New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), seeking to maximize revenue, has announced that it will employ “novel” forms of advertising on New York City Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.
Beginning this week, the inside and outside of a train serving the 42nd Street Shuttle in Midtown Manhattan (the S train) will befully wrapped with advertisements promoting TBS’ exclusive coverage of Major League Baseball's 2010 postseason division series and league championship series. MTA acknowledges that subway car wraps have become increasingly popular with advertisers, but notes this campaign will be the first to make use of moving images through video screens.
The screens, inside the subway cars, will show replays ofthe previous night’s baseball highlights during the postseason, highlights which almost certainly will include games involving the hometown New York Yankees for at least the initial division series.
And for what MTA believes is the first time since railroading began in the New York City region in the 1830s, the exteriors of its regional trains will display advertising. Specifically, 50 of the Long Island Rail Road's 836 M-7 train cars will display ads that begin at the level of the doors’ floors and extend up to the bottom of the cars’ windows. These cars will travel through the most heavily used portions of the Long Island Rail Road. Theads, promoting Cablevision’s Optimum WiFi, will be visible to customers boarding the trains on platforms as well as passing motorists and pedestrians.
If the three-month trial of LIRR exterior advertising is successful, the MTA and LIRR will consider extending the program to more LIRR cars with the help of advertising contractor CBS Outdoor.
“The MTA earns more than $100 million per year from sales of advertising space, mostly through traditional print media, but this traditional advertising has suffered as a result of the recession,” said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. “Our uncertain finances mean that we have to think creatively to maximize the value of our physical assets. One way we are doing that is by creating more dynamic advertising opportunities.”
ALK Technologies, Inc. Tuesday announced the successful certification and integration of PC*MILER® 24 and PC*MILER|Tolls 24 by strategic alliance partner TMW Systems.
PC*MILER’s 24th annual edition includes critical map dataupdates such as truck restrictions and truck-specific toll costs. Princeton, N.J.-based ALK plans to demonstrate PC*MILER 24 beginning Wednesday at the TMW Systems TransForum User Conference and Exhibition at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Tex.
Cleveland-based TMW Systems, a software provider tologistics firms, trucking, construction, utility, and municipal fleets, has certified the new PC*MILER release to ensure its customers take advantage of the new enhancements.
“Given the current economic climate, businesses continue to look for ways to improve cost management and transactional velocity,” said TMW Systems President and CEO David Wangler.
Kinkisharyo International, LLC said Tuesday its North American growth strategy will be spearheaded by introduction of a 100% low-floor, dual-powered ‘hybrid’ streetcar specifically designed for the United States. The first LFX-300 will be unveiled at an unspecified location in the U.S. in November.
The LFX-300 is propelled by either traditional overhead electric catenary or by on-board battery power. In battery powered mode, it uses electricity stored from regenerative braking and by charging the batteries while running on catenary, minimizing total power consumption. The company says the LFX-300 has been specifically designed for North America and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Buy America, and NFPA-130.
“In this new economy, cities across North America have greater expectations of their urban transit solutions providers. Kinkisharyo understands that our customers expect more value today. Through technical innovation, we can deliver more in terms of economic performance, environmental responsibility, and public safety,” said Rainer Hombach, vice president and general manager.
Hombach suggest the LFX-300 “is the ideal streetcar for downtown and historic areas, particularly those with preservation or aesthetic requirements where overhead catenary power is not feasible.” Several U.S. locations, notably the federal district within Washington, D.C., have struggled with the reintroduction of streetcar service while minimizing the impact of overhead wires on “visual corridors.”
The Russian Railways group of companies said Tuesday it had “almost doubled its net profit according to International Financial Reporting Standards, year-on-year, to reach 152.2 billion rubles,” or roughly $5 billion, in 2009.
Russian Railways’ consolidated financial reporting according to IFRS takes into account the results of all subsidiaries and associated companies in the holding, a total of more than 170 companies.
Revenue from freight fell 6% to about $27.3 billion, but revenue from passenger services rose 3% to reach about $5.5 billion. Total revenue declined by 4% to roughly $36.8 billion.
Said Russian Railways Senior Vice President Vadim Mikhailov, “The year 2009 proved to be a resilience test for Russian Railways. Due to the decline in freight, earnings fell slightly. The company’s management took steps to cut expenditure, and these measures produced the intended positive result .By the end of the year, the group managed to substantially reduce the size of its operational spending by 8.2%.”
Led by rail transit, public transit ridership rose 0.1% in the second quarter of 2010 compared with the second quarter in 2009, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). APTA said the ridership gain, while modest, is the first increase in six quarters.
Sixteen out of 28 light rail systems reported an increase inridership for the second quarter of 2010 as light rail ridership increased nationally by 4.2% in the second quarter of 2010.
Eleven out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases from April through June of 2010 over the same period in 2009. Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 2.2%.
Regional or “commuter” rail ridership declined 0.4% during the second quarter, though 13 out of 27 regional/commuter systems reported ridership increases, APTA said.
