Happy 50th Anniversary CDTA!
A message from our CEO:
“I’m so proud to celebrate 50 years of CDTA. It is amazing to see the impact CDTA has had on the Capital Region and the relationships we have been able to foster in the community. “Innovation Beyond Transportation” is more than just a tagline, it is a motto that we live by at CDTA. I am beyond appreciative to those that have helped us get to this point and am excited to see what the next 50 years will bring.”
Chief Executive Officer
2020 Community Champions
Below are all of our latest 2020 community champions.
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Community Organizer for Citizen Action of New York
Amy Jones lives and breathes activism in all its forms. Serving as Community Organizer for Citizen Action! NY, she coordinates advocacy efforts around state legislation through a social justice lens. As a woman who was formerly incarcerated and has battled addiction, Amy is unwavering in her fight for freedom, equity and treating all people with dignity and respect. Amy heads up multiple committee efforts: Women of Color, criminal justice reform, and reentry to action. Amy led the organizing efforts for Albany’s first-ever BlackOut Festival, commemorating the significance of Black August.
Since 2013 Betsy has become a full-time volunteer to bring free community art projects to folks of all ages and incomes. Most of this work comes through her role as chair of the Kids Arts Festival planning committee. For 25 years, Kids Arts Festival was a free, one-day festival in downtown Schenectady to provide high-quality artist interactions with children. The festival has grown to more than 30 agencies and 15 artists, providing more than 50 activities and performances.
Lawyer, Barclay Damon
Brenda has been integrally involved in changing the landscape in minority communities in the Capital Region. As a former prosecutor for Albany County, she pushed to pass legislation mandating that Interactions with non-English speakers be translated in their native language. Brenda has also supported and hosted events to educate the public on movement lawyering and how to defend activist during protests.
Helpline Coordinator at the National Alliance on Mental Illness New York State
Christine has saved countless people's lives, provided help and hope to families and loved ones struggling with mental health and addiction issues as not only a community member but as the Helpline Coordinator at the National Alliance on Mental Illness New York State. Christine also depends on CDTA to go to and from work and has even helped many commuters during her travels on the bus by providing an empathetic listening ear and provides them with resources and support.
Pastor Dave founded the ALERT which he brings on every level law enforcement agency together with our Black and Brown communities allowing an open line of communication and a platform for community members to address their concerns and needs with law enforcement agencies. He serves on the board of Albany Land Bank assisting people in deprived communities with homeownership in their community. Pastor Dave have saved many children’s and adults during his tenure at Parson Family Center.
Feed Albany/DP Owner
Dominick Spearheaded Feed Albany during the Pandemic as President and a Founding Board Member. Dominick and his fellow founders have been working tirelessly to produce, package and distribute food and groceries with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers.
Elaine reports on stories about women, especially the recent Zoom she did with Black mothers of sons on their reactions to the George Floyd murder. She also empowers women through her “SheSpeaks2Me” symposiums and Zoom sessions.
Mr. Nova has been delivering food to families since COVID-19 hit. It doesn't matter if its day or night, if Mr. Nova sees a need he responds to it. If he is contacted and told there is donated food, he picks it up, filling his car to the top, and then delivers it around the city until all of the food is distributed to families. Mr. Nova works for the City School District, but during COVID-19 took his job to another level by checking in on the families he works with and making sure they have food and other needs.
United Way Community Impact Manager
Erica Warner has been CDTA's campaign coordinator for 3 years. Every year she motivates CDTA employees, and keeps everyone excited about what United Way does and why it is important. This year she even came to all the CDTA divisions at 4AM to talk to our employees at a time most convenient to the operators. Her pride and passion for United Way and her community is inspiring.
He not only helps to keep our shelters clean, he also looks after Market 32 at the Hamilton Square Plaza and the grounds of Albany Medical Center. His efforts are meant to beautify our city while letting society know that he is serious devoting his life toward the collection of Convalescent Plasma to get patients off the ventilators who are suffering from COVID-19. Jesse has Asperger's, a condition on the Autism spectrum. He is a best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker. He is considered one of the most respected leaders in the Anti-Bullying movement of his generation.
