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Catoe to advise MetroAccess contractor

By Michael Bolden

[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

By Michael Bolden  | November 5, 2010; 8:44 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, MetroAccess, Metrobus  
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WTF is going on in this world when this loser, who was perhaps Metro's worst manager ever get rewarded as a consultant. Great, he can help worsen safety for metroaccess so now maybe cars will crash instead of trains. Keep up the good work John! It's only people's lives, no biggie.

Posted by: kennybanya | November 5, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

So, now Catoe can charge contractor fees to the system he ineptly ran. No wonder no one trusts Metro. Get your personnel costs under control.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 5, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Watch out Metro Access riders- the guy that brought you the massive Red Line accident is back!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | November 5, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse


still don't have a permanent GM and metro hires on the former for a consultancy job, in the midst of their safety, budget and PR Mess?!... Unconscionable...

2011 no more metro for me... this is run by kooks!

Posted by: joebananas1 | November 5, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Metro... where even the most incompetent of 'managers' can excel!

Who does Metro have running their PR department? Did they bother to think that maybe, just maybe, this would reinforce riders existing negative view of Metro's 'management'?

Just more evidence that neither Metro's 'management' nor it's Board of 'Directors' has any clue or any care of what it's customers think.

Posted by: mika_england | November 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Believable for an incompetent group. How the heck can I get one of these consulting jobs. In all of my jobs I've never led an organization that caused the death's of people. Surely I'm more qualified then Catoe.

Posted by: xmlconsultant | November 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

xmlconsultant, you have to fail spectacularly and in public before Metro will hire you.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 5, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

This is a joke right? John Catoe consulting now after he single handedly killed 9 people, wasted 100's of millions of dollars and ran the Metro into the ground. This must be a joke, a headline grabber perhaps!!!!!
This man is a waste of oxygen and after he finally resigned, instead of being fired, he now falls face first in deep sh*t to get a contract to consult Metro Access where some of our most vulnerable residents must rely on an already broken poorly managed system to get them to work, Dr's appointments and back home safely. What could Catoe possilby know about safety? Talk about a BOZO he is clearly running for the award of the decade in his pathetic management of Metro.

Posted by: | November 8, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

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