Bus ridership decreased nationally by 1.7%, though small bus systems serving populations below 100,000 notched a 3.1% gain, APTA said.
Said APTA President William Millar, “History shows that as the economy grows, public transit ridership tends to increase. This rise in ridership offers a glimmer of hope that we may be coming out of the economic recession and ridership will continue to move upward.” Noting that a federal public transit funding bill has not passed, while local and state funding support has suffered, Millar said, “To maintain our public transportation systems and expand them to meet growing demand as the economyrecovers, we need to have government at all levels—federal, state, and local—adequately invest in public transportation. Regrettably, facing revenue shortfalls, many transit systems must still raise fares, reduce service, and/orlay off staff in order to balance their budgets.”
“September 30 is the one-year anniversary of the expiration of the last federal surface transportation legislation that funded public transportation,” said Millar. “Congress needs to act as soon as possible to pass a new multi-year surface transportation authorization bill so that we can move forward in improving our public transportation systems for the millions of people who depend on their services every day.”
Transportation (train and engine) employees led the way in employment gains for the second straight month, increasing 5.59% in July vs. one year ago, powering an overall Class I railroad employment rise of 1.91% to 152,925 in the 12 months ended mid-August, the Surface Transportation Board reported.
Total employment fell a slight 0.08% from levels reported for mid-July, with Transportation (train and engine) down 0.14%, STB reported.
Professional and Administrative also gained over year-ago levels, up 3.54%. Those gains helped offset year-over-year declines in Executives, officials and staff assistants (down 1.84%), Transportation (other than train and engine), down 1.09%, Maintenance of way and structures (down 1.02%), and Maintenance of equipment and stores (down 0.74%).
Categories of employment gaining from July included Executives, officials, and staff assistants (up 1.02%), Maintenance of equipment and stores (up 0.02%), and Transportation (other than train and engine), up 1.07%.
Declines from July were relatively modest. Professional and administrative employees declined by 0.21% month over month, as did Maintenance of way and structures (down 0.49%) and Transportation (train and engine), down 0.14%.
The debate is heating up over suspension of any new work on New Jersey Transit’s planned new trans-Hudson commuter rail tunnels, a project for which ground was broken last year but whose $8.7 billion estimated cost has led to second thoughts in a financially strapped state.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and a fiscal conservative, last week put the project on a 30-day hold, asserting, “If I can't pay for it, we'll have to consider other options.” He said work already started will continue on the New Jersey side of the river pending a final decision.
New Jersey’s two U.S. senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, on Friday joined other Democratic leaders at the work site to defend the project, which is designed to significantly increase commuter rail capacity across the Hudson.
“Don't throw away $6 billion; don't throw away thousands of jobs,” Lautenberg (pictured at left) urged. Advocates claim the project would generate around 6,000 jobs.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has pledged $3 billion toward the cost of the project, and the Federal Transit Administration has agreed to match that.
Raymond J. Lesniak. the Democratic chairman of the Economic Growth Committee of the State Senate, acknowledged that “there's going to be a couple of billion dollars shortfall,” but he said the state should be looking for ways to close the funding gap rather than abandon the project.
An FTA spokesman said Thursday, following a meeting of Governor Christie with U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood: “Given that this project represents the single largest transit investment ever made by the Federal Transit Administration, the secretary and governor agreed to have staff work together to further refine estimated cost of the entire project.”
A hearing on the project was scheduled Monday in Trenton, the state capital, by the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee.
In a story dispatched from Lucknow, India, on Friday, the Business Standard, a daily newspaper in that country, reported that LaGrange, Ill.-based Electro-Motive Diesel announced in a conference call that it will invest $100 million in India during the next three years in a manufacturing unit. The occasion was the launch of the EMD Centre of Excellence at Lucknow.
“Although the exact location of the plant has yet not been finalized, the company has prospective sites in consideration, including Uttar Pradesh,” EMD COO Ossama Hassan said. “After North America, India is our most important market. ... While still in the initial stages, the production unit would cater to the domestic demand in India. We will later try to tap the export market, too.”
EMD is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Progress Rail Services, based in Albertville, Ala.
The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has issued a statementbacking the city’s C$2.1 billion (US$2.7 billion) Light Rail Transit Plan. The backing is considered politically significant, given the contentious nature of the project stretching across many years.
The group is recommending that the city “accelerate” its east-west LRT expansion plans, saying the current time table will “reduce the accessibility of the system and negatively impact ridershipand revenue generation for OC Transpo.”
LRT is the “best option” for keeping operational costs down and providing environmental benefits, the Chamber said. Executive Director Erin Kelly said businesses across Ottawa will "benefit from an easy-to-use transit infrastructure.”
But Kelly also said the City of Ottawa should accelerate plans to expand light rail east into Orleans and west into Nepean and Kanata, saying “if people are forced to transfer at Tunney's Pasture or Blair Road ridership will suffer.”
Last June the federal government committed C$600 million (US$783 million) in funding for the project, which includes a two-mile tunnel in downtown Ottawa. Ontario committed another C$600 million to the project last December.