The Writing Partnership
John is the founder of the Albany non-profit org The Writing Partnership and also a teacher at Bishop Maginn High School. As a volunteer with the organization. He helps refugees and disadvantaged students develop precision in writing, access technology, financial assistance and makes sure that they are getting full access to educational opportunities. He has helped refugee students that use English as a secondary language graduate from high school, receive full scholarships to college, and even get into an Ivy League graduate program.
Founder of 4th Family
4th Family leverages a love of sports to help at-risk youth. It designs and delivers empowerment: positive, authentically science-based programs in the Capital Region. This includes work with STEM programs, that connect the science to sports. John works for the Albany School District and is always there for his students.
Bread of Life Pood Pantry
As if Judy Becker hadn't already accomplished enough in the first 73 years of her life as a wife, mother of three, nursery school teacher, employee of the Golub Corporation, and truly engaged volunteer at Messiah Lutheran Church, she saw a need in the town of Rotterdam. As the poverty line started to creep up, shoving an increased number of Rotterdam and Bellevue residents below it, food insecurity was becoming a real issue. Discussions with a new and energized Pastor led Judy to the realization that something needed to be done for an area that lacked a regular option for a food pantry. So at 73 years old, she started one. That is how the Bread of Life Food Pantry. Judy worked with Schenectady-based food providers to understand the process for opening a food pantry, and eventually developed partnerships with the Regional Food Bank, Concerned for the Hungry, Food Pantries for the Capital Region, the Schenectady Foundation, Stewart's Shops and Price Chopper. Judy speaks on the phone or in-person with every client to understand their needs. She works with the Food Bank to provide extras for clients (fresh produce, meat) and continues to look for ways to expand. Helping people has always been Judy's passion, and the Pantry is the way she meets that need now.
Karen Carpenter Palumbo
CEO of Vanderheyden and Social Worker
She is committed to maintaining safety while providing continued services to the youth, adults and families that are served 24/7 365 days a year at Vanderheyden. Every day she updates, encourages and recognizes the more than 350 employees that she calls SUPERHEROES to the essential business. In addition to being the leader, she is seen driving at all hours from the campus to all the various group homes to bring them cheer and reinforce we are VanderheydenStrong at this uncertain time. She is one that leads but is seen on the frontlines whether it is after dinner or a weekend. We had students graduating from high school in June. Karen made it her mission to find a way to make memories for those graduates and to make them feel honored and proud within the recommended guidelines.
Through the American Legion in Ballston Spa she works countless hours advocating for US veterans, volunteering her time to help raise money for veterans affairs, and is an active member of the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary. She is always working to improve the lives others and ensures everyone is cared for before she worries about herself.
Principal of Watervliet Elementary School
Mrs. Kelly Webster epitomizes compassion and dedication to the children and families of the Watervliet City School District. Throughout this pandemic, she has gone out of her way to meet the physical and emotional needs of our students and families. To stay connected with students, families, and teachers, Mrs. Webster created a Facebook page called Mrs. Webster's Way. Every day, without fail, she appeared live, with her daughter Madigan, and son, Daniel, to engage our students in a variety of activities. These activities included daily read alouds, dance parties (complete with unicorn and dinosaur costumes), science and baking lessons, a virtual field day, and so many more activities too numerous to mention. More importantly, however, Mrs. Webster began each session with an honest conversation with our students about how things were going. She let them know it was okay to not be okay, that it was perfectly normal to feel worried or anxious, and that we were all in this together. She let students and families into her home (virtually) and gave them a sense of normalcy in some very uncertain times. For so many of our students, her daily virtual sessions were a bright spot in their day.
Executive Director at Homeless and Travelers Aid Society
Liz is a community champion for the Homeless community and works tirelessly to ensure every individual has access to safe housing and services.
