The American Public Transportation Association has named the Capital District Transportation Authority the "outstanding" midsize mass transit system in North America for 2017, officials announced Tuesday.
"Our approach to mobility is leading the pack; the vision we have of being more than just a bus company is working," CDTA board Chairman David Stackrow said at the University of Albany's Bob Ford athletic field, where the authority hosted a lively rally to announce the honor. Employees, retirees and a number of local officials attended the event.
CDTA has carried about 17 million riders annually over the past two years, an increase of 25 percent from seven years ago. And, over the past year, it has expanded into bike-sharing, developing taxi regulations for the region and has started working toward partnerships with ride-sharing services. The authority is also launching a new mobile payment and electronic payment system.
The CDTA's busiest route is the BusPlus rapid line between Albany and Schenectady which launched in 2011. Two more BusPlus routes are in development.
"This is an unbelievable accomplishment by 700 people who come to work every day to move people safely, conveniently and reliably across the Capital Region," said CDTA CEO Carm Basile.
The award is given annually by the Washington, D.C.-based association, which represents public mass transit agencies across the country and in Canada.
"Receiving the 2017 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award is a very prestigious honor," said Richard A. White, acting president and CEO of APTA. "In particular, I commend CDTA for its successful community partnerships that have led to a record ridership over the last several years, showing how vital CDTA is to the Capital Region."
CDTA serves Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties. It also owns the Amtrak stations in Rensselaer and Saratoga Springs. A number of colleges and businesses have financial agreements with CDTA that allow students and employees to ride for free.
"When they see a need, they fill it, whether it's more frequent routes within a certain community, more and better bicycle racks on the front of the buses, helping better coordinate taxi service throughout the region, or an easy-to-use mobile interface so riders can check arrival schedules," said Mark Eagan, CEO of the Capital Region Chamber.
The award will be formally presented to CDTA officials at a conference in early October in Atlanta.
CDTA was created by the state Legislature in 1970. It has 685 employees.