Latinos In Transit Announces New Officers, Full Board for 2024
Latinos In Transit (LIT) announced its board for 2024 by confirming the appointment of officers and directors and welcoming two new directors. The newly appointed officers will serve a two-year term starting January 2024, bringing a wealth of experience to their respective roles. The appointed officers are:
Herold Humphrey - President:
- Herold Humphrey, a seasoned transit professional currently serving as senior transit operations specialist at Jacobs, brings more than three decades of public and private transit experience to his role as president. Previously serving as the vice president of LIT for the last two years, his dedication and extensive knowledge make him an invaluable asset to the organization.
Elizabeth Carter - Vice President:
- Elizabeth Carter, assistant transit director at RIO Metropolitan Transit District and president of the New Mexico Transit Association, assumes the role of vice president after serving as secretary for the past two years. Her commitment to advancing transit initiatives combined with her leadership within the New Mexico Transit Association positions her as a dynamic force in shaping the future of LIT.
Eugenio Bonet - Treasurer:
- Eugenio Bonet, the architecture operations director at HNTB, continues with the responsibilities of treasurer. His financial acumen and strategic thinking will contribute significantly to LIT's fiscal management and long-term sustainability.
Megan Perrero - Secretary:
- Megan Perrero, partnerships and engagement specialist at the Shared-Use Mobility Center, assumes the role of secretary. Her expertise in fostering collaborations and community engagement aligns seamlessly with LIT's mission to create a more inclusive and accessible transit environment.
Immediate past LIT President, who serves on the Association's Task Force for a More Inclusive, Diverse, and Equitable Association, Alva Carrasco, will serve as ex-officio. LIT also welcomes two new board members: Dietter Aragon, business development manager at The Routing Company, and Lina Aragon, operations manager at PalmTran. Dietter Aragon brings more than 22 years of comprehensive experience in the public and private transit sector to his new role as a board member. He began his transit journey in 2001 as a coach operator.
Founded in 2016, Latinos In Transit (LIT) was created to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation. Membership is made up of public and private transportation professionals from across the nation who meet regularly to network, share information and celebrate the professional development of all members.
Golden Empire Transit Selects New CEO
The Board of Directors of Golden Empire Transit District (GET) have selected a new CEO who will take command of the transit district on February 20, 2024. Michael Tree will succeed Karen King, longtime leader on the Association's Executive Committee and immediate past Chair (2021-2023), who will be retiring after serving the District for more than 15 years.
Mr. Tree has a vast background in leading public transit agencies in California and Montana. He grew up in Porterville, California and looks forward to returning to the Central Valley in a leadership role.
Most recently, Mr. Tree has served as the CEO/General Manager of Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District in Santa Cruz, California, where he focused on growing ridership and converting the bus fleet to zero emission vehicles. From 2018-2022 he was the Executive Director of the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority in Livermore, California while simultaneously serving as the Executive Director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority.
“We feel very fortunate to have found a new CEO with the caliber of Michael Tree. He brings vast experience in transit and a unique knowledge of our community having grown up in Porterville,” said Cindy Parra, Golden Empire Transit District Board Chair. “We hate to see Karen King retire, but we look forward to the possibilities that Mr. Tree will bring to the District in the coming years.”
The Golden Empire Transit District (GET) was formed in July 1973. It is the primary public transportation provider for the Bakersfield Urbanized Area. GET is the largest public transit system within a 110-mile radius. The District’s legal boundary includes Bakersfield city limits as well as adjacent unincorporated areas. GET has a fleet of 90 compressed natural gas buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. GET services 16 routes, which operate 7 days a week and transport more than 3.5 million passengers each year with its fixed-route buses. In addition, GET operates 21 compressed natural gas On-Demand buses and 10 Hydrogen Fuel cell buses.
METRO Awarded $2,000,000 to Convert Watsonville Transit Center into Affordable Housing
The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) has been awarded $2,000,000 from the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments’ (AMBAG) Regional Early Action Planning Grants of 2021 (REAP 2.0) Regional Competitive Grant Program (RCGP). The funds will be used to redevelop METRO’s Watsonville Transit Center into an affordable, transit-oriented housing development.
The ground floor of this infill development will serve as a METRO transit center and ticketing office. The upper floors will hold 65+ units of net-zero affordable housing. Bus operations will be relocated to on-street bus bays to maximize the development potential of the one-acre site. In addition, METRO plans to operate two bus routes with 15-minute frequencies between the Watsonville Transit Center and Santa Cruz. These routes will meet the state’s definition of high-quality transit.
“The Watsonville project is an excellent example of how infill development combined with affordable housing can also support exciting multimodal transportation opportunities,” said METRO Board Chair, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson. “METRO is proud to bring forward a project that will increase access to housing and transit in Watsonville, a historically underserved community.
“Transit-oriented development coupled with increased transit service is proven to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), especially in corridors with long commutes, such as the one between Watsonville and Santa Cruz,” said METRO Vice Chair, Kristen Brown. “To further increase transit use, free transit passes will be provided to all project residents.”
The REAP 2.0 Grant Program is a statewide effort to invest in housing, planning, and infill housing-supportive infrastructure across California to reduce VMT, increase housing affordability, and advance equity. VMT reduction is a critical tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; reducing air pollution and its harmful health effects; and addressing climate change.
BART's Low-Income Fare Discount Increases to 50%
BART is helping lower-income riders pay their fare by increasing its Clipper START means-based fare discount from 20% to 50%, which started Jan. 1. This means that Clipper START users pay half the regular BART fare.
Clipper START, a pilot program facilitated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, offers the discount for Bay Area residents ages 19 to 64 whose incomes are less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Clipper START is accepted by more than 20 regional transit operators. Those who qualify can apply for the program here.
BART offers multiple fare discounts in addition to Clipper START, including discounts for youth (50% off with a Youth Clipper card), seniors (62.5% off with a Senior Clipper card), passengers under 65 with qualifying disabilities (62.5% off with an RTC Clipper card ), and a High-Value Discount (adult Clipper users who buy $45 or $60 Clipper cards when autoloadis set up get $48 and $64 worth of value, or a 6.25% discount).