Catoe to advise MetroAccess contractor
[This post has been updated]
John B. Catoe Jr., the former Metro general manager who left in April following the deadliest year in history for the transit agency, will have a new role advising the contractor that operates MetroAccess.
MV Transportation, the California-based contractor that runs the transit service for the disabled for Metro, has hired Catoe as an adviser to its executive leadership team. The company announced the hiring on Monday, according to a press release. The news was first reported in the Washington area by WTOP.
Catoe now is a principal at the Catoe Group, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based transit consulting firm, the release said. He will assist MV Transportation with "developing long-term business plans and growth initiatives." According to the release, MV operates more than 190 routes in 24 states, the District and Canada, and employs more than 12,500 people.
Catoe, who ran Metro for slightly more than three years, said he wanted to give the troubled agency a chance for a new start. His last day was April 2. He was replaced by Interim General Manager Richard Sarles, the former chief of NJ Transit.
"The events of the past six months and related incessant publicity have created an unhealthy distraction for the organization," said Catoe in January, reading from the resignation letter he wrote Metro's board of directors. "I have decided that it is time for me to . . . provide this organization an opportunity to move beyond the current distractions."
The son of a D.C. cabdriver, Catoe came to Metro after establishing his transportation credentials on the West Coast. Running Metro, "America's Subway," was the apex of his 30-year career.
When he took over Metro, there were high hopes that he would restore stability. He was the fourth general manager in two years when he began the job in January 2007. At the time, Metro had been battered by a series of train and bus fatalities. Catoe vowed to make safety his top priority and change the culture at Metro.
Last year, the American Public Transportation Association named Catoe its manager of the year, and the Metro board rewarded him in the fall with a new three-year contract.
But 2009 also brought unprecedented troubles to the transit system. Eleven passengers and employees died, and the number of track suicides rose. Metro's financial problems worsened. Ridership fell, and Metro officials blamed the drop on the recession.
Catoe's departure followed months of revelations about lapses in safety and oversight at the nation's second-busiest subway system. Records revealed that Metro's crash-avoidance system had failed more than once before June's Red Line crash, which killed nine people and injured dozens.
Documents also showed that Metro had allowed safety deficiencies to fester for years. Those reports shook public confidence, prompted federal criticism and led to an Obama administration proposal to overhaul transit safety regulation nationwide.
-- Staff reports
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