April Chan named SamTrans GM/CEO

Oct. 13, 2022
Chan has been with SamTrans for more than 20 years and is described as “an intelligent, thoughtful, savvy and creative leader.”

April Chan, a more than 20-year employee to the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), will succeed Carter Mau as SamTrans general manager/chief executive officer after the SamTrans Board of Directors unanimously approved her appointment. Chan has been serving as acting deputy general manager/CEO and will begin her new role effective Nov. 1, 2022.

SamTrans is the mobility manager for San Mateo County, which operates SamTrans fixed-route buses and Redi-Wheels and RediCoast paratransit. In her new role, Chan also will serve as executive director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which administers the Measure A transportation sales tax to fund transportation projects county-wide. She also will be responsible for services provided by the district to both the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which owns and operates the Caltrain commuter railroad, and the San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Agency.

Chan has been an employee of the district since April 2000 in positions of increasing responsibility, rising through the ranks from senior planner, capital programming and grants to chief officer, planning, grants and transportation authority and acting deputy general manager.

Board Chair Peter Ratto stated, "The Board was gratified to see the broad and diverse group of candidates from across the country who wanted to serve in this role. However, I am even more thrilled to appoint a general manager/CEO who we know first-hand is ready to drive SamTrans into an ever-brighter future. Ms. Chan is an intelligent, thoughtful, savvy and creative leader."

SamTrans Director Jeff Gee, who chaired the recruitment committee for the Board, added that "Ms. Chan will be the first woman general manager/CEO of the district and is the district's first permanent general manager/CEO to be promoted from within. Her appointment is testament to the Board's belief that this agency is headed in the right direction. Ms. Chan has a stellar reputation for working well with regional partners and is widely respected in the industry for her knowledge, professionalism and integrity."

Over her 20-plus years at the District, Ms. Chan's professional successes have included:

  • Providing executive leadership and oversight for the Reimagine SamTrans comprehensive operational analysis, which overhauled the overall network of bus routes.
  • Collaborating with state, federal, and regional partner agencies, as well as private employers, to secure full funding ($550 million) for the San Mateo County U.S 101 Express Lanes project.
  • Serving on the executive team that provided direction for the completion of the first-ever equity study in the SF Bay Area region for express lanes, resulting in a San Mateo County Express Lanes Equity Program that provides community benefits to eligible disadvantaged county residents with either fare or express lane subsidies.
  • Leading the application process for a $647 million federal Core Capacity grant for the Caltrain Electrification Program, and working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrain's partners agencies to secure over $2 billion in funding for the project.
  • Initiating a study of the Dumbarton Bridge corridor area to assess potential trans-bay transportation solutions to help alleviate extensive traffic congestion in an area of expanding growth.

Chan also is currently leading the planning effort for replacement of the SamTrans headquarters building, including development of replacement options suitable for potential public-private partnerships with developers.

Chan said, "I have been responsible for planning, program management, budgeting, real estate, policy development, government affairs and more for SamTrans, Caltrain and the Transportation Authority over the years. With my varied experience, coupled with decades-long relationships in the industry and the region, I am ready to help these agencies reach their maximum potential and serve the county's residents, businesses and commuters."

Looking forward, Chan said, "I recognize the general manager/CEO position will come with many challenges. As a next step after the recently completed Caltrain governance negotiations, I will be working with that agency's various leaders to negotiate a first-ever shared services agreement. In addition, I will be responsible for the rollout and funding plan for the full electrification of the SamTrans fleet, to both fulfill the State mandate and lead the district in meeting its sustainability and climate goals. I am looking forward to taking on these challenges."

Chan's initial contract includes a five-year term and an annual base salary of $350,000.

Chan began her transportation career at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in 1992. She has an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law and is a resident of Foster City.