Rural Transit Day is observed on July 16 every year. The National Rural Transit Assistance Program (National R.T.A.P.) established the holiday in 2019. This day focuses on what transit agencies are doing to recognize passengers and staff. There are contests and chats on Twitter, where users share thoughts about the benefits, challenges, and solutions in rural transit. Agencies are also encouraged to take the Rural Transit Day Pledge to show their commitment to the cause, and to recognize the rural transit heroes working with them.
History of Rural Transit Day
Since 1979, the Federal Transit Administration (F.T.A.) has provided states with formula funding to establish and maintain transit systems in communities with populations under 50,000. However, they soon realized that providing quality service required particular skills and knowledge from community transit drivers, dispatchers, maintenance workers, managers, and board members. Thus, in 1986, the Congress authorized the creation of the National R.T.A.P. for this purpose under Section 16(h) of the “Surface Transportation Act,” and it began operating on July 1, 1987.
Since then, they have developed and distributed training materials, provided technical assistance, created web-based applications, produced reports, published best practices, conducted research, and offered peer assistance for rural and tribal transit providers and state R.T.A.P. programs. The program aimed to improve the quality of training and technical assistance resources available to the industry, as well as encourage and assist state, local, and peer networks to address training and technical assistance needs, promoting the coordination of transportation services, and building a national database of industry data.
They offer free technical assistance programs and resources that include training materials, webinars, newsletters and technical briefs, peer resources, research, and innovative technology initiatives. Between 1992 and 2008, the National R.T.A.P. has been operated under a cooperation agreement between the F.T.A. and the Neponset Valley Transportation Management Association. In 1994, they started awarding Achievements in Rural Transit Assistance. They held the first National R.T.A.P. Technical Assistance Conference in 2012. In 2019, they held the first Rural Transit Day and the first Tribal Transit Awards, and in 2021, they held the first Tribal Transit Mini-Conference.
Rural Transit Day timeline
The F.T.A. creates the National R.T.A.P. to teach special skills and knowledge to community transit drivers, dispatchers, maintenance workers, managers, and board members.
The National R.T.A.P. is administered by the Neponset Valley T.M.A., which operates under a cooperation arrangement with these two organizations.
The conference focuses on the implementation and improvement of rural and tribal transit programs.
The first Tribal Transit awards take place.
Rural Transit Day FAQs
What is the role of transport in rural areas?
Its role is to facilitate the access people have to goods, services, and information.
What kind of transportation do people in rural areas use?
The types of rural public transportation include demand–response public transportation (dial-a-ride), traditional and deviated fixed-route services, vanpool, or reimbursement programs.
What is the rural-urban gap?
As a country experiences urbanization, the rural-urban gap or disparity increases. For example, if labor productivity in rural areas rises at a slower rate than in urban areas, that means the rural-urban gap is increasing. Transit and public transportation are often some of the most noticeable examples of the rural-urban gap.
How to Observe Rural Transit Day
Take the pledge
If you have a transit or transportation agency, you can take the Rural Transit Day pledge to show your commitment to rural transit. It comprises a set of 10 ideas to improve the service.
Create Rural Transit Day hero cards
If you have an agency, this is a way to recognize your best employees and their efforts. Download an M.S. Word Rural Transit Day hero card and personalize it with a photo and information about your hero. You can print it or send it to them by email.
Take part in the #RuralTransitDay Twitter Chat
If you don’t have an agency, but still want to observe this day meaningfully, it is possible. Share your thoughts about rural transit, its benefits, current challenges, and how they can be solved. Check the “Twitter Chat” section in the previous link to make sure of when the chat will take place this year.
5 Interesting Facts About Rural Transit
Transit providers own most rural transit vehicles
This is 69% of rural transit vehicles, while most others are owned by a public agency for the service provider.
Millions of miles and hours of service
In 2013 alone, rural transit agencies provided 495 million miles and 28 million hours of service.
Counties with a rural transit
By 2013, 79% of counties had a rural transit service available in some form.
The average fleet size
The average fleet size for rural transit providers is 16.7 vehicles.
Rural residents rely more on vehicles
Compared to 10% of urban residents, only 4% of rural households don’t have a vehicle, this is because they have fewer public transportation options available due to a lack of infrastructure.
Why Rural Transit Day is Important
It helps passengers
This special day is not just for the agencies and employees. The Rural Transit Day pledge emphasizes the importance of understanding passengers’ needs, providing them with equal, respectful, and helpful service, and involving them in service planning.
It helps us better understand rural transit and all it implies
Another key part of Rural Transit Day is the discussion on social media, where everyone can participate. It’s very useful to understand the unique benefits and challenges of rural transit.
It’s a day to recognize the staff and their hard work
Sometimes, Labor Day or Employee of the Month awards aren’t enough. If you have an agency and want to do something truly special for your staff, don’t limit yourself to just some pleasant words. Why not take them out for dinner?
Rural Transit Day dates