June 15, 2009, 9:00 am
The APTA rail conference registration sign in the Chicago Hilton. I’m currently in the registration room, promoting Vancouver’s 2010 conference to other transit agencies and industry folks!
Hi everyone! I see you all had a busy weekend what with the Golden Ears celebration and all. As for yours truly, I’m writing from the APTA rail conference in Chicago this week!
TransLink is hosting next year’s rail conference, so I’m sitting at a table promoting it to our colleagues in the registration room.
This is the first time I’ve been to an APTA conference, and the response from transit professionals about TransLink and our city is pretty amazing. (Also amazing: the number of different American accents here. Wow!)
Things I’ve heard from other delegates so far, spanning from Toronto to Texas to Taipei (and this is all true, I swear):
- “You guys got a really good guy in Mike Shiffer.” (Mike’s our new Vice-President of Planning, and originally from Chicago.)
- “TransLink? That’s Tom Prendergast, right? He’s a great guy.” (Tom’s our CEO!)
- “We love your trolley system!”
- “TransLink? That’s great—we’re really looking to your system as we develop our transit system.”
- “Vancouver! That’s my favourite city!”
(By the way, we brought the transit buttons from I Love Transit Week, and people are super into them! Although some do ask “What’s MKI and MK II”?)
Panoramic of the registration room from my table. The Chicago Transit Authority is across from me, giving delegates info about the city and system, and at right is the APTA registration booth.
There are so many people are here from an astonishing array of places. Virtually every transit system in Canada and America is represented, plus people from France’s national railway, South Korea, Tokyo, and more.
The conference really lets everyone come together to share knowledge, and connect with others about all different aspects of running a rail system—technical, customer service, leadership, and much more. Here’s the full session list if you’re curious. (PS: there are also APTA conferences for buses and other specialties too.)
There are also going to be some great behind-the-scenes tours put on by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and others. I’m going on three tours and these will make up the bulk of my posts from Chicago – I’m pretty excited about them!
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