Tools for Getting Started with GTFS
Veterans Helping Veterans... More Than A Ride
TAM Roadeo Report
Maryland Transit Update May 2022
Maryland RTAP Rural Transit Assistance Program
Maryland Transit Update is published semiannually by KFH Group, Inc. under contract to the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) in partnership with the Transportation Association of Maryland (TAM)
IN THIS ISSUE May 2022
Letter from the President......................................................................................................................................................3 Harford County Transit LINK to Receive $1.5 Million from FTA..........................................................................4 People in Transit ............................................................................................................................................................ 5 TAM Legislative Update................................................................................................................................................6 Tools for Getting Started with GTFS...........................................................................................................................8 TAM Roadeo Report.....................................................................................................................................................10 Ride On - A Look Back at 47 Years of Innovation.....................................................................................................12 TransIT Services of Frederick County Unveils Expanded Facility, Celebrates Bike to Work Day......................14 Restoring the Frontline Workforce..............................................................................................................................16 Veterans Helping Veterans...More Than A Ride........................................................................................................18 Federal Updates..............................................................................................................................................................20 Transitioning toward Zero-Emission Buses: The Challenges and Benefits.............................................................22 Transit Bookshelf & Toolbox........................................................................................................................................25 Calendar 2022................................................................................................................................................................26 About Maryland RTAP, TAM, and Maryland Transit Update.................................................................................27
Cover photo by Bittner Photography
Maryland Transit Update
Letter from the President
W elcome to the Spring issue of the Maryland Transit Update. By the time you are reading this, flowers will be in full bloom and none of us will have to worry about putting buses on the road in snow and ice, at least until next November or December! And this spring, things are becoming more normal with in person meetings and trainings, along with the recent federal court ruling making masking optional on board our buses. There are some exciting developments to report on since our 2021 Fall Conference . Your Legislative Committee has been hard at work and successfully saw SB 838 through to passage. This will increase SSTAP funding that has been flat for many, many years and ties this funding to the rate of inflation. Hopefully this will allow many of us to offer service improvements to our growing populations relying on this transportation. And for the first time since 2019 we were able to hold our statewide Roadeo , under sunny skies to boot! This successful event saw over 80 drivers and volunteers for a morning of friendly competition and comradery followed by lunch, an awards banquet and for the first time, entertainment provided by a stand-up comedian.
Jeff Barnett TAM President Chief of Transit, Charles County VanGO
Mark your calendars for upcoming meetings and training opportunities. The General Meeting (our first in-person General Meeting since 2019) will be held at Turf Valley in Ellicott City May 17 – 19, which includes two days of MDOT MTA sponsored CCTM certification. Our Fall Conference is all set for September 20 – 22 at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville. Registration will be opening May 17. The Awards Committee will be looking for nominations starting on May 17. These prestigious awards for individual and transit agency achievements throughout the year are proudly announced at the Fall Conference. This is your opportunity to nominate an associate or transit agency for outstanding work in our important industry. Check out www.taminc.org for more information on award categories and to download nomination forms. Looking forward to seeing more of everyone this year. As always, please reach out to me or TAM staff if there is anything we can do to improve your membership experience.
Harford County Transit LINK to Receive $1.5 Million from FTA Only Public Transit System in Maryland to receive funding under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program
By Becky Macek, Harford Transit LINK
H arford Transit LINK has been awarded $1,498,000 from the federal Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program to pay for clean-energy buses and to design and engineer its operations/maintenance facility. Harford Transit LINK is the only locally operated transit system in Maryland to be awarded this funding, which was announced on March 14 by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Pending Harford County Administration approval, Harford Transit LINK plans to use this funding for two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) small cutaway buses and two CNG medium-heavy duty buses, along with completing the design and engineering of either a new facility or current facility upgrade, which will be determined based on a viability study conducted by WSP, Inc. in conjunction with MDOT MTA . The federal grant will cover 85% of the $1,180,000 cost of the buses and 90% of the $550,000 needed
for the facility design and engineering. The remaining $232,000 will be provided by the county government in matching funds required by the grant. Since 2018, Harford Transit LINK has researched, applied for, and received nearly $21 million in discretionary funding for new buses (via Volkswagen, 5339, and 5307 grants and CARES funding) and facility upgrades (5339 grant) for fuel infrastructure, garage rehabilitation, training and specialty tools, and project management. This aggressive approach to secure additional funding has saved Harford County tens of millions of dollars. Additional Information: For more information about Harford Transit LINK, visit www.harfordtransitlink.org . View the FTA press release here .
Maryland Transit Update
People in Transit
John David Hill August 22, 1942 - December 31, 2021
J ohn was an important and vibrant member of the Maryland transportation community for many years and will be dearly missed. His service included not only many years
as Director of Garrett Transit Service (he retired in 2014) but also serving on the TAM Board of Directors from 2005 - 2011, service which included two terms as President of TAM.
