Transit Authority of River City Executive Director J. Barry Barker is retiring after nearly 25 years leading the Louisville, Kentucky-based public transportation agency. His last day is Nov. 30, 2018.
TARC Assistant Executive Director Ferdinand L. Risco Jr., who joined TARC in February 2017, will serve as interim executive director.
“It’s been a great ride, and I know the TARC team, along with an outstanding Board of Directors, will do great things. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to have served TARC and our city,” Barker said. “After nearly 25 years with this great organization, I’m now looking forward to staying engaged in volunteer organizations, traveling and enjoying family and friends more.”
Risco, a U.S. Army veteran with more than 20 years of experience relating to transportation with private, public and non-profit organizations, said, “This is an exciting time at TARC with improvements underway. I’m honored to serve as Interim Executive Director and to work with Barry Barker and everyone on the TARC team.”
Before joining TARC, Risco was Executive Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Association.
Early next year, TARC will launch a “tap and go” electronic fare payment system on all buses and a new mobility website with start-to-finish trip planning options linking TARC, ride sharing and biking. The region’s first bus rapid transit route will begin operating in late 2019 along Dixie Highway for faster service linking downtown and southwest Jefferson County.
And in May, TARC will host the American Public Transportation Association’s 2019 Bus and Paratransit Conference, which will bring 5,000 transit industry representatives to Louisville.
Under Barker, TARC was designated in 2006 as the nation’s Urban System of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of America. The following year, Barker was recognized as the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager of the Year by the American Public Transportation Association. In 2012, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies honored Barker with the Sharon D. Banks Award for Humanitarian Leadership in Transportation.
Locally, Barker has served on more than a dozen non-profit agency boards, including in leadership positions, and in 2010 headed Metro United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.
TARC provides 12 million passenger trips a year, with 63% of riders traveling to and from work, and another 20% on school trips.
“TARC moves the workforce of today and tomorrow, and we’re critical for people to access opportunity and all life has to offer,” Barker said. “I have always been motivated by the belief that the quality of life in our communities is only as good as it is for the least advantaged members of our communities. Access to life’s opportunities is a must if communities and individuals are to thrive. I’ve been fortunate to champion these beliefs at TARC and in the community.”
The Mayor will work with the TARC board on next steps.