The Metra Board of Directors approved a new 2023-2027 strategic plan that focuses on addressing the operational and financial challenges of a post-COVID world and sets goals for the agency.
The new strategic plan, "Our Future," is an update to the last plan, "On Track to Excellence," and is primarily focused on Metra’s operating and capital funding shortfalls. The new plan acknowledges that those shortfalls have been somewhat addressed in the near term but remain a concern, according to Metra's news release.
“With the vision and goals that are outlined in this new strategic plan, we are recognizing that Metra must adapt and evolve to meet our riders’ and the region’s transit needs,” said Jim Derwinski, Metra CEO. “It won’t be easy, but we will do everything within our ability and budget to achieve these goals and make our new vision a reality.”
The new plan was drafted and finalized with the assistance of Metra customers, employees, board members, regional stakeholders, and others through two surveys and several open houses, meetings, and workshops. Metra received more than 3,000 comments throughout the process.
The work started with the refinement of Metra’s Mission Statement to make it more concise and responsive to the community input received. The statement now reads: Metra provides safe, reliable, efficient, and affordable commuter rail service that enhances the economic and environmental health of Northeast Illinois.
The Vision Statement in the new plan was then rewritten to reflect the impact of the pandemic. Ridership patterns and demand for Metra service have permanently changed, and Metra intends to move towards a “regional rail” service model that provides more frequent service throughout the day to meet this demand.
To proactively address evolving transportation needs, Metra added that it will provide regional rail service that supports sustainable connected communities.
To fulfill its mission and move towards its vision, the strategic plan is built around five equally important and related goals. They reflect the evolving priorities of Metra, regional transit needs, and customers:
- Enhance service to grow ridership and provide mobility choices.
- Ensure the Metra experience is safe.
- Attract a diverse workforce and invest in the employees.
- Innovate to become more efficient and effective.
- Be a socially responsible organization committed to equity and sustainability.