TAM Legislative Update From Sarah Peters of Husch Blackwell Strategies
T he Maryland General Assembly convened for the 90-day Legislative Session on January 12, 2022. The Senate of Maryland and House of Delegates began the session virtually given the difficulties of meeting in-person because of COVID-19 and the prevalence of the Delta variant. It was not until shortly after the Valentine’s Day holiday that the Senate began in-person hearings. The House remained virtual. TAM reviewed the approximately 2,500 bills introduced and met to determine the impact of the bill and how TAM would support, amend, or oppose the legislation. This included TAM’s priority bill, HB1019 (SB0838) - Transportation - Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Service - County Funding, which would secure Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) baseline funding for future years and increase that amount with inflation. TAM monitored the following bills. HB1019 / SB0838 - Transportation - Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Service - County Funding The bill sets baseline funding for transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities and adjusts future funding levels for inflation. This is an essential first and long overdue effort to assist transit providers with the rise in costs and increase in demand for the SSTAP-provided services. After many meetings with the Administration and General Assembly, TAM finalized the language of the legislation and asked advocates Delegate Karen Lewis-Young (D, Frederick County) and Senator Ron Young (D, Frederick County) to sponsor and introduce the legislation on behalf of TAM. TAM members met virtually and in-person in Annapolis to educate elected officials and interested stakeholders
on the bill and to garner support, emphasize impact to their constituents or members, and answer questions. TAM’s legislation received the endorsement by the General Assembly Transit Caucus and after successful hearings in the Senate and House, the Senate unanimously voted in support of TAM’s legislation. The bill was then heard in the House of Delegates where it was heard for a second time and again, unanimously voted. For the Senate version of the bill, that meant completing the legislative hurdles a bill must undergo to become law. This bill has been sent to the Governor for his review and signature and unless vetoed by the Governor, the bill will become law and take effect July 1, 2022. SB0210 / CH0118 - Tax Credits - Employer-Provided Commuter Benefits - Expansion and Administration This departmental bill expands the existing commuter benefit income tax credit by extending eligibility to certain employer-funded programs for (1) carpools; (2) walking and biking to work; (3) teleworking; and (4) multimodal commuting. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) must administer the credit and may award a maximum of $1.0 million in credits each year. The bill takes effect July 1, 2022. HB1391 / CH0234 - Clean Cars Act of 2022 This bill (1) reestablishes the qualified plug-in electric vehicle and fuel cell electric vehicle excise tax credit and extends eligibility to certain vehicles and property; (2) establishes the Medium-Duty and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Grant Program within the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA); and (3) requires, in specified fiscal years, certain transfers and appropriations from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) and mandated appropriations. The bill takes effect July 1, 2022.
Maryland Transit Update
HB0778 /CH0054 (SB0514 / CH0052) - Transportation - Investment Program - MARC Rail Service (Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act) This bill requires the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to establish individual investment programs to advance the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Cornerstone Plan and other MARC improvements, as specified. The bill also requires MTA to (1) advance specified rail priority projects as part of the investment programs, as specified and (2) conduct a MARC Cornerstone Plan Implementation Study. In addition, the bill establishes a Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) Workgroup to examine specified funding issues. The workgroup must be staffed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) and submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 16, 2022. The bill takes effect July 1, 2022. SB 61 / HB 10 - Maryland Transit Administration - Conversion to Zero-Emission Buses (Zero- Emission Bus Transition Act Revisions)
other labor-management training programs) for its workforce related to the new zero-emission buses that it is required to purchase under the Zero Emission Transition Act (Chapter 693 of 2021) and (2) include additional information in the annual transition report required by Chapter 693. The bill takes effect July 1, 2022. SB0528 / CH0038- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 This bill makes broad changes to the State’s approach to reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and addressing climate change. Among other things, the bill (1) increases the statewide GHG emissions reduction requirement and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045; (2) establishes new and alters existing energy conservation requirements for buildings; (3) increases and extends specified energy efficiency and conservation program requirements; (4) establishes requirements for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the State fleet; and (5) establishes new entities and new special funds to support related activities. The bill takes effect June 1, 2022; specified provisions terminate June 30, 2024, December 31, 2029, and June 30, 2030.
Tools for Getting Started with GTFS
Many transit agencies have taken advantage of the opportunities to share their fixed route and schedule information through General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). For those still gearing up to do so, this article rounds up resources and tips to help.
What Is GTFS and Why Go the GTFS Route?
tutorial videos, frequently asked questions, links to vendors that can help maintain GTFS data, and more. National RTAP’s Tools that Connect: Online Trip Planners and GTFS Builder Technical Brief outlines the seven steps for using GTFS Builder , beginning with downloading the app from the National RTAP website through launching the data in Google Transit. National RTAP also webinars that provide introductory information and instruction on GTFS Builder, including: • Tools for Marketing & Trip Planning: Website Builder & GTFS Builder – recorded on April 20, 2022 • Introduction to GTFS and GTFS Builder – Session 1 was recorded on May 13, 2021, Session 2 was recorded on May 20, 2021, and Session 3 was recorded on June 3, 2021 • Making Mobile Trip Planning Work for You and Your Clients – recorded on June 10, 2021 • Demystifying Trip Planner Licensing Agreements – recorded on October 27, 2020, this webinar, presented by an attorney, a GTFS subject matter expert and a transit manager, addressed legal questions and explained the trip plan data licensing agreement process.
