Richard Sarles was appointed General Manager and Chief Executive Officer by the Metro Board of Directors effective January 2011, after serving for eight months as the Interim General Manager. Sarles has more than 40 years of experience in the transit industry with WMATA, NJ TRANSIT, Amtrak, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Sarles has set the agency on a course to improve safety, reliability, financial stability and customer service. He has led actions to build a new safety culture within the Agency, including strengthening the safety department, expanding training and creating a new employee safety recognition program. He has spearheaded the replacement of buses and MetroAccess vehicles, and the acquisition of new rolling stock — 7000 series rail cars equipped with advance crashworthiness technology. Under his leadership, Metro is in the midst of a $5 billion six-year capital improvement program dedicated to improving safety, customer reliability and state-of good repair. In addition to creating a multiyear business plan to support agency goals, Sarles led the development of the agency's strategic plan, Momentum:The Next Generation of Metro, that benefitted from unprecedented public and stakeholder input.
In 2013 the National Safety Council (NSC) recognized Sarles as one of their 2013 CEOs Who "Get It". The Council recognizes leaders who understand "that safety is not only the right thing to do, but that creating a culture of safety also is a business imperative." Under his leadership, Metro has become the first rail transit agency in the nation to launch a confidential "Close Call Transit Safety Reporting System," and was also recognized as having an Exceptional Rail Safety Program by the American Public Transportation Association in 2013.
Prior to joining Metro, Sarles served (2007-2010) as Executive Director of New Jersey TRANSIT. From 2002 to 2007, Sarles served as New Jersey Transit's Assistant Executive Director for Capital Programs and Planning, managing the agency's $1.3 billion annual capital program as well as all three light rail operations in the state. Sarles served at Amtrak from 1996 until 2002 as Assistant Vice President, then Vice President leading the Northeast Corridor's introduction of its Acela service. Sarles previously worked for more than 20 years in construction, project management and project planning roles with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Sarles earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York.