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SLORTA names new executive director

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The San Luis Obispo County intercommunity transit system, which stretches into northern Santa Barbara County, has selected a new executive administrator following the departure of the previous director in August.

On Dec. 22, 2011, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Transit Authority (RTA) board of directors announced their selection of Geoff Straw as new executive director. RTA officials say their candidate brings with him a strong transit background befitting a college community.

“Geoff Straw is an exceptional manager with a proven track record in operations management, capital and transportation planning, and proven abilities to develop and mentor staff,” RTA Board President and SLO County District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson said in a prepared statement.

“He brings in-depth experience ranging from service improvements to strategic planning, helping to bring together diverse local needs to meet regional needs,” Gibson said. “Geoff knows the ins and outs of this business.”

Straw began his career in transit on the first floor as a bus driver for Unitrans at UC Davis—the largest student-run public transit program in the United States, according to an RTA press release.

He currently serves as the general manager for Unitrans, and during his tenure oversaw a $4.5 million budget for a system that served more than 22,000 riders daily, and an average annual ridership of 3.5 million. He has also previously managed bus systems in California and Utah as well as served as a transportation consultant, focusing on transit issues in university and resort communities.

It’s this combined experience that makes him a good fit to address the student- and tourism-driven SLO County transit needs, RTA Marketing and Service Manager Aimee Wyatt told New Times.

According to an RTA release, Straw is an avid bicycle commuter and pledges to take his bike on the bus to work “at least once in a while.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the next executive director of the Regional Transit Authority in San Luis Obispo County, and I look forward to establishing collaborative relationships with our stakeholders as well as working with employees to continue to provide transportation services that improve and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors to the County,” Straw said in the release.

Straw will replace former director Edward King, who left SLORTA in August to take a job as director of the City of Santa Monica’s transit system. King had been in his position since 2008.

Straw will report for his first day on the job on Jan. 30, Wyatt said.

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