GTFS is a way of formatting public transit service data so that it can be accessed through Google Transit and other open-source or proprietary trip planning app. GTFS data enables someone using a trip planner to plan their transit ride including stop locations, route(s), transfers of needed, and the time it takes to complete the ride. As described in National RTAP’s Tools that Connect: Online Trip Planners and GTFS Builder Technical Brief , publishing a transit agency’s GTFS data makes it easier for riders to plan their transit rides and reduces the need for printed schedules. GTFS data can also interface with route planning software and other applications. Where to Begin? A great place to start is with the resources offered by National RTAP , including the GTFS Builder technology tool, a free Microsoft Excel-based web application to assist rural and tribal transit agencies to prepare their bus stop and information in GTFS. The GTFS Builder Support page of the National RTAP website provides numerous “how to” resources, including the GTFS Builder Guidebook , numerous
Maryland Transit Update
I n May 2022, National RTAP will be hosting GTFS: Three Steps to Online Trip Planning, a series of three one-hour workshops that will help participants complete GTFS data for one fixed-route bus route, and teach them to create GTFS data for other routes. After publishing GTFS data, National RTAP’s GTFS Builder Press Release Templat e is customizable for use in promoting a transit agency’s newly available data in Google Maps and other apps Another helpful source of introductory information is the National Center for Applied Transit Technology (N-CATT) . Resources available from N-CATT include: • GTFS-Flex: What is it and How is it Used? – GTFS-flex is something transit agencies that operate demand response, route deviation, and other non-fixed-route services can use. • GTFS-Flex webinar – recorded June 18, 2020 • Promising Practices Guide: Transit Technology Adoption
National RTAP Hosts Three Steps to Online Trip Planning Training Series on GTFS National RTAP is offering free targeted, hands-on training to help rural transit agencies publish service information online. This training walks participants through National RTAP’s free GTFS Builder application, a simple tool used in the development of GTFS data. Used in online trip planners. The training will consist of three 1-hour sessions held on May 19, May 26, and June 9 at 1:00 PM ET. The third session is optional, with the instructor available for questions and extra help. If time permits, more advanced training will also be covered including how to display the path of a bus route on a map. Learn more and register through www.nationalrtap.org/Training/Webinars .
Thanks to Nancy Doherty of National RTAP and Jaime McKay and Roman Steichen of TransIT Services of Frederick County for sharing tips on preparing and using GTFS data
Agreement? See National RTAP’s Demystifying Trip Planner Licensing Agreements Webinar. 4. Once you publish your bus schedules in GTFS , don’t forgot to update the data whenever routes, stops and/or schedules change, to ensure riders are planning their transit trips using current information. The National RTAP’s GTFS Builder Support page provides a link to the Keeping GTFS Up to Date tutorial as well as links to vendors that can assist with this. 5. For riders with Low-English proficiency, GTFS through Google Transit or through third- party applications is able to automatically translate the information provided in English to over one hundred other languages, allowing these individuals access to crucial transit information and access to jobs, healthcare, and more. Because GTFS can function in a way that makes transit information so much more accessible, it can also enhance Title VI requirements.
1. Understanding that GTFS is not a scary undertaking is a critical first step. National RTAP has an easy-to-use solution to ensure that every agency’s information can be shared and accessible to the public. Taking your schedules from Excel to interactive isn’t as hard as it sounds, and there are numerous resources in other agencies who can help answer your questions. 2. Establish bus stop coordinates. Just have a few stops? Google Maps provides an easy way to do this. Open Google Maps, change the layer to ‘satellite’, zoom in to your stop and right click on it. A small window will pop-up and the coordinates will on the first row. Left click on the coordinates to copy them onto a document of your choosing! For agencies with many stops, another approach may be preferable; check out National RTAP’s webinar on Identifying Bus Stop Coordinates.
3. Nervous about the Google Transit Licensing
TAM Roadeo Report
T AM’s 2022 Roadeo was held on April 2, 2022 at the Dorsey MARC Station in Elkridge, MD. Twenty drivers from agencies across Maryland, assisted by over 60 volunteer judges, competed in a combination of driver skills and knowledge challenges. Following the competition, TAM hosted a banquet lunch for volunteers and drivers at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Linthicum. Special entertainment was provided by comedian Aldrich Hines. Matt Paugh of Garrett Transit (2017 and 2019 TAM Roadeo Champion and 2017 TAM Driver of the Year) was awarded the top honor, winning a full scholarship to attend the CTAA National Roadeo in Louisville, KY on May 13-14. Dave
Hall of Harford Transit LINK (four time TAM Roadeo champion) took second place, and Bruce Alexander of Cecil Transit joined the winner’s podium for the first time as our third place finisher. Gary Watson of Baltimore CountyRide (multiple time TAM Roadeo Champion) took fourth place. All four finalists have the opportunity to compete with a TAM scholarship at the CTAA Roadeo. The Roadeo was made possible by sponsors American Bus, KFH Group, Q’Straint, RATP Dev, Rohrer Bus, Colonial / XL Fleet, and CAPP Uniform Services. Additional equipment support was provided by MDOT MTA, Prince George’s County DPW&T, Harford Transit LINK, and Baltimore County CountyRide.
