2023 40 Under 40: Andrew Arnes

Aug. 22, 2023
Andrew Arnes, Customer Experience Manager, Pierce Transit

One word to describe yourself: Adaptable

Alma Mater: Utah State University and Eastern Washington University

What’s your best experience on transit and what made it memorable?: My best experience on transit was riding our system with an operator who was about to retire after 20-plus years of service. They had so many great stories to share, and it was apparent they cared deeply for our customers by the way they treated each person who stepped onto the bus. They went above and beyond to provide an exceptional, uplifting experience that had a visibly positive impact on people. I appreciated their level of commitment and dedication, and the valuable education I received during the relatively short time I spent with them.

Andrew Arnes is the customer experience manager at Pierce Transit, where he is responsible for planning, organizing, managing and directing activities that promote positive customer experiences while working to strengthen the agency's brand and reputation.

Shortly after Arnes joined Pierce Transit, the agency’s rideshare program faced significant challenges due to the pandemic, including a substantial decrease in ridership and the need to adapt to changing work schedules. Despite these obstacles, Arnes recognized an opportunity to transform one of the nation’s largest ridesharing programs and improve the customer experience. Under his leadership, the rideshare team worked tirelessly to revamp the program's operational and service components, leading to significant improvements in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Arnes has spearheaded several key initiatives during his relatively short tenure at Pierce Transit, including a fare analysis that resulted in a completely new fare structure, and the implementation of a part-time rider service and flexible daily rider service. He also secured a regional rideshare incentive program grant, designed and implemented new program technologies, and made several updates to the rider onboarding experience that simplified and streamlined the process of joining or starting a new rideshare group. In addition, Arnes transitioned all remaining customer forms online and implemented a new revenue and cost recovery management tool.

Andrew’s enthusiasm for the transportation industry goes beyond his role at Pierce Transit. He is also a vocal advocate for public transportation and its importance to the community, demonstrating his commitment to the industry’s growth and development.

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

A friend encouraged me to apply for a job in transit. Without that invitation, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I appreciate the opportunity to make a positive impact on our customers and the community.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Working in transit has many rewards, however, there are also several challenges. One of the more significant challenges in my current role is managing the expectations and demands of a diverse range of stakeholders with varying needs, preferences, and circumstances.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

One accomplishment I’m particularly proud of is successfully implementing a simplified fare structure for our rideshare program. We reduced the number of variables used to calculate fares from three to one, which reduced the number of possible fare combinations from more than 2,000 down to six and gave customers a simple, predictable, and consistent monthly fare.

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

One valuable piece of advice I can share is to prioritize proactive communication with your customers. Actively reaching out to customers before they have a chance to reach out to you can make a big difference in their experience and overall satisfaction.

About the Author

Brandon Lewis | Associate Editor

Brandon Lewis is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lewis is a former freelance editorial assistant at Vehicle Service Pros.com in Endeavor Business Media’s Vehicle Repair Group. Lewis brings his knowledge of web managing, copyediting and SEO practices to Mass Transit Magazine as an associate editor.