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Meet Beverly Silas!

Vice Chair
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Austin, TX
Member, APTA Executive Committee, Task Force on Member Collaboration, Transit Board Members and Awards committees

Please describe your agency’s scope.

Capital Metro is the Austin area’s public transportation provider. We’ve been around since 1985, giving residents, commuters and visitors the best possible transit options to match their busy lives.

The agency provides service to more than 31 million riders each year and has spent much of the past few years investing in the region’s mobility with high-­capacity solutions like MetroRapid, which moves more people at less cost and with less environmental impact. We are now entering an exciting phase of development that will see the transformation of our bus system with the goal of increasing the frequency and reliability of our service. Once those changes are implemented, ­Capital Metro riders will be able to take advantage of a truly connected transit system.

What attracted your interest in the industry?
I’ve been involved in public transit all my life. We didn’t own a car when I was growing up in Houston, so we took the bus to school, church, downtown shopping, to see family and friends … everywhere.When I came to Austin to college, I rode Greyhound back and forth between ­college and home. It was just a given. I didn’t purchase a car until I was in my mid-20s.

That experience helps me as a board member when people come to meetings with questions. I can remember standing right where they are standing, which helps me more easily empathize and sympathize with them.

Please describe your involvement with APTA.

I joined the Capital Metro board in January 2010 and attended my first APTA conference—the Legislative Conference—that March. I joined the Transit Board Members Committee at that time. My other involvement [besides those noted above] includes serving on the CEO Search Task Force. In 2015 I served on the Nominations Committee and I headed one of the teams for the APTA Task Force on Member Collaboration.

I also have been a moderator and panelist at various conferences and I was the program chair for the Transit Board Members & Board Support Seminar in 2013.

Which APTA benefit helps you most?

The number one benefit for me is the educational conferences and seminars. APTA does an excellent job in bringing together experts from all over the world on various topics.

Second, I meet other people in the industry, which adds to my knowledge and social infrastructure. I can pick up the phone or send an email to the people I’ve met. They are a great resource.

It was also rewarding to serve on the Nominations Committee. I got to learn more about the people applying to the APTA board. That’s when I really got to learn about them in depth—especially the benefits they bring to their properties and communities.

I go to Legislative Committee meetings, which are beneficial in learning how federal legislation impacts local laws in other states.

The knowledge I get and the contacts I make help me do my job as a board member and make decisions that benefit our stakeholders.

What do you like most about your involvement and service?

It’s the fact that I’ve been able to serve on the board and serve my community. My community involvement is very deep and was part of my job as the director of external affairs for AT&T in the five-county Austin area.

I was the “go-to” for people and organizations, and when I retired after 32 years, I knew everyone and they knew me. I couldn’t just go home and sit down. When I was asked to serve on the board, it was a way to continue serving my community.

I also enjoy educating young people and students at all levels about transit’s career options—especially girls.

What would readers be surprised to learn about your agency?
I was familiar with Capital Metro, but when I became a board member, I found out how knowledgeable the people here are, how smart and awesome they are. They work hard every day because they love the work. I often think that when their big toe hits the floor every morning, they wonder ‘what can I do today to make things better?’ They go out of their way to serve the public, whether the public knows about it or not.

Also, Capital Metro is the first transit property in Texas (maybe the country) to put all of its financials—including its check register—online. We’re all about total transparency.
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