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Universal Access Partnerships, Ridership Increases & Anniversaries Highlight 2012

(Albany, NY) - The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) completed 2012 with significant ridership and revenue gains, greater recognition of public transportation benefits sparked by a series of innovative partnerships and programs. Overall, ridership is on track to carry more than 15 million riders during the calendar year and the following is a look back at the top CDTA stories of the year:

10. HONORED – CDTA was recognized by The Chamber of Schenectady as the 2012 Corporation of the Year for launching numerous service improvements and innovative partnerships within the County. CDTA was among seven individuals, businesses and organizations chosen for having a positive effect on the economic development and improving the quality of life of its residents.  

9. TDP CHECKED OFF - CDTA implemented the remaining pieces of its 5-year Transit Development Plan (TDP) to better connect the Capital Region with the launch of the Albany Route Restructuring Phase Two in November. The plan principles provide consistency and guidance for service decisions, system development and community outreach. The plan directly led to the Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady County route restructuring ridership increases and the introduction of BusPlus on Route 5.  

8. RRS: THE FIRST 10 YEARS - CDTA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Rensselaer Rail Station in September at a press event featuring several government officials, transportation and community partners. The Rensselaer Rail Station has become a gateway to the area while ranking as the 9th busiest in the country with an anticipated record breaking ridership expected to be announced. CDTA also operates the Saratoga Springs Train Station while leading the upgrade to the Schenectady Train Station.  

7. SPOTLIGHT ON TRANSIT ADVOCACY - Transit advocacy efforts were highly visible led by the development of a national public documentary created and distributed through American Milestones. The piece entitled “Transportation – Wheels of Commerce: Keeping America Moving”, showcases how public transportation remains a critical function of American culture. The documentary focuses on the growth of CDTA’s system through its innovative business model and features local business representatives discussing the benefits of their partnership with CDTA. 

6. ADDED FLEXIBILITY - CDTA closed the year with a shift to the exclusive use of rolling monthly Swiper passes that will be completed on January 1, 2013. CDTA’s Rolling Swipers offer customers more flexibility and convenience while simplifying ordering and delivery. CDTA’s individual customers, corporate customers, and sales outlets will benefit by the elimination of returns and not having their pass tied to a specific month. Discounted monthly passes constitute about 30% of CDTA pass sales. 

5. NX, YOUR NEW COMMUTE – The Northway Xpress Commuter service that runs from Saratoga County into downtown Albany along the Northway (I-87) was redesigned in October. The improvements included a reduction in the number of fare zones, discounted pricing, an additional mid-day trip and the introduction of the NX Swiper pass good for usage on the entire CDTA route network. Ridership has increased more than 15% since the re-launch. 

4. AUNIVERSAL’ BUSINESS MODEL – Universal access successfully transitioned into the Capital Region business community when CDTA and ShopRite launched a transportation program for ShopRite employees in August 2012. The partnership offers access to the entire CDTA route network for employees at all Capital Region locations and has translated into more than 25,000 rides since its October implementation.  

3.NEW TECHNOLOGY = CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE – CDTA rolled out more innovative technology to make riding easier and more convenient. The BusPlus application allows customers to track real time arrival times and connects to for a host of options at customer fingertips. CDTA’s iRide app, available to the public on Android and Apple systems, allows customers to get service information and plan a trip from anywhere in the Capital Region.  

2. BUSPLUS A MAJOR PLUS – CDTA’s signature service carried more than 1.5 million customers during 2012 and received a series of local, national and federal awards: BusPlus was named as the 2011 Project of the Year – Transportation – Transit category by the American Public Works Association in March. BusPlus won a 2012 ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) New York Engineering Excellence Gold Award. The NYSSPE selected the project for the 2012 NYSSPE Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award. Finally, the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Society of New York) selected the projects as the outstanding ITS project of the year. 

1. COLLEGIATE SUPPORT – CDTA welcomed the additions of Siena College, Hudson Valley Community College, Albany College of Pharmacy, and Branford Hall Career Institute into the universal access program. Students just swipe their school ID card through fare boxes on buses and have unlimited access to convenient and reliable transportation services. CDTA now holds transportation contracts with 10 Capital Region educational institutions offering rides to thousands of students and seeing ridership well over 2 million annually, an increase of more than 50% over 2011.