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APTA: WMATA's Catoe an 'outstanding' public transit leader


The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently named Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager John Catoe the 2009 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager.

"With 30 years of experience in public transportation, John has a stellar track record of strong leadership and innovative performance," said APTA President William Millar in a prepared statement. "He has worked to improve public transportation at each of the public transit systems he has been associated with and has also worked to nurture the next generation of leaders."

Catoe joined WMATA in January 2007, and within his first few weeks on the job, four pedestrians were struck and killed by Metrobuses and a train derailment caused injuries to 20 passengers. Two months earlier, two rail workers were hit and killed by Metrorail trains while conducting maintenance work.

Catoe immediately announced a recommitment to safety and established safety committees at all of WMATA's work locations. As a result, there were no work-related employee fatalities and no WMATA-related pedestrian fatalities. In addition, the number of workers' compensation claims dropped 10.2 percent last year. In FY2009's first half, claims have plunged 17.4 percent.

Catoe also eliminated departments that did not directly contribute to or support service delivery and cut 10 percent of non-operations staff to help avoid a fare increase in FY2008. In FY2009, Catoe kept fare increases to a minimum and cut other expenses to make up a $109 million deficit.

Finally, Catoe oversaw the agency's Inauguration Day plans on Jan. 17, when WMATA provided an "unprecedented" 17 hours of rush-hour service on its rail lines, the authority said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/29/2009