Transit Choices

I have been a member of Transit Choices probably two years, maybe three years.Janet Eveland is the moderator today.  She is an attorney and non-profit consultant and the chair, Transportation Task Force, Greater Baybrook alliance.

Transdev is the largest provider of multi-modular transit in the world.  Six months ago Transdev and Maryland New Directions were introduced by Transit Choices.  We have a private-profit and non-profit partnership.

Mark Heishman said that 11 January 2010 the Circulator was launched.  Many of the employees of Maryland New Directions were a mile from the last bus stop.  After meeting with them, they asked Transdev to train CDR operators.  Mike Romeo started off as a bus operator in New York Transit.  In New York City he did not need a car and he did not want a car.  Here he tried to use the transit system.  It is a challenge.  Some times things work, some times they donít.

In 2015 Maurice Good decided to return to Baltimore.  When he returned he had a conversation with the executive director and he is back.  They were looking for a way to bridge the gap.  They had employees tell them that they want liveable wage employment but they canít get to the jobs.  Robbin suggested that they talk to Transdev and they began the dialogue.

Training goals.

We had to prepare the job seeker to understand that it is mine then just coming for three weeks.  There is a lot entailed an a lot of work on their behalf in terms of knowledge learned.

Before coming to Transdev, Maryland New Directions has to train the clients on how to be a new employee.

About Transdev.  They employ over 83,000 people and manages transportation in 19 countries.  They run 300 mobility vehicles every day in the City and 650 cabs, Yellow, Sun, and Checkers.  The blue super shuttles to the airport are also theirs. 

When they came into the United States, they cam in through Baltimore.  They purchased Yellow Bus Service and Yellow Cab in 2001.  Mark Joseph is their CEO.  He is a Baltimore person.

Corporate Responsibility.  They have the highest standard for safety.  The operators get 160 hours of training.

They run six autonomous vehicles in France.  They can do whatever their clients want.  For some contracts they provide operators only.

Steve said that his job is to help people find jobs.

Six percent is the unemployment rate of Baltimore City.  Their whole focus is to get people back to work who want to work.  We are changing lives, one job at a time.

Maryland New Directions is celebrating their 45th year next May.  It started as Baltimore New Directions.  They serve people in the surrounding countries also.

Program Cycle.

The first part is the need.  There are local and national needs.  Maryland New Direction spends the three weeks with the cadets teaching them job skills that most of us already know.  They teach them simple things like being on time.

We started a conversation in May and by October we had successfully completed our first cohort.  What is the culture for Transdev?  When they left us, they knew what to expect.  We had a lot of people who wanted to get a CDL.  By orientation the number has dropped in half and when it was time to start, that number also dropped in half.

Steve needed to learn about air brakes and how they work.  What is following distance?  At the end of the training the clients end up with their learnerís permit and endorsement that the need.

Once you are on board, it is a career.  Our intention is to continue this process.  It is really a great program.


13 people enrolled.  Over 50 said that they wanted to get a CDL.  17 showed up.  They had to bring a certified copy of their driving records.

Twelve completed Phase I, the three weeks of training.  If you are compensated, you are a professional driver.

Nine of the 12 passed the DOT physical.  Eight of the nine students obtained CDL Class B Learners Permits.

Lessons Learned.

You need committed leadership.  You need for the leadership to buy into what you are doing.  We are looking to replicate the model because there is a great need.  People want a good paying job.  You are starting at almost $20 an hour with union benefits.

More than half of Transdev staff started out as operators.  It is definitely a long term career.

There is a criminal background check.  Distribution of drugs is an impediment.  It is crime specific as well as length of time.  Maryland New Directions does all the background thing and Transdev has to do them again.

The last mile project is a problem. Maryland New Directions had a forum in July and brought together stake holders.  MTA was there.  They had a fruitful conversation about solutions.  They have a template something like Uber.

The DOT is $250 per person.  This is just to pass the physical and get the DOT card.  The test is $90.

A man said that the employer should pay for the last mile.  Transdev picked its location because the Light Rail is there.  People can park at the Casino parking lot for $50 a month and take the shuttle to work.

Transdev runs the Long Island bus, 800 buses.

Update, Jimmy Rouse

It is our participation that gives Transit Choices vitality and life.

Last Monday we met with the head of DOT.  She will be here 8 December 2017.  She is searching for a director of policy for the Cityís DOT.  We gave her a list.

Last week a press conference on Tiger Grant was held in front of this building.  What changes are needed along North Avenue to create North Avenue Rising?  The one here is 13 November 2017.  They are 13 to 16 November 2017.  One idea is a streetcar on North Avenue to Mondawmin.  Then we would have a north-south connection on the East side on Broadway.

We have to sell people the vision and if enough people get behind the vision, we can figure out where to get the money.  The 1968 riots began on North Avenue and so did the Freddie Gray riots.  The governor, mayor, and Pete Rohn of MDOT thanked Jimmy Rouse for the work that Transit Choices is doing.

We are meeting with each city council person to find out how their district is working with BaltimoreLink.  Jimmy is impressed with the new group of city council people.  They met with Shannon Sneed, Bill Henry, and three other.  They will meet with Mary Pat Clark next week.

Bill Henry said that when people come to him with state issues, he sends them to the state legislator.  People can come to the City Council and Transit Choices will feed the information to the MTA.

We arranged a meeting with Brooke Lierman and Zeke Cohen and they took their complaints to Kevin Queen.  The feedback with them was very specific.  Kevin listened and responded.  Everybody left that meeting happy.  They came into the meeting angry but did not leave angry.  We have a very few leadership by the MTA.  We have not had a good bus system in Baltimore for decades since the streetcars disappeared.  Governor Hogan wants a good system.

There were many concerns and issues among the Southeastern route.  Kevin is looking at realignment.

Kevin Quinn pointed out two problems.  Daily between 20 and 30% of the drivers donít come to work and buses are crowded.  He is attacking that problem.  There is plenty of room to attack it.  When a driver comes in with a note from the doctor, they call the doctor.  They have additional buses.

Another issue is overcrowding caused by bunching.  They have put GPS on all the buses and they hope to have real time on all the buses.  Kevin is very responsible to their e-mail and phone calls.

Get Maryland Moving

This is a project of Brian OíMally.  Their first movement was the fare box recovery.  Dru Sshmidt Perkins was key on this.  We have a member of the steering committee of the Get Maryland Movement.  We should have a lead on BaltimoreLink and they should work on a regional plan.  The new plan will be multi-modual and not just all rails.  It will look at Uber and Lyftís role in transit.  The Greater Washington Alliance and the Greater Baltimore Committee might be a part of this.

BikeShare disappeared.  It was supposed to come back last Sunday.  It came back in abbreviated form.  The new system doesnít use stations.  You put the bikes on the streets and your smart phone will unlock them.  There are four systems in Washington DC.  Liz Cornish wants to talk to them but before inviting them to our meeting.

The next meeting will be Friday 8 December 2017.

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