This week, the release of the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s report, "Aging in Place, Stuck without Options," which ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation — now and in the years to come — and presents other data on aging and transportation, shows the pressing need for not only more accessible public transit but paratransit as well.
The report is, of course, very important, but no shock to us here at METRO. We see the ripple effects of paratransit’s struggles almost daily in stories we write and post online. If you subscribe to our Accessibility e-newsletter or saw the stories we shared on Wednesday, you read about demand for disability bus passes increasing in Denver; in Florida, the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District is grappling with the decision to possibly close up to half of its bus stops because it can’t afford to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and in Northwestern Indiana, the Regional Bus Authority is striving to meet customer needs, which means buying larger vehicles and doing more to address client concerns.
Meanwhile, we are working on our annual paratransit survey. Look for that in our August issue. If you are a paratransit operator — public or private — you likely received an email from METRO Magazine, asking you to take a brief online survey. I hope that you will take just a few quick minutes to fill it out, and if you have more information to share about your experiences in this exceptionally critical aspect of transportation and public service, please feel free to email me. We want to get the most accurate picture of all that you do, and that means hearing from you.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Either 'Dump the Pump' or make your voice heard" here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.