“It’s been just an amazing experience,” he said. “The community has been beyond inviting, warm, welcoming and really engaged.”
Clarke started at Capital Metro in March 2018, after working as vice president of operations and member services for the American Public Transportation Association and deputy chief operating officer for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, according to Capital Metro’s website.
Clarke credits his team for Capital Metro’s accomplishments over the past year, including free fares for children and Cap Remap, an overhaul of the agency’s bus system. After Cap Remap, Capital Metro saw its ridership increase after years of decline.
“We still have a long way to go, we think we should be providing even more service,” Clarke said. “There’s no question that [Cap Remap] not only again provided more access—specifically for people that needed that access, low-income, minority populations in the city—but it provided a better connected city.”
Clarke named the development of outside partnerships, such as with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Austin ISD and Texas Department of Transportation, as another success of the past year.
“I think we’ve increased our partnership engagement significantly, [with] external partners,” he said.
Recently, Capital Metro opened a new Operations Control Center. Clarke said some of the next projects on the horizon include the groundbreaking of a new downtown Austin MetroRail station, a new fare system currently in-the-works, a new app and 52 new buses coming online this year.
“[How do we] every day think about delivering the best possible service to our customers?” Clarke said. “I think that’s what I really want to focus on, how do we constantly get better every day? … Secondarily, a big thing I’m focused on is Project Connect.”
Project Connect is a regional transit plan that started in 2013. Late last year, Capital Metro’s board approved a vision map highlighting corridors the agency will study to identify the best transit modes.