APTA Hosts Commuter Rail CEOs for Critical Conversations


APTA Chair Michele Wong Krause and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas kicked off the Commuter Rail CEOs Workshop in Washington, DC, Dec. 6. The meeting was led by Catherine Rinaldi, newly elected chair of APTA’s Commuter Rail Committee and president of New York MTA Metro-North Railroad.

Noting that commuting to work has changed significantly since the pandemic, Krause said that rail ridership continues to rebound with traditional twice-daily “rush hours” now being replaced by four or five smaller peak ridership times throughout the day in some cities.

“Today, commuter rail is about more than commuting,” Krause said. “With today’s changing work patterns and rider preferences, it is vital that we fully understand our commuter railroads’ needs, and that’s the goal of this workshop.”

The workshop featured updates from FRA and the Surface Transportation Board and a breakdown of APTA’s research initiatives and commuter rail legislative priorities, including full funding of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Additional discussion areas included ridership recovery and the rider experience, the evolving nature of travel, safety, homelessness, workforce recruitment and retention, and more.

Telling the commuter rail CEOs that “this is a critical time to be in Washington,” Skoutelas explained that public transit and passenger rail programs are funded by the federal government only through January 19, 2024.

“You are our most knowledgeable and persuasive advocates for continued funding,” Skoutelas said. “You know what’s needed to strengthen commuter rail service now and into the future.”

Both Krause and Skoutelas explained that the Commuter Rail CEOs Workshop will help APTA to be more influential and effective in meetings with Members of Congress and with officials from FRA and FTA.