ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester Public Transit is being honored during an annual state state conference at the Mayo Civic Center.
The 3-day Minnesota Public Transit Conference is focusing on new technology, buses and strategies for agencies.
RPT communications coordinator Nick Lemmer explained, "We don't compete with each other, we learn from each other around the state, so having an opportunity to have our friends and colleagues from around the state and region, to have vendors with the most up-to-date equipment and information - it really helps us to advance public transit in the state."
Lemmer says RPT is receiving the Transit System of the Year award for the first time in about 20 years.
The nomination came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and includes categories including strong ridership and growth, innovation and growth plans for the future.
Lemmer says despite the COVID-19 pandemic RPT is looking to maintain its standard of excellence moving forward.
He added, “We're trying to understand what the new normal is going to look like, what the strategies and our opportunities are going to be to address the impact of COVID-19 to transit but it's a tough time for agencies so we're trying our best to learn from each other and move forward because we do provide an essential service.”
The number of in-person attendees was significantly down from last year with around 70 participants taking part online.
In a press release the transit system also said:
“This year transit agencies from around the state are particularly eager to share the challenges and solutions in the face of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The crisis has fortified the essential nature of transit service in both rural and urban areas.
The pandemic has required that systems respond with aggressive strategies to makes sure transit operations are as safe as possible for customers. By keeping people moving, transit plays an important role in getting the economy on the road to recover.”