This article originally appeared on the BABC Thought Leadership Platform on April 19th, 2017.
With the largest generation of Americans (baby boomers) reaching the age of retirement and leaving the workforce, transit agencies, amongst many other companies that provide service to the elderly, have had to make some key changes to keep up. The main focus of this shift in thinking has hinged on the idea of creating a community environment that will allow baby boomers to age in place. Changes in the housing and transit industries have already been put into motion over the last few years to start the development of the modern community environment for retirees.
When a transit contract is coming to its end, and it's time to entertain proposals from potential transit contractors, it's often considered less risky to choose the incumbent contractor for the new period, due to familiarity with that company's personnel, processes, and past history of performance. But switching from the current contractor to a new one can offer some benefits to the transit agency, which can range from cost savings, increased efficiency and performance, and improved technology, along with the potential for a new contractor to overdeliver in order to retain the new contract.
Labor unions have represented the rank and file in the United States for well over a century, emerging quickly as an authoritative voice to protect the shared interests of workers. Although the workplace has evolved through the intervening years and union membership has declined nationally, union representation continues to be prevalent in some industries, including the transit industry.
Public transportation is the lifeblood of most U.S. cities and metropolitan areas. Tens of millions of people rely on buses, trains, and light rail to travel.
Transit agencies have always been at the mercy of market forces, balancing viable transportation technologies with rider demand and, of course, successful business practices. One way that this balance has been addressed has been through the adoption of economical propulsion technologies, such as CNG (compressed natural gas).
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