Management & Operations

Women in Transportation: Lane Transit District's Aurora Jackson

Posted on September 9, 2019 by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

Aurora Jackson
Aurora Jackson

Aurora Jackson, General Manager, Lane Transit District

Grew up: Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles

Studies: Bachelor’s degree in public administration from University of La Verne

Career aspirations: I wanted to be a teacher or serve in a social service organization. I knew that I wanted to help people, I just couldn’t decide if that would be working in a nonprofit or becoming a social worker or a teacher.

Industry start: I first began by driving school buses for the Los Angeles Unified School District and thought I could go into education at a future date. That of course didn’t happen. I took a bus operator position at Montebello Bus Lines (MBL), a small municipal transit operator. I had ridden MBL as a youth and while attending high school. I was familiar with the community and I viewed it as a new opportunity to work in the place where I grew up.

Within a couple of years, I was promoted to a supervisory position and then took on more responsibilities. I was the manager of operations when I left Montebello Bus Lines for a management role at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). I continued to accept progressively greater roles during the more than five years that I served at LA Metro. I returned to Montebello Bus Lines in 2008 to assume the general manager’s role. It was a full-circle moment for me. I went from being a transit rider as a child to becoming the head of the transportation services, responsible for serving 13 communities in East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

"The professionals that truly inspire me are many of the women in transportation who are setting a new standard for the future of our industry," says LTD GM Aurora Jackson.
LTD
"The professionals that truly inspire me are many of the women in transportation who are setting a new standard for the future of our industry," says LTD GM Aurora Jackson.LTD
Influences: The best job I have ever had was being a bus operator. I enjoyed transporting older adults and disabled riders on Montebello Bus Lines’ dial-a-ride service and also driving the regular fixed-route services. It is rewarding to work all day providing a service for people who really want and need transit services. I liked that every boarding was different and there was a new face at every stop. After a while, the customers treated me like family. I always felt good about doing the best job I could for each one.

Current role: As the GM for Oregon's Lane Transit District, I have the opportunity to be a leader in making decisions about mobility in Lane County. With a dedicated team of approximately 350 transit employees, I am responsible for fixed-route, bus rapid transit, paratransit, non-emergency medical transport, transportation options, and most recently, mobility-on-demand.

Accomplishments: There are so many great projects that I have had the privilege to be part of that I believe have made a difference in improving transportation in each community where I have worked. What I am really proud of is having the opportunity to work beside such talented professionals [during]: the recruitment, CAD/AVL and electronic fare projects at LA Metro; the alternative-fuel project at Montebello Bus Lines; and the EmX West, bus rapid transit project at Lane Transit District.

Projects: Lane Transit District has several new exciting projects that come to mind, such as the recent launch of TouchPass, our new electronic fare system; the new student and low-income fare subsidy programs; and the two exciting mobility-on-demand (MOD) pilot projects branded Em-Go. These projects, along with several others, are part of Lane Transit District’s efforts to improve mobility and increase ridership.

Inspiration: The professionals that truly inspire me are many of the women in transportation who are setting a new standard for the future of our industry. They work hard every day to make a difference for their communities. Some of these women leaders drive buses, other work in various departments in transit agencies nationwide, or serve on their local transit agency’s board of directors. I recall when I was one of just a handful of women in the industry. Now, there are women in every aspect of transportation.

Favorite pastimes: I enjoy hiking the local trails, visiting the local wineries and breweries, or just enjoying a University of Oregon Duck or Eugene Emerald’s baseball game.

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