RATP Dev America's New Projects: A Q&A with Elisabeth Borne, CEO, RATP Group

JUNE 2016 

Fullington Trailways, a subsidiary of RATP Dev America, provided shuttle transportation services for Pennsylvania’s 2016 Special Olympics held on June 2-June 4. Fullington provided 42 school buses and 3 motor coaches to the more than 5,700 athletes, coaches, trainers and spectators to and from opening ceremonies as well as various event venues.  

“We look forward to being a part of Pennsylvania’s Special Olympics year in and year out,” announced Jonathan Berzas, President & CEO of The Fullington Auto Bus Company. “We were delighted to be able to provide transportation services for the Special Olympics this year and look forward to providing these services for future Summer Games.”  

The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games are held each year at Penn State University in State College.  The event brings athletes, coaches and spectators together from across the state and features three days of intense competition in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis.   

The Fullington Auto Bus Company, located in State College, PA,has spanned an entire century of offering services, including,  tours, bus rentals, daily bus services, limos& Trolley, and school buses.

MARCH 2016 

RATP Group is the fifth largest public transport company operating all modes of transportation - trains, streetcars, metro and bus. RATP Group brings over 100 years of experience from operating transportation systems in 15 countries across 4 continents. 

Elisabeth Borne has been CEO of RATP Group since May 2015. She comes from a background in both public and private service.
Borne is also president of the Supervisory Council of Systra, the engineering subsidiary of RATP and the French Railways.
Borne recently visited the U.S. to visit RATP Dev America's work on the Tuscon Streetcar, the recent DC Streetcar and seeing how RATP Dev operates in New York. Borne was accompanied by Catherine Chardon, RATP Dev American CEO, who oversees the operations in 40 U.S. locations

RATP Dev America works with communities to create, implement, and maintain smart and efficient streetcar, bus, train and subway networks. As part of the worldwide RATP Group, RATP Dev America brings a world of innovative, global know-how to small towns, big cities and intercity territories alike.

1. Was the recent opening of the DC Streetcar a driving factor for your trip?
It was certainly one of the reasons for the trip. The DC Streetcar is a historic project and a tremendous achievement. I wanted to meet the RATP Dev team who work on the streetcar. Most of our team have been hired and trained locally. Their sense of pride and excitement about this project was great to see.

2. With so many RATP transit systems around the world, how do the RATP Dev America’s systems you visited compare to others?
RATP Dev America has built some tremendously strong partnerships in the U.S. and our operations are excellent. The U.S. is a significant market for RATP Dev. We serve 80 million passengers a year in 40 locations across 18 states. The connection to the RATP Group allows RATP Dev America to access a world of global know-how and bring that to the communities we serve. 

3. Can you tell me a little more about how each system is customized to fit particular areas and cultures when a new system is established?
The RATP Group and its subsidiaries offer global experience and local focus. We always start by listening carefully to the unique needs of the client. We then use our experience and knowledge to deliver on those needs and bring our clients’ vision to life. For example, in Tucson, Arizona, the goal was to encourage urban renewal and connect The University of Arizona to the downtown. In Florence, Italy, the goal was very different. Florence wanted to ease the congested traffic conditions in a city that is visited by 1.8 million tourists a year.

On both projects, RATP Dev carefully assessed the needs and challenges while leveraging our experience and technical knowledge to deliver successful projects. At RATP Dev, we don’t aspire to simply operate our clients’ systems — we strive to become their long-term partners in achieving their goals and investing in their future. These relationships come with time and dedication to the work.

4. Was there personally an aspect that you found unique about the three systems that you viewed?
It was great to see the DC Streetcar back in the nation’s capital after 54 years. I very much enjoyed riding it, too. Visiting the streetcars in both D.C. and Tucson reminded me of how streetcars are symbolic. They become part of a city’s identity. They boost neighborhoods, encourage investment and urban renewal. RATP Group is already today one of the world leader’s in providing streetcars. We get very closely connected to the communities we serve.

5. What are some of the most important aspects in operating and maintaining an efficient transit system?
I would highlight three things:

  • First, you need a strong team : Talent really matters. You need great people working with passengers and maintaining quality and safety behind the scenes.
  • Second, you need the right expertise and experience :  You need to be able to solve today’s challenges and anticipate future challenges, too. 
  • Third, you need to build strong partnerships with your clients : This requires open communication and a real commitment to the work.

6. Has the Tucson Streetcar made any operational changes since launching in?
The streetcar in Tucson is a pioneering project. It has encouraged new life and a revitalization in to the city center. Passenger numbers have exceeded expectations and the project has helped drive urban development.  Given the success of this project, RATP Dev is not planning any major operational changes.

 Click here for Tucson's new operations : http://www.masstransitmag.com/press_release/11598132/az-ratp-dev-mcdonal...