September 16, 2015

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM
Location: Enoch Pratt Free Library (400 Cathedral Street)

John Barrier, David Benn, David Bouchard, Liz Briscoe, Chuck Brown, Robin Budish, Obie Chinemere, Zach Chissell, Liz Cornish, Candace Croston, Rufus Davis, Ryan Dorsey, George Frazier, Jen Fischetti, Tony Green, Mark Heishman, Greg Hinchcliffe, Phil Lacombe, Jeff LaNoue, Jim Leanos, Colby McFarland, Chris Merriam, Joe Nathanson, Jim Knighton, Eric Norton, Brooks Phelps, Kevin Quinn, Jimmy Rouse, Greg Smith, Sandy Sparks, Kristin Speaker, Raven Thompson

Moderator: Rufus Davis, Manager of Transportation & Operations Services at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the attendees for coming. Rufus then introduced the first guest speaker.

Speaker: Paul W. Comfort, Esq. Administrator/CEO – Maryland Transit Administration
Presentation: “The MTA’s Baltimore Transit Improvement Initiative”

Presentation highlights: The Maryland Transit Administration – Investing in the future of Maryland

  • Presentation Overview

1. Core Mission (To provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service)
2. Scope and Functions of the MTA
3. Changing the Culture
4. Key Performance Indicators
5. Vision for Improving Transit

  • Mission Elements

1. Maintain equipment and facilities in a state of good repair
2. Deploy an active law enforcement presence to keep crime low and reinforce a perception of safety

1. Allocate limited resources to meet areas of highest demand
2. Manage MTA’s internal processes to save taxpayer funds and minimize bureaucratic process delays

1. Get people where they want to go on time, every time
2. Connect reliably to other services (Amtrak, local transit, shuttle services)

  • Mission Foundation – World-Class Customer Service

1. Responsiveness, flexibility and customer-centered communications
2. An entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving
3. Uniformly professional demeanor, from the front line to supporting departments

  • MTA Functions (Operates throughout the State of Maryland, primarily in the Baltimore metropolitan area):

1. Local Bus, Metro Subway, Light Rail
2. MARC Train, Commuter Bus
3. Mobility Paratransit
4. Freight
– Contracts with Amtrak and Bombardier to operate MARC Train
– Commuter Bus outsourced to seven private companies throughout Maryland
– Mobility Paratransit is a contracted service
– Provides funding and statewide support of Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS) in jurisdictions throughout Maryland
– Liaison with WMATA in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties

  • Changing the Culture

1. Managers are held accountable for performance
2. Decision makers are empowered to lead and think creatively
3. New team members are joining the agency
4. Input and feedback actively sought from front-line employees
5. On-Time Performance is measured daily
6. Employee absenteeism is measured daily
7. Fleet and manpower requirements are assessed daily
8. Managers’ dashboard is under development
9. Online posting of key performance indicators on October 1, 2015

  • Key Performance Indicators

1.  Ridership
2. On-Time Performance
3. Farebox Recovery


  • MTA will become a premier transit system through a relentless focus on safety, efficiency, reliability and world-class customer service.
  •  Improvements are already underway internally with personnel and process improvements, and externally with a review of MTA’s core system to adapt it to today’s economy and demographics.
  • Governor Hogan and Secretary Rahn support transit and improvement efforts.
  • Partnerships with Transit Choices and other advocacy groups is essential.
  • We can work together for better transit services, which will stimulate economic development, connect people to all parts of the city and region, and improve the overall quality of life.

Additional comments:

–  The MTA wants to change the culture from entitlement to accountability.
–  #1 complaint MTA receives is that buses are not reliable The MTA is now measuring on time performance on a daily basis to address this issue.
–  2/3 of the people in Baltimore ride buses.
–  The MTA is a state agency controlled by state law.
–  The current bus route structure is 40 years old, MTA is working to create a better product.
–  Connections to other transit is essential.
–  An RFP (request for proposal) will be issued in October/November 2015 to redo all of the electronics on buses. Responses are due back within one year, approximately. MTA will be hosting a conference inviting the public to develop a mobile app.
–  The MTA is working to address the absenteeism of bus drivers by improving morale through better communication and better analysis of the issues.

Speaker: Brad Read, President – TIG/m, LLC
Presentation: “The 2nd Self-Powered Streetcar Revolution”

Presentation Highlights:

  • Self-Powered Streetcar Systems – Can deliver impressive increases in:

1. Affordability
– 40-50% Reduction in first cost of infrastructure installation.
– This can be much higher with in-ground high-voltage systems
– 50+% Reduction in long term costs of system maintenance.
– By elimination of wayside power maintenance and stray current repairs.

