2020 40 under 40: Adrian Kawun, B.U.R.Pl.

Aug. 18, 2020
Adrian Kawun, B.U.R.Pl., Manager, Service Planning, York Region Transit (YRT) Ontario, Canada
  • One word to describe yourself: Industrious
  • Alma Mater: Ryerson University 
  • Favorite hobbies: Gardening, cycling, cooking, hiking, camping, renovations 
  • Fun fact: I like working as an independent contractor on my time off, fixing anything I can get my hands on. 
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent: Any route in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, traveling through Stanley park. The views are breathtaking and the redwoods are amazing.

Adrian Kawun has worked in the transit industry for more than 15 years and is a leader within the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). He is currently York Region Transit’s (YRT) manager of service planning. Kawun and his team are responsible for overseeing the planning of York Region’s short-term initiatives and long-term transit strategy.

Kawun’s foresight and planning has helped systemwide performance increase from seven million boardings in 2001 to nearly 23 million boardings in 2019. This increase speaks to the direction toward aligning transit service levels with demand, providing a service that is reliable and appealing to residents of York Region. 

Kawun strategically plans for future regional services to meet the needs of the urban, suburban and rural communities that rely on YRT. He introduced public engagement forums to YRT, allowing him and his team to gain valuable feedback from a suite of key stakeholders, ensuring community engagement is a part of the planned annual transit initiatives. This process solidifies the relationship, trust and accountability between YRT, staff at the local municipalities and York Region citizens. 

He participates with staff at community outreach events to advance knowledge of the transit system. He liaises with employers, educational institutions and other GTHA transit agencies to find transit solutions for all travelers, including cross boundary travel. He’s a strong supporter of promoting transit orientation and education to citizens and community groups across York Region. 

Previously, he worked as both a transit scheduler and a planner, and was responsible for introducing and incorporating new technologies into the scheduling system to include bus stop information. He was also responsible for the implementation of IVR and web function testing of scheduling software. His foresight helped changed the reporting of revenue service hours to be consistent with scheduled service, helping to create an accurate forecast for scheduled revenue service hours, and therefore more accurate budgeting. 

Kawun initiated quarterly meetings between service planning mangers across the GTHA to discuss issues and problem solve. His work has helped create the fundamentals in the planning and redesign of the YRT network to feed into higher order transit systems such as the Toronto Transit Commission’s Line 1 subway extension into York Region and Ontario Province’s interregional rail and bus service referenced as the GO Rail Frequent Transit Network. 

He continues to plan for future YRT services that best meets the needs of York Region. Future services include the expansion of YRT’s rapid transit and mobility on-demand services, and the development of a regional express and conventional frequent transit network. He will also work with multiple partners across the GTHA on the Yonge Street North Subway Extension, which is the next subway extension connecting the city of Toronto and York Region. 

Kawun would like to recognize his team for the collaboration and day-to-day hard work required to provide outstanding customer and transit services.

“There are good days and there are bad days; however, being able to help customers any day is what I enjoy the most.”

“Not being able to implement improvements or new ideas immediately to enhance service reliability or the customer experience is the most challenging [part of my job]. With technology developments and enhancements occurring quite often, it is hard not to want to implement them all for the customers and operators.”

“In my experience, there have been project setbacks and even project cancellations, however, being able to move/look forward has provided many opportunities in career and personal growth as networks continue to expand and coordination with other transit providers continues to growth every day.”