TransLoc hosted a conversation about agency-owned microtransit with (left to right) TransLoc National Director of Policy Josh Cohen, CEO of Norwalk Transit District Kimberlee Morton, CEO of Sacramento Regional Transit District Henry Li, CEO of TransLoc Doug Kaufman, Executive Director of St. Louis Metro Transit Jessica Mefford-Miller, and CEO of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Robbie Makinen.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 28, 2018– Monday night TransLoc hosted “The Microtransit Pioneers: A Conversation with Transit Innovators” event at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) annual meeting. Over 80 city and transit officials joined the conversation on how to work together to find solutions through agency-owned microtransit.
The highlight of the event was the “Reimagining Public Transit with Microtransit” panel discussion, hosted by TransLoc National Director of Policy Josh Cohen. Panelists included CEO of Sacramento Regional Transit District Henry Li, Executive Director of St. Louis Metro Transit Jessica Mefford-Miller, CEO of Norwalk Transit District Kimberlee Morton, and CEO of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Robbie Makinen.
The conversation covered topics ranging from community development to taking risks with new transit approaches. As panelists shared, sometimes those risks came with failure.
Kansas City’s Makinen joked, “I’m happy to talk about failure because we’re good at it.” He continued, “Change comes at the end of your comfort zone. But that’s where success is, and that’s where innovation lies. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to end up in the newspaper or on a blog or whatever for a little bit. It’s okay because if you keep working that way you’re going to find an answer. What I tell my folks is we’re going to keep taking steps forward because we don’t know what the answer is. But we’re never going to know if we stand still. If we keep taking steps forward it will come into focus.”
Key panelist insights included:
· “Transit has a new face now, and it’s changing, it’s evolving. Horse and buggies have changed, cars have changed, we’ve got autonomous vehicles coming, and we have tools out here now that we’ve got to begin to use. If we want to be great leaders, I believe it’s important we take all those tools that are available out there and just try them.”—Kimberlee Morton, CEO, Norwalk Transit District
· “(Microtransit) might take a commute down from two buses and a train to just two vehicles. And if you can cut off 30 minutes of someone’s commute time and give them an hour back each day, that makes a huge impact on the quality of life which, in turn, contributes to further economic development.”—Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director, St. Louis Metro Transit
· “We started with one city, Citrus Heights. On a daily basis they had 30 rides. Ten months ago we started to talk to TransLoc to see how we can change our dial-a-ride service into a microtransit service. Within three months we implemented that. We put ten small vehicles into the city. Now, our daily ridership jumped from 30 to 300.” —Henry Li, CEO of Sacramento Regional Transit District
· “There’s room in the tent for everybody. If you do not start getting with the private sector, you’re just going to embrace and stay with public transit for the last 20 years. Or, do you want to build something for the next 20 years? These private sector companies coming in to fill your gaps are exactly what you need. That allows me to take resources and put them back where I need them, rather than trying to get massive coverage with no efficiency.”—Robbie Makinen, CEO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Wrapping up the conversation Cohen said, “In the course of the last hundred years in public transit, we served 1 trillion rides. Behind every single one of those is a story, and a person, and a reason they’re using transit. And that’s the thing about demand-driven transportation. You can’t overlook those stories. Those stories are critical. And those stories are how people get to work, education, and community. TransLoc is starting this conversation, and we are here to reinvest and create the ultimate rider experience. And the best agencies in the world, like you, are here because you are trying to do the same thing. We’re in pursuit of our mission to make transit the first choice for all, and we hope you’ll come along with us on that journey.”
Hailed by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies in transportation, TransLoc, a Ford Smart Mobility company*, is the technology provider of flexible agency-owned microtransit solutions for public transit to deliver the ultimate rider experience. By offering the expertise to plan and deliver flexible, future-proof transportation solutions with the company’s cloud-based OnDemand microtransit system built for rapid deployment and hands-free operations, TransLoc is enabling transit agencies nationwide to remain central to the future of modern transportation. TransLoc has partnered with hundreds of transit agencies to reach a higher level of service and win the confidence of the riding public for more than a decade. TransLoc is also proud to be a Google Partner. To learn more, visit TransLoc.com or follow us on Twitter at @TransLoc.
SHIFT Communications for TransLoc
*On March 1, 2022, global technology company Modaxo acquired TransLoc from Ford Motor Company. TransLoc is no longer affiliated with Ford or any Ford properties.