ITLC Update
TWC Staff Highlight Training Needs for ZEBs
ITLC Executive Director, Jack Clark, Described the Mission and Goals of the TWC
On April 21, TWC staff gave two separate presentations highlighting the training needs of the bus technician workforce as agencies transition to zero-emission buses (ZEBs) as well as providing information on the resources available to fund this training.
 
ITLC Executive Director Jack Clark presented at the April 2022 Meeting of the Transit Vehicle Innovation Deployment Centers (TVIDC) Advisory Panel, managed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment and CALSTART. Jack gave updates on the TWC’s workforce development resources for ZEB maintenance and furthered the mission to develop a well-trained current and future transit workforce.
John Schiavone presented similar material at the bi-monthly meeting of the Zero Emission Bus Resource Alliance (ZEBRA). ZEBRA represents over 45 transit agencies; these meetings are a chance to gather the ZEBRA membership to hear presentations focused on industry concepts and member ZEB deployment updates.
 
In collaboration with the FTA, the TWC has prepared Resources and Best Practices for a Zero Emission-Workforce Fleet Transition Plan to aid agencies in preparing applications for funding through the Low or No Emission Program or the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program. This resource can help agencies identify training needs and how the funding set aside for training in these grants should be spent.
ITLC Holds First In-Person Traction Power Consortium Meeting
SMEs Pause for Photo before Touring SEPTA's Wayne Junction Substation
After two years of virtual meetings on coursework development, members of the national Traction Power Training Consortium finally met in person for four days in Philadelphia, April 26-29. Consortium member agency, SEPTA, hosted the group of 21 traction power subject matter experts (SMEs) and ITLC staff. All sessions were in SEPTA’s well-appointed training department at its headquarters on Market Street, Philadelphia.
Participants received warm opening welcomes from David Montvydas, SEPTA’s Chief Engineer – MOW, and Brian Pollitt, President of TWU Local 234, as well as background on the nation’s sixth largest public transportation system and TWU’s
SMEs from Buffalo and Dallas Join ITLC Staff on an Evening Walkabout in Center City
powerful history in the City of Brotherly Love. Recommendations to try the infamous Philly soft pretzel were well-received!

During the week, subject matter experts guided content to train new and experienced maintainers on Overhead Systems, Power Distribution, and Substations. Within these sessions, ITLC staff facilitated lively roundtable discussion on apprenticeship, drafted troubleshooting scenarios for each of the course topics, and toured two substation facilities. Most importantly, participants learned from each other, networked over shared experiences, and joined together in the common goal to build quality instruction for future traction power workforce. 
 
Capitalizing on this momentum gained during the time together in Philadelphia, the Traction Power Training Consortium has planned for two teams of SMEs working on coursework development for Power Distribution and Substation to meet virtually in mid-May to develop content topics for these courses.
 
For more information on the national Traction Power Training Consortium, please contact Brandon Liu at bliu@transportcenter.org, Amri Joyner at ajoyner@transportcenter.org, or Melissa Huber at mhuber@transportcenter.org.
Public Transit
TransitCenter – April 24, 2022
Throughout 2021, transit service levels across the country fluctuated in response to COVID-19 waves and workforce availability. Nationwide, service levels in 2021 maintained an average of 83% of pre-pandemic service, bottoming out in May at 80% and peaking at 87% in June and September. Concerningly, 2021 ended with nationwide service levels roughly on par with 2020’s year-end. But while they provide a big picture snapshot, national transit service levels can obscure local trends. In this post, we’re drilling down into 2021 service levels across mode in the seven highest ridership cities to see the choices agencies are making about how to allocate service, as well as to gauge the impact operator shortfalls are having.
 
TransitCenter – April 26, 2022
At most transit agencies, “who decides” is quite different from “who rides.” Our latest report, “Who Rules Transit?” reveals a yawning gap between the demographics of transit riders – primarily women and people of color – and leadership at transit agencies – primarily white men. This problem manifests in numerous ways. 
Transit Partners
The Mercury News – April 28, 2022
BART police – not station managers – will enforce the mandate, and they will focus on warnings and providing masks to unmasked riders, but riders could be ejected from the system for not complying or face up to $75 citations.
 
The Seattle Times – April 28, 2022
Sound Transit’s board of directors voted Thursday to overhaul its fare enforcement practices, with the goal of creating a system that’s less punitive, more educational and increasingly mindful of racial disparities.

The Philadelphia Citizen – April 25, 2022
Thanks to the new Key Advantage program, getting more fare revenue doesn’t have to mean raising base fares on the backs of riders. The agency can build revenue by effectively making the sale to thousands of different institutional partners across the city and region, growing the total pie, while also giving the agency a cushion to make targeted fare cuts for the people who can least afford to pay.
Whether it all works out exactly like supporters envision, only time will tell, but for the moment, it is worth pausing to celebrate sea change at SEPTA, and to appreciate the potential of the opportunity that’s created here.
 
Next City – April 29, 2022
Precious Summers, a resident of midtown Sacramento, lauds the merger because she only now has to pay one fare to get between the two communities. “The Elk Grove system didn’t use the [Zip Pass mobile fare payment] app, so if I took the train or the SacRT bus with the app, I would have to pay extra to get on the E-Tran buses,” said Summers as she waited for the light rail train at Cosumnes River College with her daughter as they returned from a doctor’s appointment. “I like the merge now. I couldn’t wait for it. I’m like, we’re all in Sacramento, why isn’t it just one bus system?”
Labor News
WTOP – May 3, 2022
The union said that after months of negotiations, RATP Dev has been “negotiating in bad faith,” threatening to substitute union members with subcontractors, eliminating the worker’s federal rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act, and undermining progressive discipline. The company also did not adequately address underpayment and inflation, the union said.
Building Transportation Infrastructure
Smart Cities Dive – April 26, 2022
Agencies can apply lessons from the California cases to many other U.S. transit projects, which will accelerate as the federal infrastructure act rolls out with funding for rail, bus networks and more. The researchers suggest that states staff up transit agencies and plan more extensively in early stages, and reform their procurement methods to give builders more say in project design.
Safety & Health
NPR – May 2, 2022
America's rail and subway systems are struggling to rebound after ridership plummeted during the pandemic. Part of riders' hesitancy is tied to safety, as they see things like open drug use and, in some cities, rising assaults and robberies on public transit. And while rare, a recent mass shooting in New York City's subway saw 10 people wounded. Now some in Congress are calling for greater security funding and oversight for America's vulnerable transit systems. 
Upcoming Webinars
National Skills Coalition – May 9, 2:00 pm ET
Holistic support services are critical to increasing skills training access, completion, and connection to quality jobs. Intentional investments in supportive services help to address racial wealth gaps and the unprecedented rates of basic needs insecurity facing today’s students—adult learners who are balancing work, school, and family responsibilities. Community college, training provider, and community partner staff can help learners navigate education, public benefit, and resource options to ensure that resources go to those who need them the most. As states look to build inclusive economies, holistic support service policies and investments must be prioritized to advance educational attainment and economic mobility.
International Transportation Learning Center
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