[Carfreeliving] on Nat Ford
dave at livablecity.org
Mon Nov 21 14:52:03 MST 2005
Unsubstantiated opinions from an Atlanta-based email discussion group
called Citizens for Progressive Transit.
I have seen a rumor ... that MARTA CEO Nathaniel Ford may be leaving
to take a similar position with SF.. Personally, I feel that this
would be a tremendous loss to MARTA and Atlanta. Mr. Ford has done a
commendable job dealing with MARTA's financial woes and has restored
some of the credibility to the MARTA Mgt.
I personally feel the opposite about Mr. Ford's impact and feel sorry
for BART. I would love to see real take-charge, authoritative,
like Shirley Franklin heading up MARTA.
I have to agree here.
While I commend Mr. Ford's innovative revenue generating ideas, I
believe that a new leader is needed who is more global in scope, who
understands land use, who values urbanism, who knows the power of
marketing/image, and, most importantly, who brings a RIDERS'
MARTA can no longer afford to cater to the lowest common
denominator of transit rider. It must focus on cutting edge - even
edgy - marketing strategies that capitalize on its potential as a
truly urban system and build ridership. It must embrace customer
service. It must improve worker morale. It must focus on serving
those areas where land use patterns truly support transit, while
working with local governments to establish future transit-supportive
land uses. And it must do all this in a cost-effective manner - with
proper direction, a little money can go a long way (it is my opinion
that lack of state support is not MARTA's greatest woe - it is
improper use of the funds they have).
The only way that I think MARTA can do this, though, is to bring
somebody from outside of Atlanta, who has worked for an efficient,
world class system with constrained resources.
Nat Ford came from an operations background, starting out as a train
operator in NYC and working his way up. MARTA seems to be very
focused on customer service now, and is likely to try to find someone
from that side of the fence this time. Hopefully not to the
detriment of operations!
The BOD will have control over this, so it is up to us riders to
write or call them and express the qualifications we think are
They will select an interim GM while they search for a permanent
replacement, which could take up to 9 months.
Fortunately, the railcar and track replacement is already in
progress, as is a new customer service initiative. Hopefully these
will carry along on their own momentum until the new GM takes the
reins. We may want to be extra vigilant for issues and make a fuss
about them before it really becomes a problem.
This could be a huge opportunity to get the leadership we've always
wanted for MARTA.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Carfreeliving