Thomas S. Phillips serves as the executive director of both the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District and Polk Transit. He oversees 150 employees and directly operates 16 fixed routes and 11 ADA paratransit routes throughout the service area, which is located within central Florida.
Phillips administers an annual budget of $10 million and ensures proper financial affairs of the system to assure compliance with all federal and state regulations. In just one short year, he has introduced a day pass based system on the fixed-route service, ending a 30-year history of an antiquated transfer-based system.
Phillips has secured a funding agreement with the largest area college (Polk State College) resulting in free rides for 20,000 students, faculty and staff. He has also launched a Transit Development Plan to secure community buy-in for a 2014 transit referendum to bring public transit to the more than 2,000-square-mile service area.
Phillips has a varied background,including working for Brown Mackie College in Michigan City, Ind., where he was an adjunct professor of Psychology & Sociology. His transit career started in 2005 when he was appointed as the director of Transportation for the Northwest Indiana Community Action Corp. in Hammond, Ind.
His overall responsibilities included an operating budget of $4 million and he provided more than 144,000 unlinked passenger trips on an annual basis. Some highlights of his work in Indiana are that during his first year he was able to decrease overall expenses by $251,000 and decrease total vehicle miles by 31,642, all while increasing the overall unlinked trips by 5 percent.
In 2008 Phillips joined PACE Suburban Bus in Chicago as a senior project manager II. Under his supervision, the system maintained 14,000 paratransit trips daily and he was responsible for the Trapeze PASS software application.