Recap - WMATA's New Leadership: Updates and Vision for the Future

Posted Date: 
March 9, 2016

Guest Speaker: Paul Wiedefeld, WMATA General Manager
Topic: WMATA's New Leadership: Updates and Vision for the Future

March 9, 2016 Recap  

The vice-chair of the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee, Gus Bauman, welcomed a full room of MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Paul Wiedefeld, WMATA’s new General Manager.  Mr. Wiedefeld is well known to many in Montgomery County and Maryland having served most recently as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Aviation Administration, managing Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), and as Administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) prior to that.

Mr. Wiedefeld began his presentation by talking about his first 90 days on the job – his observations, priorities and actions he plans to take.  He said that many of the issues he encountered were worse than he thought. As he has drilled down to better understand the issues, he discovered some of the essential operational and structural systems were not in place or need improvement.

The employees share concerns and are eager to regain pride in their system. Regionally, people understand that the Metro system drives the economy for today and for the future. A high-performing system brings value to the community and can attract economic growth.

Earlier in the week, Mr. Wiedefeld released a Customer Accountability Report that focuses on safety, service reliability and fiscal management.  He spoke about the “hard truths” when addressing these issues.  He understands that there are larger more macro issues, but is focused on fixing the basics first.

Some of these include addressing cell phone coverage, replacing radio transmissions systems, testing the new cars as they come online.  There is also a renewed focus on the customer experience.  They are pushing to be more transparent.

Mr. Wiedefeld took a number of questions from attendees that addressed such varied issues as reorganizing the management structure, public relations, weekend service, deploying modern technology, public safety and updating lighting and a broader energy audit.  With regard to WMATA’s physical properties, he sees this as a concession where Metro can make money.  The business community and the local jurisdictions are best positioned to maximize the potential.

As he stated, the way he views the system is that for the region, WMATA is a critical tool in being able to compete with other regions in the United States and around the world.  If WMATA does not work well, it is hard to sell the region.

A copy of the Customer Accountability Report can be found here.

For upcoming MCCC Member Exchange Meetings, click here.

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