Seattle is my home, and the household I grew up in didn’t have a car. I like to say that I was raised on buses, and it’s true. My family depended on King County Metro for mobility. I grew up in a housing project where we had a lot of service nearby, so I could go almost anywhere.
I know public transit can help people connect to opportunity, because I lived it. That is why I’m honored to have been asked to lead Metro as its interim General Manager starting August 1.
As I begin in this position, I want to thank Rob Gannon, who is leaving Metro to move back to Montana with his family. I will miss Rob’s courageous leadership and look forward to building on his legacy of prioritizing safety, equity, and sustainability. I share his belief that the strength of a transit system is its ability to connect communities.
Access to mobility is not only vital, but a human right. While I could go a lot of places on the bus growing up, I also remember the places I couldn’t get to—simply because routes or timeframes didn’t allow it. In short, I know firsthand that this region will not get to a place where everyone has an opportunity to thrive without transit.
Metro’s long-term plan going into 2020 was to continue to develop a mobility system that gives everyone easy and accessible options for travel. While this year is testing all of us in ways that no one could have predicted, I know Metro and the communities we serve will come out of this stronger than ever. Metro remains focused on maintaining and strengthening our values, building the needed infrastructure to support recovery and growth, and providing safe, reliable transit service right now to keep our region moving despite the challenges we face.
At Metro, we will prioritize putting service where it’s needed most. COVID-19 provides a crystal-clear view of the modes, routes, and trips that our transit-reliant customers rely upon. We’re committed to do more for those of you who are dependent on transit to get to work, to get to a medical appointment, or to make that trip to the grocery store. We will be especially intentional about addressing—and correcting—how race and place have determined who gets access to mobility and who doesn’t.
For our customers making these essential trips, I know you want to make them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Pandemic or not, you don’t want to wait too long to get where you need to go. Metro is adapting our transit system to better respond to customer demand and traffic conditions in real-time. We want to make sure your bus is there on time and that, when you’re on the bus, you get to your destination without getting hung up in traffic.
Metro also understands that, COVID or not, there are steps we can take now that will improve our transit system when our region reopens. We will continue our modernization process that improves our day-to-day planning and operations, and directly benefits how Metro manages and delivers mobility to our customers.
Thirty-three years ago, I began my career with Metro working as an on-call customer service representative. Even today, I haven’t forgotten that our primary responsibility is to get you and all our customers—who depend on us every day for transportation to work, school, and eventually to a movie, a meal, or a sporting event—safely to your destination.
I’m very excited to lead Metro, I and look forward to working with everyone who is part of our mobility system. That includes our passengers (whether you ride a bus, streetcar, light rail, the Water Taxi, or one of our Access vans), our employees, and the communities and neighborhoods we both serve and are a part of.
Everyone in King County has a role as Metro moves forward together in building a transit system that will give everyone an opportunity to thrive.
Moving forward together,
Interim General Manager starting August 1, 2020
King County Metro
Why are there some buses where you can’t open any windows?? Riding a 44 right now and don’t feel very well ventilated.
Congratulations on your new position.
I would like to mention that service on route 22 in West Seattle is sorely missed. I have started a petition to request its reinstatement at http://chng.it/zRTSbN7K. There are not a lot of signatures, but I believe each one belongs to a person that depends on this service. Once Chief Sealth High School reopens and businesses return to normal, potential ridership will increase.
Mr. White, I feel it is important for people to read and understand every single word you took the time to write.
In your first paragraph you praised your great leader Rob Gannon like no one else I have ever seen or heard before, You even called him a courageous hero, yet at the first sign of COVID Rob went home to look out only for himself and management. I take it that you have never served in the armed forces. If you had then you would know what the title “courageous hero” entails. You obviously haven’t paid attention to the displeasure and complaints of the workforce or the public because in the next few lines you go on to say that basically nothing is expected to change under your watch-that we can expect more to come with more intensity to keep Rob Gannon’s legacy alive.
We do not need more of the same so if this is the route that you intend to go then interim is probably all we need out of you. In case you hadn’t heard, it is time for change. The games that management has been playing with people’s lives and livelihoods need to stop.
As far as relating to the community, the fact that you used to ride the bus etc,, one would think that you would truly be ready to make a difference and not ride on the coattails of others, You could make that change but all you are saying is that though you’ve been through hard times you are going to make it worse for the ones coming up that same path now. That is nothing new. As a matter of fact, it is very typical and shameful, to tell the truth. Maybe you should actually read what you are saying because some hear you VERY well.
It’s essential, especially since many folks do not wear masks, that FRESH air, in conjunction with a/c, is allowed to circulate. Please OPEN THE WINDOWS (even IF it’s cold and NO a/c, here’s why..
METRO I get why it’s not your job to enforce masks
BUT please do the things you CAN do to slow down the increase of covid and keep it as safe as possible for those of us who have to rely on you for transportation.
Passengers open and close the windows as they please. The drivers can’t drive and walk around opening windows the others close.
Please bring back the Normandy Park Community Ride for our seniors in Burien.
Thanks for stepping up. Bring back the 137, ‘eh?
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