C-TRAN was named APTA’s 2019 national mid-sized Transit System of the Year for agencies with ridership between four million and 20 million trips per year. The award encompasses C-TRAN’s achievements during the past three years in 12 core areas: safety, operations, maintenance, access, customer service, financial management, sustainability, workforce development, attendance and employee costs, minority and women advancement, marketing, and community relations.
Several important achievements were factored in the award selection including the agency’s ability to increase total ridership by 4.63% during the past two years. That increase has been driven largely by The Vine, the Vancouver-Portland region’s first and only bus rapid transit system that launched in January 2017. C-TRAN has also implemented a series of major service changes that have altered more than a dozen existing routes and added several new routes to the system, according to CEO Shawn M. Donaghy.
With the launch of The Vine BRT service, passengers now enjoy 10-minute frequencies during peak times along the region’s busiest corridor. A flurry of new residential and commercial development along the corridor since 2017 has only added to the potential for continued success and growth on The Vine. A second BRT line is currently in development.
Another initiative the agency was recognized for was its partnership with TriMet and the Portland Streetcar to launch Hop Fastpass, a state-of-the-art regional electronic fare system. The Hop system features pay-as-you-go passes among many other benefits. It also allows passengers to travel seamlessly between three transit systems in our interconnected region.
C-TRAN also received a finding of “no deficiencies” from the Federal Transit Administration’s triennial review, a rare feat achieved by only 7% of agencies reviewed from 2015 to 2017 (the same period as C-TRAN’s most recent review). “It means C-TRAN is going above and beyond the federal requirements and regulations we’re expected to follow as a public agency,” said Donaghy. “In 2018, C-TRAN also received the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 30th consecutive year.”
Lastly, a key C-TRAN achievement is being able to operate “financially healthy and debt-free.” “The majority of the agency’s operating revenue comes from local sales taxes, and C-TRAN has been fortunate to receive the support of Clark County voters in approving two ballot measures since 2005 increasing the percentage of revenue C-TRAN receives from those taxes, allowing us to remain financially healthy amid changing funding formulas over the years,” Donaghy explained. “C-TRAN has also been able to successfully leverage state and federal grants to complete larger capital projects. The Vine was built with a federal grant covering 80 percent of the construction cost; C-TRAN expects our second BRT line to also be competitive for federal funding.”