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Peer Performance: Three California Agencies Convene to Collaborate, Network, Learn

In mid-March, three west coast public transit agency general managers and members of their staffs traveled to Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District headquarters for a meeting of peer agencies to share experiences, network and learn from each other.

Alex Clifford, chief executive officer and general manager, Santa Cruz Metro; Carl Sedoryk, general manager and chief executive officer, Monterey-Salinas Transit; and Geoff Straw, executive director, San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, attended with 43 of their team members who spanned all public transit disciplines. They met for a half day to discuss best practices, data, key performance indicators and financial information.

“It was exciting to explore together both our operational differences and similarities,” Clifford said. “As small- to ­mid-size properties, we share each other’s challenges in ­figuring out how to stretch limited resources to do all we need and want to do.”

Sedoryk added that the three agencies were carrying on a tradition of peer-to-peer cooperation. “This meeting continues a history of collaboration and partnerships among the three transit operators,” Sedoryk said.

Agency staff discussed several key challenges, including funding, benchmarking against peers, paratransit and the future of electric buses, among many other topics. The half-day event also included a breakout session where peers from each department in all three agencies met to discuss their job-specific challenges and experiences.

“I can say with confidence that my staff is recharged with some great new ideas to ­pursue,” Straw said.

The day wrapped up with a tour of Santa Cruz Metro’s maintenance ­facility and its new Judy K. Souza operations facility.

And as valuable as the half-day meeting was, Clifford said, the greatest benefits to the agencies lie ahead as personnel build on career-long connections and strengthen ­ongoing communications and collaboration.

General managers and staff members from three California public transit agencies met to compare notes and tour the maintenance facility of Santa Cruz Metro, which hosted the meeting.
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