The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has unveiled its updated “Pride Train”; Infrastructure Canada has announced the recipients of its Knowledge Synthesis Grants on mobility and public transit; Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency has received American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awards for best marketing and communications on COVID-19; Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) has launched SmarTrip for Android™ in Google Pay; and ICM Mobility Group has acquired mobile ticketing and payment specialist Unwire.
Commemorating five years of service celebrating diversity and inclusion, the Pride Train has a newly designed wrap to reflect “the dynamism and continuing evolution of the LGBTQIA community,” CTA reported. The wrap, sponsored by Miller Lite, features the “Philly Flag,” adding a black and brown stripe to the traditional six-color Pride Flag, as well as the blue, pink and white “Transgender Flag.”
The 2021 Pride Train will operate on the Red Line through the fall, coinciding with the Chicago Pride Parade, to be held Oct. 3.
“As we prepare to celebrate Pride once again, we want to remind customers that transit is for everyone,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said. “We are a progressive and open-minded organization that has long supported equality and inclusion, and we want all our riders and employees to know that no matter who they love or how they identify—they are welcomed at the CTA.”
Infrastructure Canada’s Knowledge Synthesis Grants, established in September 2020, have been awarded to 23 projects that will “examine and synthesize existing research on mobility and public transit issues in urban, rural and remote areas across Canada, and provide useful directions for future research.” The projects will also explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed commute and settlement patterns as well as “innovations to improve services for racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2 peoples, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, immigrants and refugees, women, youth, and seniors,” according to the government agency.
The Canadian government will use the project findings to better target its transit and mobility programs and investments, as part of the Investing in Canada plan and the permanent public transit fund, which was announced in February.
Infrastructure Canada and program administrator Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) are co-funding the grants, providing C$300,000 and C$390,000, respectively.
As part of APTA’s 2021 AdWheel Awards, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency received first-place honors in two COVID-19 marketing and communications categories: Electronic Media and Social. The agency, which oversees Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner service, kept the public informed during the pandemic through digital campaigns using website updates, articles and virtual experiences on social media.
The COVID-19 category was included this year to recognize “efforts to communicate health information, showcase employees as essential workers, and inform the public about new community safety efforts,” according to APTA.
The association reported that it received 363 AdWheel entries, which were evaluated by industry experts and awarded in groups based on system size.
Riders can now use SmarTrip for Android™ in Google Pay to pay for services from WMATA (Metrorail, Metrobus, and Metro-operated parking lots and garages) as well as from Washington, D.C.-area regional transit providers, including ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Cue, Ride On, TheBus, Circulator, Loudoun County Transit, and OmniRide. They can also download the SmarTrip App from the Google Play Store to add funds, purchase passes, view benefits, set up auto reload, and plan their trips.
“This breakthrough means our customers can now pay to ride Metro as easily as they buy coffee with their phones,” WMATA General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said. “It’s an investment in the future of Metro, as we modernize our system to incorporate many new technologies.”
ICM Mobility Group has acquired Copenhagen, Denmark-based Unwire. Unwire’s Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solution aggregates transit options—from mass transit to micromobility, paratransit and ridershare—and enables riders to plan, book and pay for multimodal service.
“Unwire will retain its brand and independence, while benefiting from working closely with other ICM Mobility Group companies, including Vix Technology, Kuba, Snapper and Littlepay,” ICM Mobility Group reported.
“Having already worked closely together on projects such as the award-winning GoPass application for DART [Dallas Area Rapid Transit] in Dallas, Tex., Unwire is a proven cultural fit for us,” ICM Mobility Group Chairman Steve Gallagher said. “Within our group, each company is empowered to share industry experience, knowledge and market understanding to drive innovation and new services. Unwire’s expertise in building gateways, APIs and backend integrations to infrastructure in banks, payment processors and transportation operators will prove invaluable to our customers across the globe.”