2. Livability
–  Aesthetic improvement to the community by elimination of overhead wires and their support structures
–  Elimination of wayside substations and feeder systems returns valuable space to the public and private sectors.

  • TIG/m

1. To reduce streetcar infrastructure impacts and costs by eliminating the need for continuous off-board electrification systems.
2. By doing so, make the re-introduction of electric street railway into cities that removed their original streetcar infrastructure more achievable.
3. TIG/m has spent the past ten years redesigning every system and sub-system in the streetcar to operate at minimum energy consumption while maximizing power and safety as required in a transit vehicle system. TIG/m streetcars require no overhead catenary or other type of external power supply, they operate entirely on an internal battery/hybrid system:

  • Self-Powered Streetcar Technology
    Hydrogen Production and Fueling System


  • TIG/m provides turn-key street railway system design, construction, and vehicle fabrication:

a. Demand Analysis/Feasibility Study
b. Civil Design of track alignments
c. Track Engineering
d. Maintenance Facility Design
e. Design and Procurement of track, rail hardware, and special-work (switches)
f. Track and Infrastructure construction
g. Design and Fabrication of streetcars
h. Operations and maintenance

Additional comments:

– TIG/m produces streetcars without the overhead wires
– The streetcars run on an internal battery hybrid system
– The system is battery dominant and the streetcars can run for 24 hours without any stop for recharging
– TIG/m manufactures both heritage and modern streetcars

Discussion Summary: Meeting attendees were given the opportunity at the conclusion of both presentations, to share their feedback and to provide suggestions, ideas and concerns with the guest speakers. Electronic copies of both PowerPoint presentations will be made available to the full Transit Choices group.

Jimmy Rouse: thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and acknowledged guest speakers, Paul Comfort and Brad Read for their interesting presentations. He then gave an update on recent Transit Choices activities:

  • The confluence of the following three events 1) Red Line cancellation, 2) Opportunity Collaborative report and 3) April 2015 uprisings have brought the issue of transit to the forefront. In particular, we must connect people to jobs in the inner-city and also continue advocating for additional transit resources.
  • In an effort to impact the transit conversation on many levels, Jimmy reported on the following recent meetings at which ideas about the path forward for transportation planning and funding in Baltimore and beyond were discussed. All meetings were described as collaborative, positive and productive.
    –        Congressman Elijah Cummings
    –        Jim Brady (Governor Hogan’s transition chairman)
    –        Todd Lang (Baltimore Metropolitan Council/BRTB)
    –        Kevin Quinn (MTA)
    –        Vinnie DeMarco (Lobbyist/Strategist)
    –        Henry Bogdan (Maryland NonProfits)
    –        Kevin Kamenetz (Baltimore County Executive)
    –        Delegate Brooke Lierman
    –        Delegate Maggie McIntosh
    –        William Johnson (Baltimore City DOT)
    –        Dan Sparaco (Mayor’s Office)
  • Upcoming scheduled meetings:
    –        Craig Williams (Governor Hogan Chief of Staff)
    –        Marty Madden (Special Adviser to Governor Hogan)
    –        Keiffer Mitchell (Special Adviser to Governor Hogan)
    –        Michael Cryor (OneBaltimore)
  • Jimmy shared the following important upcoming Transit Report deadlines:

1. October 1, 2015 – the MTA will be submitting a report incorporating all of the information they have been collecting from recent stakeholders meetings outlining MTA policy recommendations.
2. October 15, 2015 – MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn will report back to the legislature transit alternatives to the Red Line.
3. October 30, 2015 – County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, head of The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) has tasked the board to come up with an alternative plan to the Red Line.

  • Transit Choices is working to consolidate advocacy groups concerned with transit (CMTA, 1000 Friends, CPHA) to write a letter of recommendation to the BRTB for both short & long term improvements on transit.

Other Business:

  • Robin Budish thanked Rufus Davis for serving as moderator, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library for generously donating the meeting space.
  • On November18, 2015 and December 16, 2015, Transit Choices will be hosting two non-partisan City Council Candidate forums on the topic of Transit. Both forums will be held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM. Marc Steiner (WEAA talk show host) has expressed interest in serving as moderator. The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA), Citizens Planning & Housing Association (CPHA) and 1000 Friends of Maryland have agreed to partner with Transit Choices on the events.