The Capital Metro Board of Directors has chosen Randy Clarke to replace Linda Watson as its next president and CEO.
Clarke comes to Cap Metro from the American Public Transportation Association, where he had been vice president of operations and member services since May 2016. Before that, he was director of security for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Clarke beat out three other finalists – Raymond Suarez of the Denton County Transportation Authority, Erika Mazza of the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority and Darrell Mobley, director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
The board’s decision comes after a months-long search to replace Watson, who announced her retirement last summer. Watson had served as the agency’s chief for seven years.
“This was a very difficult decision, hence the time as we discussed the pros and cons of what’s best for our agency," Board Member Terry Mitchell said, referring to the two-hour executive session that preceded the vote.
Clarke joins the agency as it prepares to revamp its bus system in June. That plan would eliminate 13 bus routes, two of which wouldn’t be replaced by alternative service.
At a meeting of the finalists Monday, Clarke assured the board and members of the public that he aimed to increase ridership by targeting both daily commuters and what he called “choice riders,” according to The Austin Monitor.
“To me it’s not picking one versus the other. It’s not a binary choice. Transit is the lifeblood of a city,” Clarke said. “It’s a mobility framework and you’ve got to be looking out for everyone. So, I think what’s really important there is a community coming together and figuring out what its principles and values are and delivering that.”
The board will finalize Clarke’s contract and is expected to approve it at its Jan. 29 meeting.