Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ray Melleady to speak at Citizens for Public Transportation Meeting Tonight

Lucile Brewer left me a message the other day that CDTA Executive Director, Ray Melleady will be presenting to Citizens for Public Transportation tonight at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Albany Public Library.

Click here for an article that Andy Arthur posted from the NY Times -- about the possibility of some stimulus funds being allowable for operating costs -- this could help with regards to the next fare hike which the CDTA board had discussed going into effect in April 2010-- raising fares to $2/ ride -- with NO free transfer.

If you can attend tonight's meeting -- I suggest the following:

1. Tell Ray that riders can't afford this fare hike -- let alone another one -- urge CDTA to use stimulus funds to defray operating costs.

2. We need free transfers. Don't let him get away with "That's what the Day Passes are for!" Tell him no - riders want both. Remind him that the MTA issues transfers that are good for 2 hours from the time of issuance and they sell day passses -- CDTA should do the same!

3. Ask when CDTA will introduce a weekly or bi-weekly pass that provides a discount for bus riders who don't have the upfront $ to purchase monthly passes? Remind him that CDTA reported in 2008 that 63% of riders earn $25,000 or less per year -- coming up with $55/ month for a 5-day pass or $65/ month for a 7-day pass is simply too much for the average CDTA rider!

4. One CRTA member brought up the idea of purchasing rides in bulk amounts greater than 10 -- for example -- these three options: 30 rides, 50 rides and 100 rides -- each at an incrementally higher discount than the lower amount of rides.

5. Ask when the 31-day rolling pass will be rolled out.

6. Ask how efforts are going to better serve low-income riders -- e.g. working with non-profits and county agencies who serve low-income community members so that more organizations can get free or reduced-price passes to their clients.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus, Operating Budgets, and CDTA riders

In the wake of the stimulus bill, I found this interesting piece on the NY Times website.

It's been pretty well-publicized in the transit world that stimulus funding was being targeted for Capital projects rather than operating support so when I read the below from that NY Times piece, I thought, "hmmmm...."
The failure to include operating assistance in the economic recovery
package for struggling transit agencies across the country can be traced to a
long-standing U.S. political and policy bias against major urban transit
systems. The less-than-robust transit funding contained in the bill is
restricted to capital and maintenance projects, except — and this is an
important loophole — for small and rural systems.
Got me wondering whether CDTA qualifies as "small" or "rural." I've asked around, and haven't received a definitive response...yet.

March 2 is Transit Awareness Day, and members of the Stop the Hike campaign will ask our state legislators to work in the best interest of their constituents and ensure CDTA's funding is restored with stimulus funding. We'll also urge the legislators to push CDTA's board to roll back the planned fare increases that will be devastating to the majority of CDTA's riders.

The average CDTA bus rider simply cannot afford this fare hike!

According to CDTA's "2008 Regular Route Rider Satisfaction Research Program":
  • 63% of CDTA bus riders are from households with annual incomes of $25,000 or less.
  • Only 52% of CDTA bus riders have full-time jobs.
  • 62% of CDTA bus riders have no household car available.
What is the impact of the fare hike on low-income families?

CDTA offers cost-saving monthly passes under two options:

  • A 5-day Swiper valid Monday through Friday.

  • A Swiper valid 7 days per week.

Purchasing Swipers can be tricky.

  • Seems simple, but if you don’t have your pass at the beginning of the month, you lose out on savings. If you buy it one week late, you only save $15, if you buy it in the middle of the month, you save nothing!

Unfortunately, for many low-wage earners, laying out cash for a Swiper is not an option when trying to feed a family, pay the rent and keep the refrigerator running.

Consider this…

Before the Fare increase: A mom didn't have the funds at the end of the previous month to purchase a CDTA Swiper. Instead of a Swiper, she'll buy a $3 day pass each weekday for herself that provides unlimited daily rides. Mom takes her two elementary-age kids to school on a CDTA bus at $1 per ride per kid, and then hops on another bus to get to work. At the end of the workday, she does the reverse.

