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Meet Darryl Irick!

Darryl Irick

President, MTA Bus Company
Senior Vice President, New York City Transit, Department of Buses, New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Member, Clean Propulsion and Support Technology Committee

Please describe your agency’s scope.

MTA New York City Transit is unique in its size, scope and the relationship between the bus and subway sides.

Every day, our buses carry 2.5 million customers along 300 routes. We ­operate and maintain a varied fleet of 5,700 buses and schedule 55,000 trips a day. To handle that many buses we have 31 facilities, located throughout New York City and in Yonkers. During times of emergencies, we are also called in to support the operations of our two sister agencies—the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Commuter Railroad.
How long have you worked in public transportation? What drew you to a career in the industry?
It is no great exaggeration to say that buses are in my blood. My father was a bus operator and a bus maintainer for New York City Transit and he saw his career as one that brought him a great deal of satisfaction while also providing security for his family. He wanted the same for me, and of course he wanted me to advance even higher in the organization.

Did I ever think that I would reach the position I hold now? The best answer to that is this always what I was working towards. I began my career at Transit 29 years ago and have been amply rewarded for my choice of occupation.
Please describe your involvement with APTA and note what’s rewarding about it.
Holding this job allows me to really see the value of being an APTA member. I have been an active participant since 2010 in bus and paratransit ­conferences and EXPOs.

Belonging to APTA really gives me the opportunity to view the industry from the perspective of others. There is a lot to learn from my peers and, on the other hand, being from New York means that I also have a lot to share.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job, and why?
The workshops at the conferences remind you that you are not alone in that agencies from all over the country, both large and small, have similar issues and obstacles. They also must deal with the challenges of being an integral part of the region’s overall mobility network and they may have already addressed an issue that I am just beginning to confront.

The networking and opportunity to make industry connections are vital aspects of the APTA experience. I am able to open new lines of communication with my peer CEOs to hear and see how they deal with issues that are relevant to us all. Some pressing issues now are bus operator assaults, workforce development, technology implementation, safety culture and employee availability—to name a few.
What do you like most about your career?
Being the head of the largest bus operation in North America is a dream job. It is the kind of job that really gives me the opportunity to make a difference.

It is extremely rewarding to feel like you can make a difference at all levels of the organization.  And I have felt this way from my grassroots beginning here as a bus operator to my current position as the head of MTA Bus Operations.

When I began in my current position in 2010, I put forth the philosophies that I have employed throughout my career and branded it as managing Buses as a Business. In essence, I empowered each and every one of my managers to run their areas as they would run their own private bus company by taking ownership of the outcomes, making informed analytically driven, critically thought business decisions, taking a more strategic outlook at their operation by thinking past the everyday tactical decisions and employing technology to improve the travel experience of our customers and internal management.

As these tenets have been embraced, it has been extremely rewarding to see the positive outcomes we have achieved as a team.
What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
Readers may be surprised to learn that as North America’s largest public bus transportation agency that moves almost 700 million people per year, we grapple with the same issues everyone else is dealing with, just on a grander scale.
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