Posted in CEO Insight on

Talking Transit with The Rapid’s CEO Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson of The Rapid

Recently, Corp! Magazine, spoke with The Rapid’s CEO Andrew Johnson and the regarding mobility in Michigan. Take a journey inside the Grand Rapids area transit authority to find out what Johnson is working on in his new role.

Here’s what he shared:

Corp!: Looking back on 2018 what success story stands out?
Andrew Johnson: I started in August, but prior to my tenure, The Rapid was able to get the capital investment grant released by the federal government to get the Laker Line funded. At the end of 2018, we received a $696,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration as part of a new $945,000 effort to plan for development along the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit route, focusing on the Division Avenue corridor from Wealthy to 60th streets. The Silver Line is Michigan’s first bus rapid transit route.

Corp!: When speaking to business leaders, how do you make the case for the value of public transit?
AJ: The model that we currently have, and have had for many years, where we build large parking lots/ramps where everyone drives into work and drives home, is an antiquated model. We need to find new ways for employees to get to work. We want to give people choices, to get more and better-qualified employees to work sites and to meet the needs of the new generation of employees who don’t want to own a car. We want to work with employers to find a way to offer good transportation to their employees and their business.

Corp!: How does your system support businesses, employment and economic development?
AJ: Last year, we unveiled Route 19, a partnership between The Rapid, Grand Rapids and Spectrum Health. Spectrum wanted to know how to get larger numbers of employees in and out of their facility. We created a route that serves remote parking lots, Spectrum and facilities along the Medical Mile. Route 19 is a completely different version of the route that existed before. It was serving about 54 people a day. Now it’s serving 1,100 people, primarily employees getting to and from work.

Corp!: As autonomous vehicles, rideshare services and mini-mobility are all developing, what do you think the future holds for public transportation?
AJ: Public transportation is in a great state of change. At The Rapid, we are shifting from public transportation to mobility coordination. Really, my vision for the organization is not to simply be buses and paratransit vans. We want to be a provider of mobility outcomes. With the state of disruption in the transportation area, there are new options popping up all the time and we have to integrate new choices for people.

Corp!: What is your guiding principle to live by?
AJ: My guiding principle really is to be fair, to treat people well and to serve. What I do benefits the community and people around me and that’s why I do what I do.

Corp!: What is the biggest management myth?
AJ: Delaying anything because everything is not perfect is not in the interest of the community. You have to be realistic with the resources you have available to get the best result.

Corp!: What is the most important lesson you have learned in business?
AJ: No matter how great the challenge seems, there is a way to resolve it. Getting too upset about things is not the best course of action. I didn’t always understand that early in my career.

Corp!: What is your pet peeve in the office?
AJ: Not being informed of things on a timely basis. I can handle bad news without too much trouble, but I don’t like surprises.

Corp!: Who is the most interesting person you’d like to meet and why?
AJ: Rosa Parks is very interesting to me, because of her impact on public transportation

View the full article here.

Written by The Rapid

The Rapid (Interurban Transit Partnership) is the authority that provides a variety of public transportation services for the Grand Rapids metro area and beyond. It is organized and operates under Michigan Public Act 196 of 1986.