilman and mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, who said Sunday that, as mayor, he would establish a national “Mayors for Mass Transit” initiative, along the lines of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”

“It’s an issue that’s being ignored on a national basis,” said Albanese, who represented parts of Brooklyn in the New York City Council from 1983 to 1998 and captured 21% of the vote in the Democratic mayoral primary in 1997. “When I become mayor I want to organize ‘Mayors for Mass Transit,’ because it is essential to cities across the country.”

Albanese said federal transportation funding must be expanded not only for the benefit of mass transit users, but for the economic value and public health impact of public transportation.

The federal government spends vastly more to fund highway construction and repair than it does to build or upgrade mass transit systems, and the public health impact of that policy choice is rather clear: More cars on the street means more carbon emitted into the air and rising asthma rates. Federal officials say a record-high 8.4% of Americans now suffer from asthma, up from 7.3% in 2001.

Increasing funding for mass transit at the federal level, Albanese said, could reverse that trend.

“It affects the economy. If we can’t move people around, the economic quality of the city suffers. Secondly, it’s an air quality issue. We want to get people out of their cars. And thirdly, you create living wage jobs,” Albanese said. “I don’t think there’s a constituency for it, unfortunately. They don’t have lobbyists, people who use mass transit. So I want to organize mayors around the country to go to Washington and raise our voice for adequate funding of mass transit.”

Source: MSNBC

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

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

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

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

International Public Transit: What’s driving privatization of public transit?

MichaelShort/California Watch In Fairfield, officials have outsourced the city's public bus service to MV Transportation

MichaelShort/California Watch In Fairfield, officials have outsourced the city’s public bus service to MV Transportation

California – As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for.In Fairfield, where the city’s suburban landscape makes it difficult to provide reliable and comprehensive bus service, local officials are finding it hard to hold its contractor, MV Transportation, accountable. Transit reporter Zusha Elinson found that “over a two-year period beginning in 2008, the company was fined 295 times for a total of $164,000” for late arrival times and drivers speeding, being out of uniform and using cellphones while driving.

Behind the fines, however, is a much larger ideological debate: Is privatization of certain industries like transit, which some traditionally consider to be public domain, a good thing?

We asked Elinson to break it down for us. Continue reading

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

San_Francisco_Muni_107535Commuters 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

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

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