Five years ago to this issue I started my journey at Mass Transit magazine. I’d barely been here a few weeks and I was already on my first visit to a transit agency — heading to Baltimore to meet with Lisa Dickerson and everyone else at the Maryland Transit Administration.
I have to admit that was the site of one of my favorite transit stories. Here I was, just four years removed from 9/11 taking photos of Baltimore’s subway system with my publisher and Ralign Wells, then head of MTA’s Metro subway system, and an MTA transit officer comes up and tries to take my camera away. Talk about a deer in headlights look from me!
Now five years gone I can look back on that and smile. Wells came to my defense and I kept my camera. Now Wells is head of MTA and making a name for himself like so many others have.
Coming up from a bus driver through the same system that he now runs is a remarkable accomplishment and one that should be lauded.
This industry is amazing. It is maligned daily. I don’t mean thatlightly. Every day in so many ways transit takes it on the chin. Comedians joke about it. TV shows propagate stereotypes. Media outlets highlight the worst stories while conveniently forgetting the best. And the government publicly talks up how essential it is while quickly cutting funding behind closed doors when in a pinch.
And through it all transit keeps on moving. It’s (usually) as dependable as the postal service and in many places more essential. It is the lifeblood of our cities and the lifeline of our rural communities. If it weren’t for transit this nation would literally and figuratively stop moving — just ask any city that has had a strike in the last five years!
With that, it’s with some difficulty I move on from being Mass Transit’s editor. When I started I was told by my publisher that transit gets into your blood, and I have been told that by so many others over the years. And boy does it. I only have to watch a movie or TV show and try to figure out where it was filmed by the bus that just crossed a scene to know how it’s gotten into my system.
But like so many others in this industry, I’ve been offered an opportunity I can’t pass up. So this is my stop.
I have so many great memories from my five years in this industry. I’ve seen dozens of transit systems in nearly a dozen countries on three continents. I’ve seen agencies doing so much with so little. But more than anything else, I’ve met some truly amazing people. In the end, that’s what this industry is about — people.
It’s people doing everything they can to make sure other people get where they need to be to meet the people they need to meet. Transit connects us, all of us, on so many levels.
Thank you to everyone for making connections with me over the last five years. You all will be missed.