2013 Awards

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Each year, VTA recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions by individuals who are working to advance public transportation in their community; VTA also recognizes innovative, effective programs by our public transportation providers.

The Virginia Transit Association presented the following awards at its 2013 Awards Luncheon to recognize outstanding service by individuals and exceptional transit programs, and to advance and expand public transportation in the Commonwealth.

 

bullet INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

 Mayor Kerry Donley

bullet OUTSTANDING PROGRAM AWARDS

 Award Winner – Small System:  Petersburg Area Transit (PAT)
 Award Winner – Medium System:  Alexandria Transit Co/DASH
 Honorable Mention:  Blacksburg Transit

bullet OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MARKETING AWARDS

 Award Winner – Small System:  Blacksburg Transit
 Award Winner – Large System:  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
 Honorable Mention:  Alexandria Transit Co/DASH
 Honorable Mention:  GRTC Transit System


INDIVIDUAL AWARDS


Mayor Kerry Donley

As Mayor, Vice Mayor, and Council member of the City of Alexandria, Mr. Kerry Donley has advanced transit in the region serving as chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation District Commission.  Now a private citizen, he continues to contribute as a Board member of the Alexandria Transit Company and a representative of the Potomac Yard Metro Implementation group. In his most recent term as Vice-Mayor, Kerry Donley stepped up to create an Ad Hoc group composed  of concerned citizens, the City and DASH staff to work with Department of Defense officials to avert a looming congestion nightmare and craft new commuter transit and TDM solutions.

With the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) decisions, the City of Alexandria was faced with a looming influx of 6,500 Department of Defense (DOD) employees and contractors relocating to a new office building, known as the Mark Center. The project was controversial because the area lacked sufficient infrastructure to avoid gridlock on local streets and highways.  Initially, DOD considered transportation infrastructure and costs to be strictly local issues.

Under Mayor Kerry Donley’s leadership, DASH, the City and citizens were able to convince DOD to support a robust Transportation Management Plan largely based on shuttle service from a number of Metro rail stations.  Furthermore, DOD agreed to pay for the operation of express bus service.

Dash has been the designated express service provider for 77,000 trips since service began.  The route is easy to understand, the fare is free for employees during peak hours, the service is frequent and the drivers are friendly.

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OUTSTANDING PROGRAM AWARDS

Award Winner Small System:  Petersburg Area Transit (PAT)

Photo of PAT awardA concern recently surfaced that PAT didn’t have a route serving the U.S. 460-County Drive Hispanic Community. Residents stated that they often had to pay unreasonable amounts of money to be transported to doctor’s appointments, social services appointments, shopping areas, recreational events and social events. PAT felt adding a public transit option was of particular concern to the Hispanic community living in the 460 County Drive area. The City of Petersburg and PAT are committed to establishing trust and providing a valued public transit service. Additionally, embracing the community and connecting them to the rest of the City is all about community development.  Now the 460 County Drive residents can have a sigh of relief of not being charged large amounts of money to use other transportation options such as taxis and hired drivers. After working with a consultant and a liaison for the Hispanic community, a never before transit served area was finally addressed.

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Award Winner Medium System:  Alexandria Transit Co/DASHPhoto of Dash award

Alexandria Transit Company launched their new DASH Mark Center Express service on August 8. The start of the service coincided with the beginning of the Department of Defense (DoD) move to the new Mark Center Station, BRAC-133 site at Seminary Road and Beauregard Street. The new, high frequency, express bus service, coupled with the existing DASH AT2 route, operates every 10 minutes between the Mark Center Station and King Street Metro during the weekday peak periods, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.to 6 p.m. The express service between the King Street Metro and Mark Center Station has no intermediate stops, and passengers are able to connect to Metrorail, Metrobus the REX service, other DASH routes, VRE and Amtrak trains at King Street Metro.

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Honorable Mention:  Blacksburg Transit

Photo of Blacksburg Transit awardBlacksburg Transit launched the Transportation Planning Internship Program in 2009 to provide BT with current urban planning experience, provide students with real world experience, and groom the next generation of transit professionals for the transportation industry. To date the program has generated 1,400 hours of unpaid work on planning transportation issues, provided eight interns with real world experience in planning and four of the eight interns are now employed in various areas of the planning/transportation industry. Dr. Erik Olsen the BT transportation Planner commented “it’s a real win, win, win situation for BT, the students and the transportation industry as whole.”

Based on the positive results over the last four years BT plans to continue the program.

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OUTSTANDING PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION MARKETING AWARDSbar

Award Winner Small System:  Blacksburg Transit

Blacksburg Transit was awarded the outstanding public transportation marketing awardPhoto of Blacksburg Transit awardfor a small system for increasing awareness and use of BT4U, a cell phone-based service providing real-time departure times for individual stops.

After developing BT4U in-house, the organization faced the dual challenge of creating awareness and getting passengers to try the new service. A comprehensive marketing plan was developed to include multiple communications tactics delivered in multiple ways. The most important aspect was to make sure the information was simple, easy to use and could be used by all customers regardless of phone type or capability.

When first deployed in 2011 the BT4U service received approximately 100 text message hits per day; over a year later the system averages around 350 texts per day, not including web usage. Continued marketing of the BT4U service is planned for the next two years, specifically targeting new residents.

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Award Winner Large System:  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Metro isPhoto of WMATA award engaged in its largest rebuilding program since the system’s construction ‐ $5 billion over six years ‐ to provide safer, more reliable service. The Metro Forward campaign is designed to inform customers and stakeholders about capital investments being made in Metro; demonstrate that the investments are being well‐spent; make a case for sustained and expanded funding; retain current riders and attract new riders; and instill ownership among customers, employees and the public. Metro is accomplishing these goals by not only highlighting the work, but also by explaining why it is needed and the benefits such as new escalators, more‐reliable service, better information, new vehicles and more.

“This multi‐year rebuilding effort is now underway. We are committed to keeping the public well‐informed about each project and how it delivers safer, more on‐time, better quality service in the months and years ahead,” said Richard Sarles, Metro General Manager and CEO.

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Honorable Mention:  Alexandria Transit Co/DASHPhoto of DASH award

The King Street Trolley is a free trolley in Alexandria, VA that operates from the King Street Metrorail Station to the Potomac River waterfront daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. The trolley was initiated four years ago as a way to disperse tourist dollars throughout Old Town. The idea for a trolley service along King Street was in response to the new National Harbor development and its goal was to provide a means to attract tourists and visitors to Alexandria from there. A water taxi was established and the City wanted to have a way to move tourists from the dock to the shops, landmarks, and historic attractions. Since DASH began operating the King Street Trolley, ridership has increased to more than 65%.

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Honorable Mention:  GRTC Transit System

Research demonstrPhoto of GRTC Awardated that RideFinder’s highly successful vanpooling program was a great opportunity to raise awareness with new audiences. The strategy was simple. Vanity Vanpool, a Team RideFinders hero, would champion vanpooling by enticing people to follow her as she joined her fellow vanpoolers. Falling in love with Vanity’s personality leads to falling in love with vanpooling. A :60 second commercial was developed around this premise. The campaign drove home this message using traditional media marketing while creating an emotional connection between commuters and vanpooling.

The campaign has exceeded the goals. Vanity Vanpool was woven into the campaign seamlessly creating a compelling visual story through which audiences could connect.

  • Before the campaign launch in October, RideFinders vanpool fleet increased by 5.5%
  • February, 2013 vanpool registrations soared to 22%
  • Twitter followers increased 43%
  • Unique website numbers experienced a 35% increase from September to February

Audiences fell in love with vanpooling.

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