courtesy of ‘erin m’
We are putting building blocks in place – making safety investments, improving our tracks and rail system, putting new buses in service, expanding staff training and designing new rail cars – while it may not be immediately evident and there are inconveniences along the way – we are literally building a new Metro for our customers and employees. — Metro’s GM/CEO, Richard Sarles
As we reported yesterday, Metro’s board named Richard Sarles as the permanent General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. It’s a move they should have done in the first place, and one that I said might happen when we first heard of Sarles.
Over ten months, Sarles has brought an engineer’s attitude and has been acting less interim than his title would have implied. He said he wasn’t looking to come here full time, but he always seemed to want to make an impact. “I came to Metro as the interim general manager,” he said at the board meeting yesterday, “simply wanting to help put the agency on the right path.”
courtesy of ‘mofo’
Metro has a new (interim) general manager, and what follows is my “welcome to DC, please fix Metro” letter. Some of it is needed work, but admittedly, some of my wishes are wishful thinking.
Dear Mr. Sarles,
Welcome to Washington. I hope the city and the mild weather we’ve been having agrees with you. I trust you are slowly learning the ropes over at Metro HQ, and that you’re keeping your promise to ride the system (at least once in a while).
I’m sure that you’ve been briefed by some of the best and the brightest at Metro, already. I hope you’re well on your way to understanding some of the major issues facing Metro, and that you still have some space on your plate for some of the less critical items as well.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to drive into the office. It was a smooth, fast ride at 5:30 in the morning. Faster than Metro could have got me there. I did have to pay for parking, and at $12, it wasn’t steep but not something I could afford to do every day. More and more, though, I find myself contemplating paying that every now and again. In the evenings, especially if I stay downtown for a leisurely dinner, I tend to cab it home.
It didn’t always used to be that way, Mr. Sarles. Until the last few months, it was rare for me to cab anywhere. Now, I’m trying to wrangle a deal for parking and taking taxis over half the time. The problem? Well, it’s item one on my list.
Richard Sarles at the groundbreaking of the Mass Transit Tunnel in June 2009. Courtesy former Gov. Jon Jon Corzine's office
Greater Greater Washington and the Washington Post both have the news that Metro is hoping to name former New Jersey Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles as interim head of the agency on Thursday. The Post reports that Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin confirms they do not currently have a contract with Sarles, but that he “is certainly a person we would like to appoint.”
Benjamin goes on to praise Sarles’s background, and calls him “solid on safety.” Sarles was appointed head of NJ Transit in 2007 after five years as Assistant Executive Director for Capital Programs and Planning there. He retired in January. Before working for NJ Transit, Sarles was at Amtrak where he led development of the Northeast Corridor High-Speed Rail program. He also has an engineering and project management background that spanned 20 years at the Port Authority.
Salres obviously has the chops to deal with the problems facing Metro. We aren’t privy to the interview process, and not living in the NY/NJ area, are not as familiar with his thinking on transit. Luckily, Sarles participates as a panel expert on the National Journal‘s transportation blog, commenting on many of the issues facing transportation planners. Read on for a little bit of insight.