FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Freeholder H. James Polos
Chair, Public Works and Transportation Committee
Middlesex County Area Transit
Wins National Award
JUNE 7, 2007 - Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) was named the 2007 Urban Community Transportation System of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). Past winners include the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, Orange County (California) Transportation Authority and the City of Flagstaff, Ariz.
"This is an incredible accomplishment for the County of Middlesex, especially when you factor in that we established the Department of Transportation just two-and-a-half years ago," said Freeholder H. James Polos, chairman of the County's Public Works and Transportation Committee. "This is a dynamic system that is meeting the needs of our residents who need medical transportation, commuter shuttle service and fixed-route service to reach shopping destinations."
"I thank CTAA for recognizing our efforts and I applaud MCAT Director Steven Fittante and his staff for their hard work in providing, safe, efficient and cost-effective transit services to the residents of Middlesex County," Polos said.
CTAA Board Member Robert Koska said: "Our 2007 Urban Community Transportation System of the Year began as a mobility service for people with disabilities and older Americans in the mid-1970s and has grown into a full-fledged urban operation connecting local residents with existing fixed-route bus and commuter rail operations, working with local taxi operations and the county Medicaid program, while still maintaining its top-notch specialized, community-based operations."
The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders established the Department of Transportation in November 2004 by combining the Central Vehicle Maintenance division with AWTS, the County's Paratransit services. The name AWTS was changed in January to MCAT - Middlesex County Area Transit - to better describe the service and a new blue-and-yellow color scheme was introduced for the fleet.
Three fixed-route shuttles have been added since 2005 to serve commuters, seniors and other residents in the southern part of the County, connecting them with workplaces, stores, senior centers, doctors' offices and other forms of mass transit.
This CTAA award is the second honor for the still burgeoning system. MCAT received the Outstanding System of the Year Award from the New Jersey Council on Special Transportation (COST) in September 2006.
Michael M. Vieira, president of COST, which educates individuals and state legislators about paratransit and community transportation issues, said the system's reorganization, increased services and innovative programs moved MCAT ahead of the pack.
The Community Transportation Association, established in 1989, is a national nonprofit, membership association committed to removing barriers to isolation and improving mobility for all people. The Association provides informational resources, technical assistance, training and certification, and many additional resources to communities, transportation providers and other groups to increase mobility and improve the quality of community and public transportation.