Management & Operations

E-commerce primed for expansion

Posted on April 1, 2002

As the transit industry continues to see expanding interest and participation in Web-based commerce, two prominent e-marketplace initiatives — by iRail LLC and the American Public Transportation Association’s TransportMAX — are targeting this growing enthusiasm. “Awareness has increased tremendously in the past year,” says Michael Monteferrante, senior vice president of iRail, which operates two Websites — and “Transit agencies and suppliers are more receptive than before. We’ve got a growing list of success stories from agencies such as New Jersey Transit, SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), the Los Angeles County MTA and also from many vendors.” iRail LLC, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., has been in business for two years, weathering the spectacular rise and fall of legions of Internet companies. “Our industry knowledge and the breadth of our solutions and services have helped us thrive,” says Monteferrante. “We have full confidence that what we offer is a complete solution for customers.” According to Monteferrante, developing a critical mass of interest among buyers and sellers hinges on the ability of technology companies to provide industry expertise as well as software capabilities to the industry. “Some companies have focused too much on the software and not enough on industry expertise or vice versa,” he says. iRail LLC recently forged a partnership agreement with the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) that will give members of the Toronto-based association direct access to iRail’s services through CUTA’s Website, The partnership will provide CUTA members with iRail products and services, such as electronic procurement, automatic bid matching, public auctions, RFQs and Web design services. “This will help CUTA members extend their reach and harness the efficiencies of e-commerce,” Monteferrante said. Meanwhile, APTA has spent more than a year developing and testing its e-commerce Website, It was scheduled to launch on April 1. APTA officials say pilot testing of transportMAX was successful and that several transit agencies and dozens of vendors already have registered.

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