CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES

January 22, 2001

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: OTHERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Vice-Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

Donald Sherman

Gary Powers

Hugh Mose, General Manager

Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, State College Borough Liaison

I. CALL TO ORDER

Vice-Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:16 p.m. and introduced Mr. Gary Powers. Mr. Powers is the newly appointed Patton Township Representative. Mr. Mose welcomed Mr. Powers and mentioned that his background includes 10 years in the U.S. Navy and 15 years at Corning. He is presently with South Hills School of Business and Industry.

 

II. 2001 ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS

A. Election of officers

Vice-Chairman Spychalski noted that, in accordance with the Authority’s By-Laws, the election of Board Officers is to occur annually at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the new calendar year. The 2000 Board officers were:

Chairman - Robert Link, Patton Township

Vice-Chairman - John Spychalski, Ferguson Township

Treasurer - Richard Kipp, Harris Township

Asst. Treasurer - Judith Minor, CATA Director of Administration

Secretary - Hugh Mose, CATA General Manager

 

Mr. Davidson nominated Mr. Spychalski as Chairman, Mr. Sherman as Vice-Chairman, Mr. Kipp as Treasurer, Ms. Minor as Asst. Treasurer, and Mr. Mose as Secretary for the year 2001. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further nominations, Vice-Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the slate of officers was elected by unanimous consent.

B. Resolution of Appreciation

Chairman Spychalski read the Resolution of Appreciation to Bob Link for his many years of service as a CATA Board member, including the last five years as Chairman of the Board.

Chairman Spychalski moved that the Board adopt the enclosed Resolution of Appreciation for Bob Link. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the resolution was adopted unanimously. Chairman Spychalski presented the resolution to Mr. Link.

 

                    C. Appointment to the CRMPO Coordinating Committee

Mr. Mose reported that for the past six years Bob Link had served as CATA’s representative to the Centre Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (CRMPO) Coordinating Committee. The CRMPO Coordinating Committee is the policy-making body of the federally-mandated planning organization responsible for determining which transportation projects are designated for federal funding. With Mr. Link’s departure from the CATA Board, a new representative needs to be designated. Mr. Mose also noted that as General Manager, he represents CATA on the CRMPO Technical Committee and also serves as alternate on the Coordinating Committee in the absence of the appointed Board member.

Mr. McCarl noted that he also serves on the Coordinating Committee as the Borough’s representative and stressed the importance of this appointment to the Committee.

Mr. Sherman moved that Chairman Spychalski be nominated as the new representative to the CRMPO Coordinating Committee. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. There being no further nominations, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

III. PUBLIC COMMENTS - CITIZEN INPUT

Chairman Spychalski called for comments or input from the general public.

Ms. Marissa Naspinski, PSU Student, noted that she is required by her class to attend a civic meeting and as a regular bus rider, she selected CATA. In response to Ms. Naspinski, Mr. Mose noted that a consultant hired to select a site for a new intercity bus terminal was conducting meetings with stakeholder groups, and had set up a table at the HUB to solicit student input on the project.

 

IV. OLD BUSINESS

 

                    A. Approval of Minutes of November 27, 2000 Board Meeting

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve the minutes of the November 27, 2000 Board meeting as presented. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. Chairman Spychalski noted that the proper name on page 2, item C, should be Eno, rather than Enos, Foundation. He also noted that there needs to be a clearer explanation of the diesel/electric bus with rear wheels that steer which allows the bus to turn in its own length. There being no further discussion or revisions, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Receipt of the November and December 2000 Finance Reports              

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board receive the November and December 2000 Finance Reports. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor noted that everything looks as expected, adding that the Authority is now drawing on Act 3 funds. Drivers wages are high as a result of extra overtime and extra service being provided.

In response to Chairman Spychalski, Ms. Minor noted that the auditors have directed that insurance reimbursements for the cost of accident repairs be credited toward insurance costs. There was further discussion of how such reimbursements are entered into the bookkeeping system and how they should offset the cost of revenue vehicle maintenance and parts.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Ms. Minor agreed that the insurance credit would also increase expenses, as well as receivables.

Mr. Davidson asked Ms. Minor to put together a more detailed explanation for the February Board meeting.

 

C. Campus Free-Fare Zone

Mr. Mose reminded the Board of past discussions regarding a free-fare zone on campus and downtown. Mr. Davidson had asked staff to provide more detailed information. Referring to the memo included in the agenda packet which outlines staff’s plans for a free-fare zone on the Penn State campus, Mr. Mose reviewed the recommendation for a pilot program. Although the end result is not as comprehensive a program as he had hoped for, he still thinks it will serve to demonstrate whether the concept will work while minimizing the possible adverse effects on Centre Line service.

