Q: When you become CEO of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority on Oct. 1, what will be your top priority?
A: Current CEO Mark Aesch has been a transformative leader who is leaving with our finances stable, fares lowered to $1, ridership at a 20-year high and buses cleaner and running on time. With that foundation laid, we will drive forward to serve the next generation of transit users with three areas of focus: modernizing our infrastructure, developing community partnerships and offering new products.
Q: The year that ended March 31 was the fifth in a row in which RGRTA strengthened its fiscal position. Do you expect to be able to continue that streak?
A: At a time when 80 percent of the nation's transportation agencies are raising fares and cutting services, we are respected as an industry leader for reducing fares while improving customer services. In place are a strong executive team and the business model foundational for this success. Driving forward, I will continue to work with both to see that the authority remains financially successful, a reliable service provider and a trusted community partner.
Q: After serving as director of Monroe County's Office of Management and Budget, you were chief operating officer of Salient Management Co., a performance management software firm. How will you draw on that private-sector experience as RGRTA's CEO?
A: Whether for the public or private sector, when you steward someone else's money, the objective is to provide the best return possible. In the private sector, the goal is to maximize the financial return to shareholders. In the public sector, the aim is to maximize an organization's good work within the available financial resources. I will continue the authority's successful private-sector business model with a greater focus on our customers and partners.
Q: Construction is slated to begin this fall on the $49 million Mortimer Street transit center, with the opening planned for October 2013. Is the project on schedule?
A: Yes. By late fall, preliminary site work will be under way, and construction will start in earnest in spring 2012. From time to time I am asked why we need a transit center. Each day 25,000 customers change buses at five distinct transfer points in disparate locations of downtown Rochester-and wait in our weather! When completed in fall 2013, the RTS transit center will offer our customers a spacious, convenient and secure indoor bus transfer station. The facility will stage 30 buses, eliminating the bus stack and congestion along Main Street. Throughout the construction process, we will continue to work with City Council and members of the business, disability, college and cycling communities toward ensuring that their needs and expectations will be met.
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