At APTA’s general session on Monday, Ron Barnes, deputy director of Miami Dade Transit, took over as chair of the association, succeeding Richard White, president/CEO of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Barnes said the transit industry is on “the threshold of a renaissance” and needs to work toward successful implementation of the recently approved SAFETEA-LU transportation bill. He also encouraged the audience to start lobbying for the reauthorization of the bill, which expires in 2009. “We want to keep things moving,” he said. “2009 is not that far away.”
Barnes also asked his colleagues to focus on customer service, especially in light of the 2% increase in ridership posted in the second quarter. “We need to try to maintain those new riders,” he said. “So we need to meet and exceed customer expectations.”
White, who remains on APTA’s executive committee as immediate past president, said the industry made great strides in the past year, pointing to the reauthorization of TEA 21. “It’s a truly impressive transportation bill,” he said, crediting its passage to the industry’s “old-fashioned hard work, partnerships and tenacity.”