APTA | Passenger Transport
October 12, 2009

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NEWS HEADLINES

Jim Ditch Dies; Retired from Long Beach Transit

James A. (Jim) Ditch, 62, former executive director of maintenance and facilities with Long Beach Transit (LBT) in Long Beach, CA, died Sept. 24 after fighting cancer.

Ditch was a 19-year employee of LBT who retired in 2008. Earlier this year, the agency honored him by dedicating the James A. Ditch Maintenance Facility and Learning Center.

He received two U.S. patents for wheelchair securement devices; his interest in mobility issues stemmed from observing the problems faced by his brother, a paraplegic.

Ditch also had a strong interest in transportation training. He was one of the founders of the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium, which supports improved training availability and standards in the industry.

He also implemented a mentoring program for students of heavy-duty mechanical and automotive repair at community colleges in the region.

“He saw himself as this ordinary guy just doing ordinary things, but he was an extraordinary person. He was bigger than life,” LBT President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Jackson told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

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