Makinen lead the agency for more than 6.5 years and also served on KCATA’s board for more than eight years.
During his tenure, he revamped the agency’s bus system and partnered to increase mobility and micromobility options throughout the region, with a special focus on providing more traveling freedom for KCATA’s ADA clientele.
Most recently, KCATA was honored by the American Public Transportation Association as its Outstanding Public Transportation System for more than four million but fewer than 20 million trips, with its zero fare and zero emission bus programs, which were both spearheaded by Makinen, serving as the catalyst for that honor.
“The board wants to express its appreciation for Robbie’s service to KCATA, first as a commissioner and then as its CEO,” read a statement from the agency’s board of commissioners. “Under Robbie’s leadership, KCATA has been an innovator in public transit, expanding the mission of KCATA beyond bus service to include things like the RideKC Bike+Scooter program and the Zero Fare initiative that all but eliminated fares for those using KCATA buses. These programs have led the nation in trying to arrest the effects of a changing climate, while also providing an equitable system for those who are most reliant on KCATA’s vehicles to get to their jobs, medical appointments, and other needed destinations. KCATA’s board wishes Robbie nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
The board will reportedly begin a nationwide search for Makinen's successor.