ITLC Update

Transit Workforce Center Launches National Frontline Worker Recruitment Campaign

Responding to the historic shortage of transit workers around the country, the Transit Workforce Center (TWC) is launching a campaign toolkit designed to support the public transportation industry with innovative, site-specific approaches to meet the critical challenge of recruiting workers, especially bus operators and maintenance workers. #ConnectingMyCommunity: The National Transit Frontline Worker Campaign Toolkit provides a wealth of resources for transit agencies and communities to tailor for their needs.

“America needs more transit workers to help connect our communities,” said Nuria Fernandez, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which created and funds the Transit Workforce Center. “Working in the transit industry can provide amazing career opportunities while allowing transit workers to serve our nation by moving its people. FTA is committed to helping transit agencies recruit the workers they need to continue providing vital service and applauds the TWC for creating a resource that will help them attract the best and brightest for frontline transit careers.”


To keep recruitment materials fresh, TWC will continually update the toolkit with new materials based on experiences in the field. TWC encourages organizations using the Toolkit templates to share their creations at #ConnectingMyCommunity on social media and to contact TWC Communications Specialist David Stephen at with their stories and resources connected to effective recruitment strategies.


Click here to access the Toolkit.

ITLC Welcomes Research Associate Shayna Gleason to our Team  

Shayna brings to the ITLC/TWC direct experience and research expertise related to workforce development, paratransit, and older workers. After graduating from Carleton College, she began her career as Coordinator of Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, part of the World Health Organization’s international initiative to create inclusive and accessible communities for all ages. She was then introduced to transit as a community engagement liaison and software trainer with a Pittsburgh regional paratransit service. She trained service providers, conducted community outreach efforts, developed community partnerships, and helped design an online travel navigator. 


As a graduate student at UMass Boston, Shayna worked with the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging. She helped design and implement a program evaluation for a remote employment training program targeting older workers. Shayna is excited about the broad range of research work she’ll be doing at the ITLC/TWC, including opportunities to work on greater inclusion of older adults and people with disabilities in the transit workforce and support for the demand response public transit workforce. 


Shayna recently had a paper accepted for publication on the experiences of paratransit providers in the era of ride-hailing companies, and she will be finishing her dissertation while she works. She is originally from New Jersey, plays the piano, and describes herself “a loyal if bashful Yankees fan” (apologies to our Boston readers), but she says she will dutifully wave around a curly Washington “W” hat at Nations Park in honor of her new home.

Fairfax Connector Fast-track to Apprenticeship

The Fairfax Connector, owned and managed by Fairfax County, Virginia, is operated and maintained by Transdev North America. The Connector provides bus service connecting residents and visitors with rail and other local bus systems in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Faced with a shortage of technicians, Transdev worked with the Transit Workforce Center (TWC), FTA’s workforce development technical assistance center operated by the International Transportation Learning Center, late last year to create a bus maintenance apprenticeship program. Transdev established a joint apprenticeship committee (JAC) with Teamsters Local 639 to develop an apprenticeship agreement and work plan collaboratively. Within months, Transdev registered the apprenticeship with the Virginia Department of Labor and launched the program with six apprentices.


With the apprenticeship program in collaboration with Teamsters Local 639 underway, Transdev is working to extend the program to include an agreement with the agency’s other labor union, ATU Local 689. The speed with which this program was developed is commendable and would not have been possible without a cooperative and productive relationship between labor and management. Key players in the effort to establish a joint apprenticeship program include Thomas Reynolds representing Fairfax County’s Transit Services Division, Barry Goldman, Director of Maintenance, Fairfax Connector, Transdev, and John Estes, Business Agent Teamsters Local 639.

For information on establishing a frontline apprenticeship program, please contact James Hall at

Public Transit

Texas: Buttigieg Touts Federal Funding During Tour of Houston Transportation Projects

Mass Transit - Sept. 14, 2022

The novelty check had a few extra zeroes, but even if Houston's airport system is not getting $40 billion, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg assured Houston-area officials Monday that federal funding is coming for a number of road, transit and airport projects.

Heat waves are getting worse. When will L.A. get around to offering bus riders more shade?

