OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 22, 2014) - Taking to the hill in Ottawa today are representatives from Canadian transit systems, manufacturers and suppliers from across Canada. The meetings are part of the Canadian Urban Transit Association's (CUTA) Transit Awareness Days and focus on transit related issues that are important to the industry and to Canadian communities.

"Funding and investment in innovation are top priorities for our members," says Michael Roschlau, President and CEO of CUTA. "While it is important that transit is at the centre of how we plan, build and run our cities," he adds, "it is even more critical to ensure the safety of transit employees and the travelling public" says Roschlau, referring to the associations support for Bill S-221 regarding Crimes Again Transit Employees.

Tabled by Senator Bob Runicman in May 2014, the private members bill calls for an amendment to the criminal code requiring a court to consider the fact that the victim of an assault is a public transit operator to be an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing.

Industry representatives will also be discussing innovation and investment in the transit industry, pointing to the sector's $12 billion annual contribution to the Canadian economy.

"Transit infrastructure growth needs to parallel the expansion of our cities and communities," comments Daniel Bergeron, CUTA Chair. "Ridership in Canada continues to increase, and did so again this year by 16 million passenger trips," adds Bergeron, referring to 2013 ridership statistics released last week. "It is critical to ensure that service and ridership grow in parallel," says Bergeron.

Transit Awareness Days runs from September 22 -24 and also includes CUTA executive meetings, presentations from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Delegates will also visit the National Research Council where they will tour the facilities and the work of the Fleet Forward 2020 program, which sets out to research and improve maintenance and environmental performance of public transit vehicles.

About CUTA

CUTA is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada, dedicated to being at the centre of urban mobility issues with all orders of government, and delivering the highest value to its members and the communities they serve. CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.

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Erin Brophy
Manager, Marketing and Communications