Metro announces next general manager, CEO
Clarke currently leads Austin, Texas' metro system
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s new general manager and CEO is Randy Clarke, the current president and CEO of Austin, Texas’ Capital Metro.
The board of the authority, which runs Metrorail and Metrobus, announced Tuesday that Clarke will assume the position in late summer. Metro’s current general manager and CEO, Paul J. Wiedefeld, announced in January that he would retire June 30 after six years with Metro.
Clarke, who has served as president and CEO of CapMetro since March 2018 and led a multibillion-dollar expansion of Austin’s public transportation system, comes to Washington during a challenging time for Metro, which has faced declined ridership during the pandemic and the suspension of more than half of its train car fleet due to malfunctions last fall.
Before joining CapMetro, Clarke was vice president of operations and member services at the American Public Transportation Association, where he led safety audits and industry peer reviews, and he held several roles at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, beginning in 2009. He served as the chief safety officer, director of security and emergency management and deputy chief operating officer.
“I am honored to be selected as the next general manager/CEO of Metro and want to thank the WMATA board for their confidence in me to help lead this amazing organization through a critical time in its future,” Clarke said in a statement. “As a fellow transit customer, I will be focused on delivering the safe, reliable and customer-centric transit service that this region deserves. I look forward to meeting with staff, customers, stakeholders and community members to learn more about how we can collectively build a bright future together.”
Metro is currently working on three mixed-use projects near the West Falls Church station that will comprise more than 3.2 million square feet. In April, WMATA released its first-ever strategic plan for joint development that includes creating 26,000 housing units in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The Metro has had delays and difficulties with its service since October 2021, when a wheel problem caused a derailment. In January, WMATA suspended its 748 7000 series rail cars, about 60% of its fleet.
However, on Monday there was some good news: Metro announced its total ridership was nearly 40% ahead of projections for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022. In March, average weekday rail ridership peaked Tuesday through Thursday at 230,000, and average bus ridership at 280,000. Metrobus has now hit 61% of its pre-pandemic ridership levels.