Mr. Mose reported that it is staff’s plan to operate free-fare only on bus routes traveling across Curtin Road and only until 4:00 p.m. weekdays. Mr. Mose added that after extensive investigation, he is recommending that the best fare collection would be the honor system, realizing that there will be some lost revenues. Another problem will be rider confusion. Staff is considering different possibilities of bus identification.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board authorize the staff to implement the proposed modified free-fare zone on the Penn State campus, to run from the end of Spring Break until the end of the Spring Semester. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

Mr. Sherman stated that as long as the operational problems can be worked out with the Drivers, he supports giving this a try. Mr. Mose stated that he feels that the Authority has the support of the AFSCME Executive Board and with the good labor relations between staff and the represented employees, he feels everyone will give it their best effort to make it work.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that much of the criteria used to evaluate the service will rely on the reports from the Bus Drivers. He acknowledged that there is a possibility that large amounts of fares may be lost or regular riders may be unable to get to their destinations off campus because the buses are full with campus riders. However, the free-fare zone may relieve the over crowding on the LOOPs system, provide more frequent service to campus riders, and provide a more acceptable means of transportation for downtown employees. Staff will use all the information available to gauge the success or lack of success by the end of the semester.

In response to Mr. Kipp, Mr. Mose noted that hopefully the University will be doing some advertising and public information, but CATA will also be marketing the program with a wide range of public information.

In response to Mr. Powers, Mr. Mose briefly gave the history of the free LOOP/LINK service and the problem with the overcrowding. The free-fare zone will enable intra-campus riders to utilize the empty seats on regular Centre Line routes.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

 

V. NEW BUSINESS                   

A. 2001 Board Meeting Schedule

Chairman Spychalski reviewed the proposed meeting schedule for calendar year 2001.

January 22    February 26    March 26     April 23    June 4    June 25     July 23    August 27   September 24     October 22    November 26    December 17

All meetings will begin at 4:00 p.m. on the 4th Monday of the month with the exception of May and December. To avoid a conflict with Memorial Day and Christmas Eve, these have been scheduled for June 4 and December 17 respectively. All meetings have been scheduled for the State College Borough Council Chambers, 118 South Fraser Street, State College. Changes may occur and will be published during the year as necessary.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the proposed 2001 Board Meeting Schedule as presented. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. FY 2001/2002 Budget

Mr. Mose referred to the 2001/02 Budget Timetable. As required by the Authority’s By-Laws, each year a proposed Budget Timetable is presented at the January meeting for adoption.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board adopt the FY 2001/2002 Budget Timetable as presented or subsequently revised. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Mose noted that the change in the capital funding to the fiscal year timetable will begin with this budget.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

C. Resolution Authorizing the Filing of State Capital Grants; PT 574, PT 575, & PT 619

Chairman Spychalski referred to the memo which explains the procedures and purposes of the three resolutions.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the enclosed resolutions authorizing the Chairman to execute and authorize the filing of the above-referenced state capital project applications. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor briefly outlined the funding process for the grants. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

D. Substance Abuse Policy

Mr. Gilbert briefly described recent changes in CATA’s Substance Abuse Policy (S.A.P.). Mr. Gilbert noted that the Authority has been paying $46.00 for a drug test and $33 for an alcohol test. As a member of PENNTEST, CATA has entered into a contract with FIRSTLAB to provide testing services at a price of $36.75 per drug test and $30.00 per alcohol test, which represents a considerable savings to the Authority. Additionally, the Authority will now be dealing with a Pennsylvania company.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Gilbert noted that there has been only one positive test result in the five years the program has been in effect. That employee was given the opportunity for rehabilitation, but tested positive on the second return-to-work test, and subsequently resigned. Mr. Gilbert noted that 50% and 10% of the safety sensitive employees are randomly tested annually for drugs and alcohol respectively. There is also post-accident and reasonable suspicion testing, as well as pre-employment drug testing. Mr. Gilbert also explained the determination and requirements for post-accident testing, emphasizing that he feels this is a very good program which has been accepted by the work force.

In response to Chairman Spychalski regarding the language used on page 3, section 5.1, Mr. Gilbert noted that the wording is 100% compliant with the FTA and is the recommended language.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve the Substance Abuse Policy as revised. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

E. Mid-Year Review

Mr. Mose noted that midway through each fiscal year he tries to give the Board an update on the staff’s progress to date in addressing the goals that the Board established for the year. Mr. Mose reviewed the memo included in the Board packet which reports staff’s progress on the various goals and identifies other key projects the Authority has been involved in over the past year.

