C-Tran has been named the North American Transit System of the Year for the second time in a row.
The public transportation system, headquartered in Vancouver, was given the award by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). It also received the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award for systems with 4 million or fewer trips.
“We’re so honored,” said Inessa Vitko, C-Tran’s chief operations officer. “Being selected the first time was such an amazing moment for us, and to think about it and know ‘oh my gosh, we got it a second time,’ is almost unbelievable.”
Vitko said when CEO Shawn Donaghy shared the news about the transit system of the year award, Vitko’s eyes “instantly filled up with tears” because she was so excited.
“(The employees) do such an incredible job serving Clark County every single day,” she said. “Their hard work, their selfless efforts are being recognized in this scenario as some of that industry’s highest standards.”
Vitko said very few agencies have received the award more than once.
She said C-Tran serves the community by helping people get access to job opportunities, health care and schools.
The award is given to transportation systems who excel in multiple areas like safety, operations, maintenance, and diversity, as well as customer service. It also recognizes financial management, workforce development, employee costs, marketing, community relations, and access, which includes Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
The award is given based on evaluations of the company over the past three years.
Vitko highlighted C-Tran’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, who she said were a contributing factor to the acquisition of the award.
“(The committee) worked really hard together to help us ensure that we’re educating our workforce and working with our staff members to learn about mental health awareness, LGBTQ history, celebrating Black lives, so they helped us get involved in more community events,” she said.
C-Tran also received a finding of “no deficiencies” from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) during the three-year review window, which Vitko said is a testament to their employees following the rules that are in place.
“The federal reviews are part of the FTA oversight process for agencies that receive federal funding. The purpose of those reviews are to help us best manage our assets that the federal government helps fund,” Vitko said. “The reviews are intended to help us ensure regulatory compliance. They demonstrate to the FTA that we’re following the requirements, but probably most importantly, that we’re understanding the requirements.”
She added the federal government has a prescribed list of areas like ADA and civil rights requirements that are recognized when deciding who gets the “no deficiencies” recognition. For C-Tran employees, that entails training, staying current on federal circulars that are issued, and internal reviews that C-Tran conducts.
Vitko said C-Tran is currently building its second alignment of the Bus Rapid Transit system along Mill Plain Boulevard and will build future ones for use on Highway 99.
C-Tran and the rest of this year’s award winners will be honored at APTA’s national TRANSform conference in October.
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