Lane Transit District (LTD) serves the greater Eugene-Springfield, Ore., area in the southern Willamette Valley. Covering a service area of nearly 500 square miles and providing service to a population of more than 300,000, LTD has grown from providing 700,000 annual boardings in 1970 to more than 11 million boardings today.
With ridership productivity placing it in the top 5% nationally, LTD buses are actively serving a community that understands the value of public transportation. It is because of the latter that the agency is being recognized by APTA as its system of the year in the 4 million to 20 million customer boardings category.
While APTA looks at the past three years when evaluating nominees, LTD has worked diligently over the past 44 years to create programs and services that are award-winning. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), captured this when he noted, “Since the 1970s, Lane Transit District has provided the residents of Lane County with safe, reliable and convenient transportation. The services provided have changed over the years, most recently with the introduction of the EmX (bus rapid transit) in 2007, but LTD’s commitment to the community has not. I am pleased to see LTD receive national recognition with the 2014 APTA Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.”
LTD has developed lasting community and employee partnerships, which has created an atmosphere for innovation and efficiency. Investments in accessibility led to full vehicle accessibility years before the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, and continued partnerships with disability advocates created forums in which people with disabilities shape the development of transit stations, vehicles and programs. Employee committees shape internal safety and health programs that have resulted in a savings of more than $800,000 since 2008.
With a deep commitment to customer service, LTD continues to engage each employee in delivering on the vision to provide each customer the independence to achieve their goals. This means on-time performance that consistently reaches 92% or higher, great customer service as evidenced in fewer than seven complaints per 100,000 boardings, an accident rate of fewer than 50 preventable accidents per year over the past five years, and customer approval ratings of our bus operators and customer service staff of more than 90%.
During the past couple of years, LTD has focused on a number of technological solutions that provide greater customer convenience and choice. The introduction of real-time passenger information, as part of LTD’s EmX service, has been expanded to include real-time signs at the University of Oregon (UO) transit station. Working in partnership with the UO’s campus planning staff, the newly installed kiosks provide LTD and campus information.
Taking the real-time information a step further, LTD is in the process of completely restructuring its website to promote greater functionality, improve trip planning and added real-time bus information, adding a new Web store, and creating a new point-of-sale system. The site will also feature an enhanced section of easy-to-use forms where customers may provide compliments or complaints, notify the agency of facilities issues, register as a vendor and much more.
LTD is a long-time proponent of sustainable practices. Hybrid-electric buses currently comprise nearly 50% of the agency’s fleet, and a 2015 purchase will push that to 65%. As a supporter and participant of APTA’s Sustainability Commitment, LTD was excited to be recognized with the Silver Level Certification in March 2014. To further its commitment to sustainability, LTD has completed the FTA’s Energy and Sustainability Management Systems Training program, and it is anticipated that LTD will become ISO 14001-certified in 2015.
When asked to comment on the APTA System of the Year Award, LTD GM Ron Kilcoyne summed up the excitement felt by all employees when he stated: “This award recognizes the passion, professionalism and hard work of each employee. It also recognizes the vision of our board of directors and the many community stakeholders that support LTD’s mission. This honor validates what we do daily and inspires us to fulfill our mission to provide people the independence to achieve their goals, creating a more vibrant, sustainable and equitable community.”