Mr. Mose then went over an attachment to his memo which outlined objective and subjective criteria with which the effectiveness of future service enhancements could be evaluated.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose tried to relate how the new free-fare zone could also be entered into this evaluation process. Mr. Kipp noted that the free-fare zone will increase the capacity of the LOOP system, since some of those people will be picked up by the other Centre Line buses. Mr. Mose pointed out that this could decrease the number of people on the LOOPs and LINK, but will increase the total number of riders on campus because now the people being passed by, who cannot get a ride at all on the overcrowded LOOPs, will be able to ride.

Mr. Sherman also pointed out the intangibles which are not included to establish these criteria, suggesting the goodwill of riders and people in the community as one example.

Chairman Spychalski noted that this is a good first step and asked that Mr. Mose give it a little more thought. One of the long standing characteristics of public transport, especially in the publicly owned sector, is the multiplicity of criteria which are used to judge performance. It’s not just based on profit and loss as it was with private ownership.

Mr. Kipp noted that it’s important to look at the criteria when expanding service, pointing out that the ridership to Tussey Mountain is impacting the ridership on the B Route. Mr. Bernier noted that this is really an odd situation, and its difficult to judge this particular type of service which is serving two totally different rider groups. Mr. Bernier also noted that some lower level criteria which could become factors would be serving the youth (< age 16) during the summers, or running near the public schools or public facilities.

Mr. Sherman noted that he is impressed by the flexibility of CATA to allow the Drivers to change some routing to meet a loyal rider’s needs.

 

F. Agreement with State College Borough - Park & Ride

Mr. Mose briefly reviewed the history of CATA’s agreement with the State College Borough to build a Park & Ride Lot. Mr. Mose then referred to the memo included in the agenda packet which describes the situation regarding the unpaid construction costs from the original Park & Ride lot at the site of the Jordan Center, and makes a series of recommendations. Briefly stated, in exchange for getting the Borough to "forgive" the $28,000 that remains unpaid, Mr. Mose noted that he’d like to allow them to offer their employees free Centre Line bus service and free access to the Park-and-Ride program for a period of three years. He also outlined several other enhancements that could benefit all downtown State College employers and employees.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to negotiate an agreement with State College Borough to expunge the unpaid amount remaining from the construction of the original Park-and-Ride lot. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that the Sparks Street Lot is full, but only because the Borough has rented out the extra spots to the residents in that area. Those residents know that their parking space can be taken back if needed by downtown employees.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose noted that the Request for Proposals (RFP) has been released for architectural/engineering services for the office expansion. Now staff needs a volunteer from the Board to be on the committee to review the proposals. Mr. Mose noted that the staff is not particularly looking for a firm experienced in the transit industry.

Chairman Spychalski asked that any Board member interested in serving on this committee contact Mr. Mose by January 29, 2001.

Mr. Mose also noted that when he recently called Houston Metro to follow up on their surplus CNG buses, he was told that his former contact there is no longer employed by that Authority. He is now waiting for a call back from his replacement.

In response to Mr. Kipp’s inquiry about the fueling dispenser canopy, Mr. Mose noted that even with the expense of installing modified footers, the pre-engineered canopy will show a significant savings over the original amount budgeted. Mr. Gilbert reviewed the plans for the modified footers.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Gilbert reported that Mark Kutzer, one of CATA’s mechanics, is presently at New Flyer in Minnesota as the on-site production inspector. Nine buses have arrived from the fabricating plan in Winnipeg and the first bus should come off the production line by Friday. Delivery is expected in February.

Ms. Minor asked the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer to sign the bank signature card for Board Officers.

Mr. Kipp pointed out an area on Curtin Road that is dangerous for pedestrians. Mr. Gilbert noted that there are several bad areas, but there is nothing the Authority can do at this time. Mr. Mose noted that the University feels the cost for a bus pull-off in that area would be too expensive unless CATA is willing to help pay for it. He feels the University is reluctant to invest in a pull-off on a street that may be closed to through traffic under the University’s master plan.

Chairman Spychalski suggested having staff explore other alternatives, such as signage, rather than putting money toward improvements which could be very short lived. Mr. Mose will pursue that with the University.

VI. ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Spychalski thanked the Board for electing him to serve as Chairman.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:51 p.m.