Transit Unplugged, a podcast for transit professionals, covered the Virtual ThinkTransit conference. For the keynote speaker, RTA CEO Alex Wiggins was invited to join Phil Verster, President and CEO of Metrolinx and Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO of BC Transit.
The podcast's description provides an overview of what Alex discussed:
Alex, as other speakers will note later, the pandemic highlighted the often historical disparities between the people who need transit and those who run it. Alex's own parents couldn't fully use the transit system he now runs. And the ferry system that's part of his network was once used as an embarkation place for African slaves.
In New Orleans, as in many other cities across North America, people of color were disproportionately affected by both the pandemic health-wise, but economically as well. As Alex had to reduce service at the height of the pandemic, was he inadvertently hurting the very people he most needed to serve. Alex's goal, spurred by the pandemic, is looking at his entire transit system and remove barriers. He wants to get headways below 15 minutes and make transit riders equal to car drivers in access to jobs and services.