Translink announced their new CEO in a press conference on Wednesday. Kevin Desmond, general manager of King County Metro in Seattle since 2004, will be taking over the position on March 21.
“We look forward to welcoming Kevin Desmond to TransLink, which will benefit from his expertise and leadership,” said Don Rose, Chair of TransLink Board of Directors in a statement.
“His experience — including public votes on transit funding and the introduction of a light rail line – and his emphasis on collaboration with customers and local stakeholders will be invaluable as we move forward.”
Not only does Desmond have experience launching light rail, he also launched streetcars and several bus rapid transit lines as well as grew ridership in Seattle by 44%. During his 12-year-long run in Seattle, he also oversaw the rollout of the ORCA card, similar to TransLink’s Compass Card.
The Compass Card has be littered with problems since its official roll-out, including money loading issues and gate issues for wheelchair-bound commuters.
Desmond’s salary will be $365,000 per year, which TransLink says is in the “mid-range” of the approved compensation plan by the Mayor’s Council in October of 2015. He will also receive a housing allowance of $1,500.
The salary package will not include a bonus or vehicle allowance. Former TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis earned $435,015 in 2014, which didn’t include his pension, medical, dental, extended health benefits, short-term bonuses and a long-term incentive plan.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said Desmond will be a “significant asset” to supporting Vancouver’s transit infrastructure plans.
“We look forward to welcoming him as TransLink’s new Chief Executive Officer, and to collaborating in a variety of ways to keep building a transportation network that is more effective, efficient, and customer-focused than ever before,” he said in a statement.
Jarvis was ousted from the position last year amid public perception concerns. He was replaced by former interim CEO Doug Allen, who was then replaced by current interim CEO Cathy McLay.
Desmond’s achievements include introducing bright red bus lanes in Seattle, which have been found to reduce illegal driving in bus lanes by 55%.
He holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University.