Winners of the 2022 TAM Roadeo with TAM officials (from L to R): Roadeo Committee Chair Suzanne Kalmbacher, Dave Hall, Matt Paugh, Gary Watson and TAM Executive Director John Duklewski. Pictured on next page: Bruce Alexander.
Maryland Transit Update
Scenes from the 2022 TAM Roadeo
3rd Place Winner: Bruce Alexander (right)
Photos taken by Bittner Photography
Ride On - A Look Back at 47 Years of Innovation F or the past 47 years, Ride On has been at the forefront of transit growth and opportunity Gaithersburg. Within weeks of its introduction, the bus service was transporting twice the number of riders originally projected – nearly 2,000 passengers each day. By Will Kenlaw, Montgomery County Division of Transit Services
Grove was up and running in 1984, Ride On added more than 20 routes. The buses transported passengers to their jobs in Rockville, Germantown and Gaithersburg. By 1986, additional service started to Damascus and Urbana from Shady Grove and ridership was at 10 million a year. Ride On celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2000. In 2006, Ride On began accepting SmarTrip® cards and debuted its first hybrid-electric buses . In recent years, Ride On has expanded to operate three additional services: Ride On extra limited stop service, Ride On Flex on-demand bus service, and Flash Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
in Montgomery County. The bus service has continued to learn and adapt to the growing needs of the community, economy and environment. To fully grasp where Ride On is headed, it’s worth looking at where it has been. The Ride On system , the first county-run bus service in the Washington, D.C. area, debuted in 1975 with 20 buses and was designed to provide service in Takoma Park and Silver Spring where large buses could not travel. The service also included a dial-a-ride operation in
Three years after Ride On started service, Montgomery County expanded the popular bus service to 22 routes with 79 buses. The bus service extended to include Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Langley Park, White Flint and Wheaton. The Silver Spring Metro station was the focal point. Once Metro’s Red Line extension to Shady
Maryland Transit Update
October 2021. The study aims to take a critical look at the County’s current and future bus network and transit systems, including Metrobus and the planned Purple Line, to pinpoint where improvements can be made. The study is based on experience and feedback from the community. Another program is the Bus Priority Program which was created by a group of MCDOT and Montgomery County staff members last year. The program focuses on advancements for bus operations including dedicated bus lanes, bus signal prioritization and enhanced bus stops. The first project created dedicated bus lanes around the Germantown Transit Center. The Great Seneca Transit Network is also being designed and constructed currently. The plan is for hubs at Shady Grove Metrorail Station, the Universities at Shady Grove and Adventist Shady Grove Hospital. The service which will be branded as Ride On
Ride On’s first four all electric buses began service in 2020 in Silver Spring/Takoma Park. Ten more electric buses will be added this year and a commitment has been made to transition the fleet to all electric buses by 2035. The electric buses can run a full day on a single charge, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and offer sustainable mobility solutions since they significantly reduce GHG emissions, air pollution and noise pollution. In addition, County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposed Capital Improvements Budget includes $655 million in mass transit improvements to decrease the climate impact of transportation in the County, including $154 million to start to convert Ride On to a zero-emission fleet. As Ride On looks for ways to continue to upgrade and improve service moving forward, the bus service is working on a few new initiatives. First, Ride On launched a comprehensive study – the Ride On Reimagined Study – in
extRa is slated to start in 2024 and will provide transportation to jobs, education and healthcare. It will include 11 stations, dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority at seven intersections and new bike and pedestrian connections. Today, Ride On has a fleet of 382 ADA-accessible buses and 75% use alternative fuels. The bus system is one of the busiest, and the second largest in the region, which operates 7 days a week on over 80 routes and 5,405 bus stops . A recent report released by a regional coalition of business and smart growth organizations commends Montgomery County for its Flash bus service and free fares for Ride On service.
TransIT Services of Frederick County Unveils Expanded Facility, Celebrates Bike to Work Day
By Kendall Klosky Tiffany, TransIT Services of Frederick County
T he spring season welcomed the return of in- person events in Frederick County including onsite employer Earth Day fairs, festivals, and an in-person Bike to Work Day. Participants of Bike to Work Day rode in a ceremonial ride through Downtown Frederick and completed their ride
with a celebration at the Frederick Transit Center including music from Key 103, refreshments from the Common Market, Dublin Roasters, and Krispy Kreme, and prizes from local organizations as Tour de Frederick. TransIT staff is looking forward to the return of more community events this summer and fall.
