The New York MTA says that the situation with APTA is hopeless and wants out:
The country’s largest transit agency is withdrawing from the country’s main transit trade association.
In a letter dated April 8, top executives of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote they were canceling the agency’s membership in the American Public Transportation Association, known as APTA.
APTA is theoretically a league of all American transit agencies. To understand the magnitude of the MTA’s withdrawal, though, it’s worth reiterating the extent to which discussions about public transportation in this country are really discussions about the MTA. In 2015, the MTA accounted for 35 percent of all U.S. transit ridership—an even higher percentage than ten years ago despite substantial transit investments elsewhere in the country. The idea of a transit industry association that doesn’t include the MTA is akin to an OPEC without Saudi Arabia.
Two out three rail trips are in the New York metropolitan area. So without NYMTA participation, APTA is irrelevant on rail transport matters. Not that it ever was — in their very candid and scathing letter, the MTA states that “the knowledge transfer and technical assistance front is even more robust both nationally and internationally” with other organizations:
Knowledge transfer and collaborative activities with these organizations, especially the LUL in London, Network-Rail in the UK and RATP and RER in Paris, provide support and assistance to the MTA and its transit operating agencies not found through APTA.
This blog has frequently criticized APTA, in particular for wanting to adopt FRA-style safety rules on metros and light-rail. If MTA’s exit reduces the influence of APTA, then that can only be a good thing, as it would open the door to badly needed reforms in the transit industry.