Allison Ledford

Sept. 18, 2012
Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority Operations Director Allison Ledford.

Allison Ledford leads Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority's (RTA) largest business unit, overseeing fixed route and paratransit bus operations as well as the RTA's unified call center and paratransit certification center. She is responsible for more than 400 employees, 273 paratransit, electric trolleybus and diesel heavy-duty coaches and two operating locations. Her budget responsibility is more than $35 million annually.

Ledford played a lead role in consolidation of the management of fixed-route and paratransit operations into a unified command and control function, including establishment of a single communications center, cross training of supervision and combining operator groups. This led to a reduction in management staff, a more cohesive employee group and new efficiencies in street service by utilizing paratransit buses to support fixed-route service interruptions. She also proposed the "in-sourcing" of ADA paratransit certifications, a project that netted more than $100,000 in annual savings while relocating the certification center to a more central location at RTA's downtown transit center.

Ledford authored and implemented a "Free on Fixed Route" experiment to mainstream paratransit users onto fixed-route services, reducing paratransit costs by more than $250,000 each year. Her efforts were critical to reducing casual absenteeism from 29 percent to an average of 8 percent over a three-year period and she is currently conducting a manpower utilization experiment which has significantly reduced overtime within the department.

Ledford is a 12-year veteran of the transit business. A Zanesville, Ohio native, she began her career in transit there at South East Area Transit (SEAT) as a dispatcher in 2000. She served as risk manager for SEAT until 2004. She accepted a position with First Transit Inc. in 2004 at the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) as director of Administration and Finance. In 2007, Ledford accepted the position of director of Paratransit Services with Greater Dayton RTA. She became operations director in October 2008.

A Rewarding Career in Transit

"When I came to RTA in Dayton Ohio, I started as the director of Paratransit Services. I became interested in this specific position because I was able to relate to people who have disabilities in that I, too, am disabled and have used a wheelchair for my entire life. I believe that I truly understand and relate to the needs of individuals with disabilities and their transportation needs. Additionally, with my years of experience in transit even beyond the Paratransit and Operations positions, I have a unique ability to balance the individual transportation needs of people with disabilities and the services that RTA is reasonably able to provide for those customers.

"I believe the most rewarding part of my job is knowing that my team and I are working together to meet the transportation needs of customers that may not otherwise have any other way to get to work, school, medical appointments and recreational activities."

"Much like what I enjoy most about my job, I like knowing that people can rely upon a safe and comfortable ride to get them where they need to go. This includes people getting from point A to point B who have no other means of transportation and also those people who choose public transportation for efficiency and financial purposes."

Hopes for Transit's Future

"Funding. I believe that everyone who is in this industry would agree that if all transit agencies were able to increase funding, we could be at least one step closer to providing a more premiere service that fully meets the customer need."

Outside the Office

"Writing is my passion. I believe that words are powerful and if they are constructed well, they can evoke change in people and processes. At this time in my life, writing is a hobby. Personally, I wish I devoted more of my free time to writing as it is a means of relieving stress."