Maryland Transit Update
A fter over two years of a hybrid work environment, including both remote and onsite work, TransIT Services of Frederick County unveiled their new facility to the TransIT staff this spring. The project included the expansion of an administrative and operations facility, reconfiguration of the parking lots and bus yard, and the removal of an inoperable fuel island. To ensure operations continued uninterrupted, TransIT staff occupied portable office trailers in the bus yard and administrative staff worked remotely. The new building allows for growth and expansion of the agency into the future, provides a spacious drivers’ lounge equipped with a kitchen, and expands office and conference room space.
Side view of the new facility
Front view of the new facility
Restoring the Frontline Workforce
By Sarah Lasky, KFH Group
T he COVID-19 pandemic has majorly impacted public transportation’s workforce. Many public transportation agencies are continuing to have difficulty recruiting and retaining employees, leading to service cuts and delays. Within Maryland, one of the biggest challenges to ramping up services to pre-COVID levels has been the shortage of frontline workers. Now more than ever, it is important to find effective ways to recruit and retain workers. Recruiting employees has proven to be more difficult currently due to both health concerns and low pay rates. Highlighting the safety practices in facilities and on board for both drivers and riders, such as cleaning process and air filtration systems, can address health concerns. When determining the pay rates for new employees, it is important to consider the local cost of living and typical wage rates and benefits offered by employers in the area. Transit agencies could offer an added financial incentive by paying a hiring bonus to new drivers who work a certain amount of time on the job.
Promoting job openings can increase the number of applicants, especially if posted on the organization’s website and social media accounts. A helpful practice is to post a realistic job preview video with a diverse workforce and rider testimonials. Job openings can be promoted through popular job search websites, transit vehicles, county employment offices, local newspapers, churches, and school employment services, including technical schools and community colleges. Hosting a career day can also help to attract new hires. Creating an employee referral program or enhancing a current employee referral program will entice employees to recruit other employees. Finally, reevaluating the qualification requirements may allow for more applicants to apply to job listings. Once employees have been recruited, hired and trained, public transportation agencies need to retain their workforce. The creation of an employee recognition and incentive program can help to retain employees, especially when enlisting employees to help design or enhance current programs.
Welcome New LOTS Leaders Keith Adkins Transit Director Delmarva Community Transit
Rob Shearman, Jr. Transit Manager Ocean City Transportation
Maryland Transit Update
• Provide employees with periodic on-board performance appraisals • Create a mentoring program for new hires • Provide ongoing training opportunities and continued education options, including cross- training, mentoring, and coaching • Provide a bonus for seasonal employees that stay through a full season • Provide employees with avenues for feedback • Increase wages after earning a CDL In conclusion, best practices to recruit and retain employees include utilizing multiple promotional venues, competitive salaries and benefits, creative performance incentives, educational tools and opportunities, and showing appreciation for employees.
In response to a February 2022 survey conducted of members of the American Public Transportation Association, 92% of public transit agencies report having difficulty hiring, with bus operations positions being the hardest to fill. Retaining employees is difficult for 66% of agencies. Due worker shortage issues, 71% of transit agencies report either having to cut service or delaying service increases. In response to worker shortage issues, 52% of transit agencies increased starting pay, and many have implemented sign‐ on, referral, and/or retention bonuses. Source: Workforce Shortages Impacting Public Transportation Recovery Policy Brief, American Public Transportation Association (APTA), March 2022
• Coping with Driver Shortages training conduct as part of TAM’s February 2022 Winter Series • Driver Recruitment, Training and Retention section of the National RTAP Transit Manager’s Toolkit • CTAA’s Recruiting, Building and Retaining a Sustainable Driver Workforce
Veterans Helping Veterans...More Than A Ride By Sharon Smith, Partners In Care, Maryland, Inc.
P artners In Care Maryland, Inc. (PIC) is a private non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization offering programs and services that support the independence of older adults age 60 and older. Operating since 1993, PIC is dedicated to assisting older adults in remaining in their own homes and staying engaged in their communities. In order to accomplish this, PIC offers transportation, handyman and member care services, personal emergency response system and much more. The program operates on a unique time-banking system. For every hour a volunteer provides, they receive the same amount of hours in the time bank. At any point, that volunteer can use those hours towards transportation or other services at no cost. PIC currently offers services in five Maryland counties – Anne Arundel, Caroline, Frederick, Talbot and Washington. By far, the most requested PIC service is transportation. PIC offers two forms of transportation -- the Ride Partners program where volunteers use their personal vehicles to provide transportation and Mobility transportation, fee-based, on-demand bus service (lift-equipped). In 2020, PIC received a grant from Tower Cares Foundation (Tower Federal Credit Union) to help support veterans in the community.
With more than 400 volunteers, staff works to match a veteran with a veteran. During that ride to a doctor’s appointment, grocery store, lunch, the exchange between the two veterans is amazing. They each share a unique perspective and comradery. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 19 million veterans living in the United States. PIC helps active duty, veterans, and their spouses 60+ years and older remain independent in their homes and engaged in the community by providing a variety of services including transportation.
Maryland Transit Update
Source of images: screen captures from PIC Veterans Helping Veterans volunteer recruitment video.
