Management & Operations

TriMet's GM McFarlane to retire

Posted on October 19, 2017

In this 2014 photo, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stands with TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane (center) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici on the Tilikum Crossing, during construction. Photo: TriMet
In this 2014 photo, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stands with TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane (center) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici on the Tilikum Crossing, during construction. Photo: TriMet

TriMet GM Neil McFarlane will retire after more than seven years of managing Oregon’s largest public transit provider.

McFarlane, 65, announced Oct. 18, that he would retire in early 2018. McFarlane has been with TriMet since February 1991, serving as GM since July 1, 2010.

The agency and TriMet’s Board of Directors will now launch an international search for the next GM, including holding listening sessions with community stakeholders and soliciting public feedback.

Under McFarlane’s leadership, TriMet became an important partner in the efforts to create livable communities and keep the Portland region moving, garnering the respect of national transportation leaders. Through his years of service, he led the expansion of TriMet’s light rail system, which has become a national model for integrating land use and transportation planning, policy and development.

As TriMet GM, Neil McFarlane began a 10-year expansion of bus service and laid the groundwork for future service enhancements to meet the needs of Portland's growing communities. Photo: TriMet.
As TriMet GM, Neil McFarlane began a 10-year expansion of bus service and laid the groundwork for future service enhancements to meet the needs of Portland's growing communities. Photo: TriMet.

As GM, McFarlane began a 10-year expansion of bus service and laid the groundwork for future service enhancements to meet the needs of growing communities. He led the agency’s recovery from the great recession, put TriMet on a strategic financial path, and created a culture of safety and continuous improvement.

McFarlane promoted diversity, equity, and cultural competence, and pushed the agency forward on investments and innovations to improve service and the overall customer experience, while reinvesting in the existing system.

During his years at TriMet, McFarlane helped lead the expansion of the MAX Light Rail System from a single line, 15-mile system to the five-line, 60-mile system. He also brought the first commuter rail line to Oregon and made a lasting mark on TriMet’s bus system.

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