The family’s bus fare expenditures are $7 a day and $35 for a 5-day work week.

After the Fare increase: The day pass will go up to $4/ day, and the daily per-child bus fare will rise to $3, with weekly family transit costs at $50; an increase of $15 per week or $60 per month!

In the current economy, where will this family get the extra $60 per month?

Contact us @ capitalregiontransitadvocates@gmail(dot)com to help with our efforts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Roger Green on the Myth of the Empty Bus and More

Check out Roger Green's post on his TU blog...

Roger discusses recent Letters to the Editor and response from Ray Melleady. He also weighs in with
  • Reasons why CDTA's defunct zoned riding system didn't work,
  • The importance of on-time buses,
  • The need for additional stops on the Number 12 line,
  • Applause for Lucile Brewer and her recognition in Metroland
Roger also announces the monthly meeting of Citizens for Public Transportation to be held Wednesday January 21 at 7 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Albany Public Library.

As usual, it's worth the read.

Service Cuts announced - to take effect 1/25

The first wave of CDTA service cuts were announced earlier this week and will take effect January 25, 2009.

Here's the announcement:

Schedule Changes Effective 01/25/2009

Please review the changes to see if your route and trips are affected. If you have questions call our Telephone Information Center at 482-8822 or send us an e-mail.

(Albany, NY) - The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) announced that effective Monday, January 26, 2009, a few service changes will be made on the following routes. The route changes are as follows:

Route #16 Downtown Albany Circulator: Route #16 will no longer operate.

Route #51 Broadway: Route #51 will stop at the newly consolidated Department of Social Service Offices located at 797 Broadway, Schenectady and will also service Golub Corporation Offices on every trip. It will no longer service GE, the Rotterdam Square Mall or Curry Road areas. Customers who currently use #51 to get to the Rotterdam Square Mall may connect to Route #62 McClellan Street, #66 Schenectady South Loop, #77 Schenectady North Loop, and #78 Schenectady West Loop at the State and Washington transfer center in downtown Schenectady.

pdf New Schedule Effective January 25, 2009>>

Route #471 Union Avenue: Route #471 will become a seasonal route, operating only during the summer months, beginning in May, to accommodate customers during the Saratoga Spring’s tourist and Race track season.

Route #473 Jefferson Avenue: Minor time adjustments will be made to Route #473 to improve schedule reliability.

pdf New Schedule Effective January 25, 2009>>

Route #84 Watervliet Belt: Route #84 will no longer operate on Saturday or Sunday, but will continue to operate Monday through Friday.

pdf New Schedule Effective January 25, 2009>>

For more information regarding reroutes or other CDTA Service Information, contact CDTA’s Customer Information Center at 482-8822. Information operators are on duty 6am-7pm weekdays and 8:30am-6pm weekends and holidays.

Friday, January 2, 2009

MTA Board and Coalition to Travel to Albany

Check out this post from our friend at Albany's Citizen One (ACO) calling for the CDTA Board of Directors to lobby Albany's legislators for more funding just like the MTA board plans to do on January 13!

ACO references a Daily News article:

MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger and fellow board members will be riding the rails to Albany Jan. 13 to plead with lawmakers for a transit bailout, officials said Tuesday.

The Empire State Transportation Alliance - a coalition of business, civic, labor and environmental groups - also will appeal for more funding for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“Time is of the essence,” board member Allen Cappelli said.

The MTA will be forced to impose sky-high fares and severe service cuts unless there’s a state bailout early next year, transit officials have warned.

Here's the Daily News article ACO in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CDTA Board Ignores Pleas for Low Income Riders

Ignoring pleas from bus riders and transit advocates to "Stop the Hike", CDTA board approves a fare increase that will have an overwhelming impact on low-income riders during the worst economic downturn of my lifetime.