Adminstrator of the Glendale Nursing Home
As a nursing home administrator, Lori is responsible for the care and comfort of residents living there, usually elderly individuals at the end stages of their lives. She oversees medical, nursing, dietary, activities and maintenance Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has lead the staff in response efforts and has made the residents as comfortable as possible while the facility remains in lockdown (no visitors allowed). She is one of the only facilities in the Capital Region, and the only one in Schenectady County to have zero positive cases within the resident population.
Mary Beth Fowler
The Red Bookshelf
Mary Beth provides books to children in the Albany area by placing them on bookshelves in health clinics, schools, family court, and many places where children can find them. They have been giving away free books to kids for over 10 years. They also have mobile bookshelves they take to community events such as MLK day, National Night Out, and many other celebrations in the area.
Executive Director, Food Pantries of the Capital District
For nearly two decades, Natasha has been quiet force driving our region forward on issues around homelessness and food insecurity. Under her leadership, the Food Pantries of the Capital District has nearly doubled revenue and in-kind support in just 6 years, and increased food funding to assist local pantries so that no one is turned away due to lack of food. Additionally, Natasha has been very involved in the Capital Region community - as a member of the Junior League of Albany, on the board of Cares, Inc, and as a teacher and mentor at Rockefeller College.
Albany Public Library Executive Director
Scott runs the Albany Public Library and is dedicated to his job and the community. He has also been a key part of the CDTA annual Fall Festival…providing Storytime on a bus and bringing Bleeker the Mascot to entertain the more than 500 kids we host on property.
Department of Social Services
Sirena is a relentless essential worker at 3 jobs that all deal with dual diagnosed homeless populations throughout the Capital district. Sirena is a warm, kind hearted person who is an advocate for the homeless as well as the domestic violence survivors in the Capital District. She has worked for the Department of Social Services since 2008 and is a supervisor for the SNAP Program. In her off time, she helps her community find access to essential resources.
Teens Helping Seniors - Albany Chapter
Teens helping seniors is a national organization that has a local chapter that is helping seniors navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. High school students from all around the area have been going out to grocery stores and pharmacies and delivering items to seniors. It is all volunteer, with more than 60 students participating. Across the country there have been more than 1650 deliveries, 650 volunteers, 27 chapters in 16 states/province.
Military Family Foundation
Tracy started the Military Family Foundation in Albany County in 2013 to help Military Service Members and their families. The mission of the Military Family Foundation is to help military service members, past and present, and their families with obtaining emergency assistance and social/emotional support through local service agencies and other nationally recognized organizations.
Director of Human Services for the Town of Glenville
Assistance Program. She organized volunteers, drivers, shoppers and donations to deliver groceries to over 350 seniors who were unable to grocery shop.
Youth Mentor in the City of Schenectady
William Rivas has made it his life’s work to bring positive change to his community. He serves as a mentor to the youth in the City of Schenectady. He started the “Random Santa Drop Off” program giving away gifts and Christmas trees during the holiday season. Will has taken youth on “Boys Day Out” to professional sporting events and sponsored the annual weekend backpack giveaway and basketball tournament in Schenectady. Now, he has accepted another challenge running the COCOA house providing after school support and a safe place for youth. He has also been providing free pizza lunches and coronavirus supplies to the community. He assists young adults open their own businesses including artists, poets, clothing designers, and others. He runs “5-1-8 talks” a local Ted talk style to inspire small business people to hone their craft. He's been instrumental in helping keep the black lives mattered focused on racial reconciliation in Schenectady.
Below are the key dates in the authority's history.
