[tabi] Re: Starmetro's Garrison leaves for new job

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 19:25:19 -0500

Proud of 5 electric buses that must be recharged about once an hour, taking 10 
minutes away from running routes? Proud that we don't have automated 
announcements on buses? Proud that we still don't have braille bus signage or 
tactile indication of where bus stop poles are? Really, has anyone ridden any 
of these electric buses? Frankly, this makes me angry. Think I'd take a job in 
another state too.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:40 AM
  Subject: [tabi] Starmetro's Garrison leaves for new job

  From today's Democrat:


  The man behind the city's public-transit overhaul is leaving StarMetro's top 
post for one more focused on advancements in electric buses and smart 


  StarMetro's Executive Director Ron Garrison is going to work for Proterra 
Inc. in Greenville, S.C., a company helping to revolutionize future public 
transit that also has a city contract for Tallahassee's first electric buses. 
His last day with the city is Jan. 1.


  Garrison, 55, led the move toward a decentralized bus system in July 2011, 
eliminating the need to transfer only at C.K. Steele Plaza and adding more 
transfer points citywide.


  Praise and complaints followed and some regular riders continue to question 
the system's efficiency.


  Garrison stands by the upgrade, adding it now has more routes traveling to 
areas not previously served, shorter overall trip times and more buses serving 
stops at peak times.


  "I'll take all the darts and arrows. I knew this would be very hard, but I 
knew in my heart it was the right thing to do," Garrison said. 

  "We created a system that laid a foundation for the future of Tallahassee. 
With the other system there was no real way to improve or expand it without 
totally exploding the cost."


  The challenge was making the historic change without spending more money 
while also attracting new riders. StarMetro reports a 2.5-percent increase in 
ridership when compared to the average ridership of the three prior years.


  Two years ago, the Federal Transit Administration gave the city a $5-million 
grant to purchase electric buses.


  The following year, the city entered into a contract with Proterra to buy 
three new, all-electric buses and construct a charging station. 

  Last year, the grant was bumped to $7 million for an additional two electric 


  Garrison, an enthusiast of tech-savvy enhancements throughout StarMetro's 
shop, said he'll be responsible for developing new intelligent transportation 
systems and working with customers on warranty and maintenance systems.


  "I've been hear almost eight years," Garrison said, adding he's proud of the 
support he received by city administration and the commission. 

  "This is such a tremendous opportunity for my family and I. I really 
struggled with it, but I couldn't pass it up."


  Ivan Maldonado with StarMetro will be the acting director once Garrison 


  City commissioners recently said they want to have a workshop on 
infrastructure proposals to improve the overall system, such as adding more 
cement padding at grassy stops and covered shelters, said Assistant City 
Manager Jay Townsend.


  "From our perspective, we are continuing to move forward," he said, adding 
Garrison and his team took on the challenge to transform the system. "We have 
pretty much a modern fleet ... He should be proud of what he's done."






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