King County Metro Transit GM Kevin Desmond was named the CEO of Vancouver, B.C.'s regional transit system, Translink. He assumes the role March 21.
During his tenure, Metro Transit launched light rail and streetcar service, several bus rapid transit lines, grew transit ridership by 44%, and rolled out the ORCA Card — much like TransLink’s Compass Card. Desmond has also been part of three successful votes on transit funding, including the most recent successful Seattle transit ballot initiative in 2014, which is allowing Metro Transit to expand service, address customer demand, and combat overcrowding.
Metro has also made its operations more efficient and created one of the greenest bus fleets in the nation during Desmond's tenure. He has served as GM since 2004.
Desmond built his career in the public sector, beginning in New York City and most recently in Seattle. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University.
The Translink CEO's annual salary will be $365,000, which is in the mid-range of the compensation plan approved by the Mayors’ Council in October 2015. For the first year only, Desmond will receive a housing allowance of $1,500 per month.
King County Metro Transit Deputy GM Rob Gannon will serve as the interim GM while the Department of Transportation conducts a nationwide search. Gannon, who has experience in both the public and private sectors, has served as the deputy GM since May 2011.
Gannon oversees day-to-day operations of Metro, works with the agency’s labor unions, and focuses on developing and implementing operating efficiencies within the transit division. He previously served as a senior member of the administration at the University of Montana.
Metro is among the 10 largest transit agencies in the country, with annual ridership of nearly 122 million, 2,500 transit operators and contracts to operate Sound Transit’s ST Express Service and Link light rail in King County, and the City of Seattle’s Streetcars.
Across transportation modes operated by Metro — bus, vanpool, water taxi, and more — ridership has increased 44% in the past dozen years, up from 102 million in 2003. Metro Transit bus ridership alone has increased 29% since 2003.