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CDTA is created by the New York State Legislature
Saratoga service begins
Base fare increased from 40 to 50 cents
STAR service begins in Albany
STAR service begins in Troy and Schenectady
Electronic fare boxes installed on all CDTA buses
Swiper Pass program unveiled
CDTA creates website www.cdta.org
Lark/Washington Transit Center opens
Access Transit, Inc. begins operation
Bike Racks debut on 10 CDTA bus routes
Rensselaer Rail Station opens
CDTA assumes responsibility for Northway service
Saratoga Springs Train Station opens
Simplified fare structure introduced
Expanded service introduced in Saratoga
Last token accepted on CDTA buses (replaced by debit card)
Entire fleet equipped with bike racks
New Schenectady neighborhood service begins operation
BRT service (BusPlus) begins operation on Route 5
November 13, 2011
New Albany Route Network begins operation (Phase 1)
New Albany Route Network begins operation (Phase 2)
Record annual ridership count of 16.5 million
October 29, 2014
Real time passenger information rolls out
CDTA's Navigator introduced
March 31, 2015
Record annual ridership count of 17 million
CDTA earns first CREDC Award (Uncle Sam Transit Center)
Record annual ridership count reaches record 17.1 million
May 28, 2016
Redesigned Saratoga County services begin operation
CDTA progresses River BRT line for Federal Small Starts Program
CDTA first NY agency approved as regional clearinghouse for taxi services
CDTA selects Social Bicycles to operate regional Bike Share program
CDTA officially rolls out Navigator smartcard prepayment system
CDTA launches Capital City (Albany) & Electric City (Schenectady) Trolleys
CDTA rolls out CDPHP Cycle! bike-share program
CDTA named APTA's 2017 Mid-Size Transit System of the Year
CDTA announces Half Fare Veterans program
CDTA Board Chair David Stackrow elected APTA Vice-Chair
CDPHP Cycle! expands to 80 stations and 350 bicycles in Year Two
Georgeanna Nugent named Chairwoman of the Board of Directors
CDTA finalizes Lark/Washington Transit Improvement project
David Stackrow elected as Chairman of APTA's Board of Directors
Jayme D. Lahut named CDTA Chairman of the Board
April 9, 2019
CDTA awarded $26.9 in CIG Small Start funding for River BRT
The foundation of our company is the people who work here. We are proud of our program of wages, benefits and training opportunities. Our workplace is modern, efficient and innovative. Employees are equipped with the tools for success and they can advance through a career ladder program for promotion and recognition. We encourage creative thinking, innovation and development of thoughtful and practical business practices. We are one of the region’s top employers and are sought after for our work in this area.
We operate peer-to-peer recognition programs that highlight the efforts of our employees, we hold an annual dinner to recognize excellence in safety, attendance and customer service along with spotlighting long-tenured employees at Board meetings. Our annual bus roadeo for operators and technicians gives employees the chance to showcase their skills and the collective efforts of our workforce. We participate in state and national trade association conferences, and our staff serves in leadership roles on industry committees and task forces.
CDTA employees enjoy an array of programs that improve communication, provide training, and recognize outstanding effort. This includes an online learning system with courses accessible from work or home, a web portal, along with a self-service database that provides operating statistics and a menu of employee information. We rely on our employees and believe in recognizing outstanding performance.
Attendance is critical in the transit industry as it is a principal factor in the delivery of quality service. We have addressed this issue with an attendance bonus and advanced wage progression schedule. Coming to work on time and doing the best job possible are at the core of our expectations. We are extremely proud of the work of our employees in this area.
CDTA offers employees quarterly attendance bonuses, which has led to dramatic improvement in attendance, reducing absenteeism to less than 10%. Our transportation and maintenance personnel use advanced wage progression schedules to expedite payroll milestones based on excellence in attendance, safety and customer service. This allows employees to get to top pay rates in just 18 months; nearly 100 employees achieved this milestone last year.
CDTA is continuously hiring to meet increased service demands and is focused on full representation of demographics in our workforce. In our service area, 11% of the population is minority and 51% are women. Our EEO program has shown sustained increases in female representation to more than 22%, while 45% of our employees are minorities. Five years ago, CDTA had no women in our maintenance department and now we have five on the team.
Connecting Communities to Opportunities
The Capital District Transportation Authority continues its strong performance, connecting people to economic and educational opportunities throughout the Capital Region.
CDTA is often an important stop for those interested in pursuing higher education. CDTA partners with area colleges and universities to provide students, faculty and staff with comprehensive transportation services that are available.
On the heels of these accomplishments, we are looking forward to a busy and successful future, as CDTA continues to be involved in projects and initiatives that deepen our role as the region’s mobility manager.