Improving Your Ride Through Metro Firsts
Last weekend, the Washington Post published a Schar-Post poll that confirmed that most people view our rail service as "excellent" or "good." Equally important, our customers view our service as safe.
But we have work ahead of us to attract more customers to rail and bus services. As we continue to increase service levels, we also need to improve customer experience, training, ensure all voices are heard, and new models of community and employee engagement are accessible for all.
Moreover, Metro's strategic transformation plan, Your Metro, the Way Forward, includes objectives for improving service excellence, talented teams, regional opportunity, partnership and sustainability. To continue delivering more and better service for bus, rail and paratransit customers, a new organizational alignment was announced that includes innovative changes for Metro.
Three executives are joining our senior team - holding new first-time positions - that I believe will help us achieve these objectives and deliver on our strategic plan goals. The three positions are Chief Experience and Engagement Officer; Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer; and the head of our new Metro Integrated Control and Communications Center (MICC).
Metro's first Chief Customer Experience and Engagement Officer is Sarah Meyer. Sarah held a similar position at Metropolitan Transit Authority NY where she led a team to modernize service information, develop websites, apps, and maps, improve signage, and reduce customer pain points throughout their journey.
At Metro, Sarah will focus on improving the delivery of timely and accurate information to customers at every touchpoint, through signage, search results, apps, and digital wallets. She will also work to help make the system simpler to plan and pay for trips, to find buses or trains, and by reassuring customers that they are being taken care of by an outstanding, customer-centric workforce. Sarah will work with our senior team to develop materials and engage employees on new models of working and engaging with the public, all with an eye of making Metro as customer friendly as we can be. I look forward to her challenging us to do better for our customers every day.
Our new Chief DEI Officer, Darlene Slaughter, is also the first to hold the title at Metro. Darlene has held the position of Chief Diversity Officer at Fannie Mae, United Way Worldwide, and the March of Dimes. She has experience in building a sense of belonging within inclusive work cultures, creating safe spaces, and building leadership capabilities by raising awareness, education, and advising the workforce on the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Darlene's job is a big one, both internal and external - to deliver on our talented teams' goal through supporting inclusive recruiting, hiring and promotion of our workforce, as well as to ensure we have an inclusive lens for our supplier diversity practices to ensure we are getting the best value for our customers, funders, and community.
In recent months we have filled about 400 critical vacancies - mostly among our frontline employees. Darlene will partner with Sarah and other senior leaders to ensure that we continue to strengthen our workforce as well as customer experience, including job and service information and engagement opportunities that are accessible to all.
Key to Metro's success in improving every customer's journey on bus and rail trips is the new Metro Integrated Control and Communications Center. The MICC will, for the first time, enable bus, rail, police, video, power, escalator/elevator, and maintenance operations to communicate and coordinate the transit network in real time in a single location. Roy Aguilera, a forty-year veteran of San Francisco's BART system, is joining Metro as Senior Vice President and head of our MICC. Roy is a respected operations executive in our industry and will bring best practices to Metro as we further our efforts to meet world-class standards. Roy has a deep understanding of the challenges faced in transit operations, having worked his way up from rail traffic controller.
This region's continued support for Metro and recognition of our importance is helping us build one of the strongest teams in the industry. I look forward to introducing these executives to the public at our Meet the Team events in stations, at our Board Meetings, and other engagements this spring. Please let them (and me) know how we can better meet your transit needs, improve information, and help win new customers.
And, if you know of great candidates who are interested, we have posted another first - Vice President of Systemwide Accessibility. This new role will work within the Safety and Readiness organization, tasked with expanding and supporting the accessibility of our service. The job includes leading centralized efforts within the existing accessibility workstreams and will develop an expanded accessibility strategy for the agency. They will serve as the strategic lead with regard to accessibility authorities, and the Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Like the other positions, the Accessibility job will rely on a matrix approach, working across departments to reduce silos and improve customer-centric decision making for a more seamless ride on Metro.
General Manager/Chief Executive Officer