Comments from PIC Veterans:
“My husband and I have travelled the world thanks to “Uncle Sam.” After more than 20 years of military service, we settled in Maryland and raised a family. We don’t drive anymore so PIC is a godsend. We use the transportation as well as handyman services. My husband says I talk enough for the both of us – always has. He doesn’t talk as much as he used to due to health issues but whenever we get a PIC ride and a veteran is our driver, he more than holds up his end of the conversation. It’s a special relationship that we both treasure.”
“I am 94 years young and I’m a veteran. I rely on rides from PIC for doctor’s appointments, grocery store runs and other errands. While I need and appreciate the rides, I also enjoy the conversation with another veteran. The volunteer drivers are patient, offering me an arm when I need it or help with my groceries. It’s not always easy to ask for assistance but I never feel embarrassed or timid because I know my PIC driver will always treat me with dignity and respect and that’s something you can’t buy.”
“I am a volunteer driver for PIC and I am also a veteran. I enjoy driving members, both veterans and non-veterans. As a PIC volunteer driver, I see firsthand how critical it is for older adults to have access to transportation. Medical appointments are important but so are recreational and social engagements.”
Federal Updates FTA Publishes FY 2022 Apportionments Notice
Federal Mask Requirement Lifted for Public Transportation As a result of a court order, as of April 18, 2022, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. Therefore, CDC will not enforce the Order and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce its mask-related Security Directives. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. FMCSA Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Driver Training Took Effect February 7, 2022 Issued in 2016 , the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulation, under 49 CFR Part 380, Subpart F , sets federal standards for mandatory training of entry-level drivers obtaining a Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for the first time, upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL, or obtaining the hazardous materials, passenger or school bus driving endorsements for the first time. These regulations took effect on February 7, 2022. Certain training is required for CDL applicants, and the training must be from by a provider registered in the FCMSA’s Training Provider registry . Providers must certify that their training curricula meets the EDLT standards for the CDL class and endorsement, and their trainers meet the minimum qualifications. National RTAP’s Entry-Level Driver Training Requirements technical brief explains what rural and tribal transit agency staff and trainers need to know to comply. Opportunities National RTAP Seeks Review Board Nominations Interesting in helping to shape future National RTAP resources? National RTAP seeks nominations for new Review Board members to join the Board in 2022 and 2023. Any group or individual involved in rural or
On April 28, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Apportionments Notice in the Federal Register. This action follows the posting of the apportionment tables for core formula programs published on FTA’s website earlier in April and provides additional information about implementation. The notice announces changes in FTA programs due to amendments to federal public transportation programs made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as information on how FTA plans to administer those programs in FY 2022. It also includes guidance on the administration of Community Project Funding / Congressionally-Directed Spending provided by the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. HHS Proposes Revised Drug Testing Procedures for the Federal Drug Testing Programs On April 7, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published two important notices in the Federal Register proposing drug testing program revisions: • Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using oral fluid • Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using urine Because the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow the HHS scientific guidelines for DOT-regulated drug testing laboratory procedures, participants in the DOT transportation industry drug testing program should be aware of the important issues that HHS is considering. Any final rule issued by HHS regarding these proposals may affect the DOT testing program under 49 CFR Part 40, but only after DOT conducts its own rulemaking. DOT provided notice on the proposed changes so that employers, employees, and testing service providers involved in the DOT drug testing program are aware of the HHS proposals. DOT recommends that DOT program participants review the HHS proposals and provide comments directly to the HHS Docket by June 6, 2022.
Maryland Transit Update
tribal transit is able to nominate someone to the board, individuals may nominate themselves for consideration. Nominations are accepted through June 30, 2022. Apply by May 31 for FTA’s Grant Programs to Help Modernize Bus Fleets and Facilities On March 7, 2022, FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez announced the availability of approximately $1.47 billion in competitive grant funds in FY 2022 to help modernize bus fleets and facilities across the country . The combined announcement is the first FTA competitive grant opportunity under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Applications are due May 31. FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program makes funding available to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies, including related equipment or facilities, for transit revenue operations. Eligible applicants are designated recipients of FTA grants, including states, local governmental authorities and Indian Tribes. FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program makes funding available to help transit agencies purchase and rehabilitate buses, vans, and related equipment, and build bus facilities. Eligible applicants are designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed-route bus operators, states, or local governmental authorities that operate fixed-route bus service, and Indian tribes. Links to FTA’s webinar slide presentation and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on these programs can be found through the FTA web page on these programs . NADTC Offers Opportunity to Build or Strengthen Local Coordination Coalition Group Letters of Interest Due May 27 The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) announced a new Coordination Coalition opportunity for transportation agencies and human services organizations who receive FTA 5310 Funding. NADTC will work directly with two communities in the facilitation and development of a local Coordination Coalition. This initiative aims to begin or reinvigorate coalition teams to strengthen partnerships and address transportation
barriers within their community or service area. New or existing coalitions can apply for this opportunity by submitting a Letter of Interest no later than May 27, 2022. The selected coalition teams will participate in a 2-day workshop, facilitated by NADTC staff, to build a coalition group and develop an Action Plan with appropriate goals and objectives to achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes. Groups will have from July 1, 2022 until March 31, 2023 to complete their plan, including ongoing monthly check-ins with NADTC staff and intensive technical assistance as needed. TRB Invites Proposals for Innovative Projects through August 1, 2022 The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is accepting proposals for the 2022 Transit Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) program, which supports the development and testing of unproven, innovative concepts and methods for advancing public transit practice. The proposal deadline has been extended to August 1, 2022. The Transit IDEA program seeks innovations that improve the efficiency, safety, security, maintenance, and ridership of public transit systems, with particular interest in proposals that address any one of the following priority areas: context management; 2. Satisfying current and anticipated customer needs; 3. Improving transit safety, security, and viability; 4. Delivering equitable, accessible, and environmentally responsible services; and 5. Improving transit patron and employee environment for health and safety. 1. Improving transit relevance in the of mobility Proposals can be for up to $100,000 in IDEA funds. Details on preparing and submitting IDEA proposals are found in the 2022 IDEA Program Announcement , Tips for developing proposals and examples of past projects can be found on the Transit IDEA web page . A current IDEA project is developing an open platform to attract, organize, and coordinate volunteers for rural and small urban transit .