LA Times – Sept. 12, 2022

It was 103 degrees on a Friday afternoon as Ken Willis waited for the 152 Metro bus under a thick tree canopy in North Hollywood. He didn’t even consider resting on the two bare metal bus benches baking in the sun. “If you sit on the benches, you just sweat to death,” he said. “On extremely hot days, the shade is not enough to keep you cool.” With highs last week up to 110 degrees in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, those who rely on buses to get around had no choice but to suffer the sun’s wrath.

PA: Are community colleges accessible enough to students without cars? A national group tracks proximity to public transportation.

Mass Transit - Sept. 13, 2022

Nearly one-third of 118 community college and technical school campuses in Pennsylvania are not within walking distance of a public transit stop, and that could be a problem for students without cars or with car problems, according to new research.


Public transit across the U.S. is not nearly as crowded as it was before the pandemic.

NPR – Sept. 8, 2022

Paul Skoutelas, president of the American Public Transportation Association, says just like driving and flying, transit ridership plummeted in the first few months of the pandemic. And then began a slow climb back, which has since plateaued in recent months. And a recent report by S&P global rating indicates that transit ridership, especially on trains into downtown areas, will remain down for years, with only a 75% ridership recovery predicted by the end of 2025. Skoutelas says federal COVID relief funding has kept transit agencies alive the last two years. But as that funding runs out and with fare revenue down, some transit agencies are heading towards a fiscal cliff. He and others note that not all transit systems and modes are suffering equally. Bus systems, in particular, have recovered more riders much more quickly than rail systems that are designed to take 9-to-5 commuters to and from urban centers. David Bragdon of the research and advocacy foundation TransitCenter says weekend ridership is strongly recovering, too, as are routes serving essential workers and those for whom driving a car is not an option.

Universal Basic Mobility and the Road to Transportation Security

Cityfi – Sept. 1, 2022

While a handful of studies have examined the utilization and effectiveness of fledgling Universal Basic Mobility (UBM) pilots, few have tabulated and quantified the social and economic costs of the status quo: lost wages, missed medical appointments, school tardies or truancy, social isolation and incohesion, or the host of other consequences of transportation insecurity. That is about to change. Earlier this month, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released a notice of funding opportunity to develop a program to quantify, in economic terms, the cost of transportation insecurity (and conversely the return on investment of UBM) to both individuals and society. The FTA research program is modeled on pioneering pilots and research in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

Transit Partners

BART's 50 Year Anniversary: Transit agency's half-century of service (video)

Fox2 KTVU - September 11, 2022 

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District is celebrating its 50th Anniversary


Pittsburgh Regional Transit targets 2045 for zero-emissions bus fleet

Mass Transit - September 8, 2022

A full report on the transition plan will be presented to the PRT Board this month. PRT reports it anticipates investing $1 billion to transition to a zero-emissions fleet over the next 20 years. The agency will begin to increase its replacement of diesel buses with zero-emission buses beginning in 2025 and will only purchase zero-emission buses after 2032.

MARTA awarded federal grant for new electric buses and charging infrastructure

Intelligent Transport – September 5, 2022

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has announced that its Sustainability Commitment Program has received a federal funding boost, with the award of a $19.3 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Program, which will be used to purchase 25 new electric buses and charging infrastructure. The buses and charging stations will be housed at MARTA’s Perry Bus Garage and service multiple bus routes in west Atlanta, many in disadvantaged communities and connect to rail stations on both the East/West and North/South Lines.

Health & Safety

New York ends mask requirement for subways, buses and other mass transit – Sept. 7 2022

New Yorkers are no longer required to wear masks on subways, buses and other mass transit, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday. Hochul said the decision to end the mandate takes effect immediately. The governor said New York is in a much stronger place as infections and hospitalizations decline. New boosters that the target the dominant omicron subvariant BA.5. should also offer better protection against Covid, she said.


How an Innovative Driver Training Program Can Help Address Your Operator Shortage

APTA – Sept. 9, 2022

As leaders in the public transit industry, we are all aware of the impact the operator shortage is having on our service, morale and the image of our agencies in our communities. New hires are often hard earned, and it is imperative that we keep every new operator that joins our team. To meet this challenge, we are pulling from a larger pool of candidates with increasingly diverse backgrounds. In the past, many applicants may have had some—or even significant—experience driving commercially.

International Transportation Learning Center
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