Transitioning toward Zero-Emission Buses: The Challenges and Benefits By Luke Huddon, KFH Group
T his past March, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced an approximately $1.1 billion plan that will help modernize bus fleets and facilities across the United States. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program - 5339(c) seeks to combat climate through the acquisition of zero-emission and low- emission transit buses , along with their supporting facilities. In order to be eligible for this program, a transit agency must submit a Zero-Emission Fleet Transition Plan, which requires a long-term fleet management strategy, a description of current and future resources, and various other components involving training needs, legislation, maintenance, etc. FTA recognizes that transitioning to zero-emission vehicles is an arduous, multi-faceted process that
requires years of work. In other words, this will take time and money . That said, the program will provide funding to state and local governmental authorities through formula allocations and competitive grants. So why not transition? The transportation sector accounts for almost 30% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions , and switching to all-electric vehicles will not only help improve the air quality, but also create jobs and address social inequality in urban areas that are affected the most. The simple answer is that there are other challenges that accompany this transition, not just time and money. The following page tackles just a few of the challenges and benefits of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses. For a more comprehensive analysis of this topic, read “It’s Electric,” from the March 2021 issue of the Maryland Transit Update (pages 17-18).
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Climate & Terrain
Health & Environment
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Metro Transit in Minneapolis, MN reported that their electric buses lost 40% of their range during the winter. Battery life was being used to heat the bus, and diesel-fueled heaters were used to minimize battery range loss. Electric buses in both Duluth and Minneapolis cannot travel as far as a diesel bus can during the winter, according to transit officials in Duluth, the Twin Cities and Winnipeg. Also in Duluth, electric buses had severe problems on steep hills. Electric buses in Philadelphia experienced cracked chassis, the base frame of a motor vehicle. The capital cost of purchasing an electric bus is higher than a conventionally-fueled bus. Batteries are expensive to replace. Electric vehicle may cause extra wear on the suspension becaus of the added batteries and extra reinforcement around those batteries Battery capacity decreases 2% to 3% each year, meaning less and less range yearly.
Zero-emission bus can eliminate CO2, nitrogen oxides, and diesel particulate from the air over a 12-year lifespan. This eliminates approximately 1700 tons of carbon dioxide over its lifespan, which is equivalent to taking 27 cars off the road. fenceline communities. Neighborhoods near highways are impacted by dirty diesel exhaust, causing severe health problems and even death. Reduces emissions in Run quieter, reducing noise pollution . An estimated 5.7 jobs are supported for every $1 million invested in battery electric buses in several sectors: Manufacturing, Operating, Maintenance, Training, etc. Dependence on fossil fuel can be reduced if the electricity is generated from renewable resources, improving a transit service’s sustainability.
• Upfront Costs »
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Cities and rural areas need proper infrastructure to support charging stations in a way that is consistently reliable, and cheap. Charging stations need to be located where buses can charge between vehicle trips, which can be particularly challenging for transit agencies that serve large rural areas. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that cities should allocate an additional $20,000– 25,000 per bus in infrastructure costs, at least at this initial stage.
The cost of preventive maintenance is lower for electric vehicles as there is no oil to change and less brake wear. for buses to stay out longer. Twenty- four hours a day, if need be. The director of a transit system in Springfield, MO said his department estimated to save 18,000 gallons of diesel between their two electric buses. FTA offers funding opportunities under the Section 5339(c) program. Inductive charging allows
All-electric transit buses are still in their infancy. While the market expands and demand grows each year, there are still many factors to consider when looking into this program. How many vehicles are needed? Where will the charging station be located? How will an agency respond to a harsh winter, or other challenges related to terrain? It is safe to say that the transition to zero-emission and low-emission transit vehicles is a complicated affair, though it is encouraging to see which agencies across the country are eager to hop on board.
Tips from a Maryland Transit system TransIT Services of Frederick County purchased five refurbished electric buses from one vendor and four new fully electric buses from another, and management shared the following tips:
it takes two electric buses to replace the daily duty cycle of one diesel bus due to the range limitations. • In addition to training drivers and maintenance technicians, you will need to train local first responders on “turning off” the bus in case of fire, and for any differences in towing. • Budget for charging infrastructure, and try to “future-proof” with a backup generator, solar generation with on-site battery storage, etc.
• Understand mileage requirements. Can an electric bus perform at least one full driver’s shift without recharging? Keep in mind that actual range will be about 70% of what the manufacturer quotes, based on Frederick’s experience. • Know that it will be very difficult to remain in compliance with FTA’s 20% allowable spare ratio if you plan on converting a large portion of your fleet to electric. In Frederick County’s experience, your system and
Maryland Transit Update
Transit Bookshelf & Toolbox New, Recently Updated, & Interesting Free Resources
Recorded webinars (https://n-catt.org/category/webinars/) • Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program: Integrated Complete Trip Deployment Plan • Planning for Fleet Transitions to Low/No-Emission Vehicles • University-Transit Agency Partnerships To Explore Emerging Technology Guidebooks (https://n-catt.org/category/guidebooks/) • A Framework for Making Successful Technology Decisions • A Guide to Green Energy Adoption for Transit Agencies • Data Practices • New Software Adoption for Small Transit Agencies • Promising Practices: Transit Technology Adoption • Virtual Engagement Guidebook Transportation Research Board (TRB) Recent releases from the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), downloadable through https://www.nap.edu/author/TCRP/ transportation-research-board/transit-cooperative-research-program • Draft Research Report 234: Measuring and Managing Fare Evasion • Research Report 231: Recent Decline in Public Transportation Ridership: Analysis, Causes, and Responses • Synthesis 152: Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access • Synthesis 156: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation • Synthesis 157: Transit Safety Risk Assessment Methodologies • Synthesis 159: Assessing Equity and Identifying Impacts Associated with Bus Network Redesigns • Synthesis 160: Fare Capping: Balancing Revenue and Equity Impacts • Synthesis 161: ADA Paratransit and Other Demand-Responsive Transportation Services in Small to Midsized Transit Agencies • Synthesis 162: Coordination of Public Transit Services and Investments with Affordable Housing Policies Other Organizations • APTA/CTAA COVID-19 Recovery Vendor List for Public Transportation (frequently updated) • NADTC 2021 FTA Section 5310 Compendium • NADTC Providing Transportation to Older Adults with Vision Loss: Challenges and Opportunities webinar materials and recording • NADTC Transportation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative Lunch and Learn materials and recording • NCMM Mobility Management for All: An Introduction for Non- Transportation Professionals online course • Southeast ADA Center Service Animals and Transit Systems instructional video • SURCOM Updated Rural Transit eTool • SURCOM Updated Small Urban and Rural State of Good Repair app • SURCOM 2022 Rural Transit Fact Book • SURCOM Travel Behavior of Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Trends and Geographic Disparities • TAM Winter Series Recordings and Slides • US Access Board Section 508 Best Practices Webinar on Section 508 Questions and Answers • US DOJ Web Accessibility Guidance Under the ADA
Bus Testing website
• Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Resource Tool for Public Transportation (updated regularly) • Cybersecurity Resources for Transit Agencies • Drug & Alcohol Program FAQs related to Shared Mobility and Section 5310 • Drug & Alcohol Program Newsletters • Mental Health Resources for Transit Workers • PTASP TAC Updates • Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator • Transit Safety and Oversight Spotlight Newsletters • Transportation Coordination Guidance Clarification • Transportation Coordination web page • Updated Pandemic Relief FAQs • Webinar on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law changes to Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) requirements presentation slides and recording National RTAP New and recently updated resources offered by the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) (www.nationalrtap.org) include: Webinar recordings and slides: • Building Better Bus Stops: Planning and Partnerships: Webinar | Presentation | Q&A • Dispatching & Scheduling Training Introduction: Webinar | Presentation • Learn about TACL: The Transportation Technical Assistance Coordination Library: Webinar | Presentation • Marketing Workshop #1 - Build Awareness: Webinar | Presentation • Marketing Workshop #2 - Transit Websites: Webinar | Presentation • Marketing Workshop #3 - Passenger Information: Webinar | Presentation • Marketing Workshop #4: Community Based Marketing: Webinar | Presentation • Relax: Living in Nature’s Cycle, Moment by Moment: Webinar • Risky Business: Transit Insurance and Risk Management: Webinar | Q&As | Presentation • Tools for Marketing & Trip Planning: Website Builder & GTFS Builder: Webinar | Presentation Technical Briefs: • Entry-Level Driver Training Requirements • Mobile Driver Training Simulators • Rural Transit and School Bus Coordination • Tribal Transportation: Issues and Successful Models National Center for Applied Transit Technology (N-CATT) Videos (https://n-catt.org/category/videos/) • Emerging Transit Tech: Advanced Real-Time Information • Emerging Transit Tech: Digital Maintenance Tracking • Emerging Transit Tech: Integrating Bikeshare and Transit
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