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Meet Allan Pollock!

Allan Pollock
General Manager/Chief Executive Officer
Salem-Keizer Transit (Cherriots)
Salem, OR
Member, APTA Board of Directors; Vice Chair, Small Operations Committee; Member, Bus and Paratransit CEOs Committee; Graduate, Leadership APTA Class of 2000

Please describe your agency’s scope.

Salem-Keizer Transit, locally known as Cherriots, provides a variety of local services within the cities of Salem and Keizer and throughout the mid-Willamette Valley. Our public transit services include fixed routes, paratransit, shopper shuttle and dial-a-ride, along with a rideshare program and reservation call center.

The local transit services are complemented by a regional commuter service that provides transportation to smaller cities in two rural counties. Likewise, ­Cherriots offers express service north to Wilsonville with connections to Portland’s TriMet commuter rail. Cherriots also contracts with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to provide service to their Spirit Mountain Casino, located west of Salem.

Through its Trip Choice (rideshare) program, Cherriots develops and offers a variety of transportation options such as vans and carpooling. Additionally, we operate a call center that brokers non-emergency medical transportation for the mid-valley.

This past year, Cherriots services provided more than 3.3 million rides on 21 local routes and eight regional routes.

What attracted you to the industry?
I have been in the public transportation industry for 26 years and have served at three public transit agencies. I began my career in human resources at the Orange County Transportation Authority in Southern California and worked my way into operations. After that, I moved to Montebello Bus Lines, a city transit department in Los Angeles County, and stayed for 10 years. In 2007, I came to Salem-Keizer Transit as the general manager/CEO.

I first learned about transit when my parents rode the commuter bus to work and saw how convenient it was. My neighbor was also a bus operator for the local transit agency where I grew up in Rochester, NY.

My entire career has been one of public service, first in the U.S. Army, then in the National Guard and Army Reserve—ultimately serving for 26 years. I retired from military service in 2006. I saw public transit as another great opportunity to serve.

Please describe your involvement with APTA.

I first started getting involved with APTA in the late 1990s. In addition to the committees I serve on (see above), I am a Leadership APTA graduate and have served on several ad hoc committees, most recently the Revenue Task Force. I am a board member and past president of the Oregon Transit Association.

APTA membership has been very rewarding to me by allowing me to meet and learn from my peers. I have learned a lot about many different aspects of the public transit industry through my involvement in APTA.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?
Legislative advocacy is the most valuable benefit to me and my organization. As general manager/CEO of a small transit agency, I can leverage APTA’s knowledge, credibility and access at the federal level. I use APTA resources to help keep my ­federal legislators educated and informed about public transportation.

Moreover, APTA’s conferences are very valuable for personal development and provide access to my peers—both of which help me be a better general manager.

What do you like most about your industry involvement?

I find great personal value in being part of an industry whose mission includes improving people’s lives. Every day we make a positive difference by providing access to jobs, education and appointments, connecting people with the places they want to go.

I believe we as public transit professionals have a duty not only to lead our organizations but to help make the industry better. Involvement in APTA allows me to do that.

What would readers be surprised to learn about your agency?
First, Salem-Keizer Transit is one of the few public transit districts with a directly elected board. When the district was established in 1979, the community believed it was important that the governing body be directly accountable to the people.

Secondly, we have an award-winning transit center that features multiple sustainability features. It also includes an educational component that allows self-guided tours through a series of educational kiosks that educate participants on sustainability and the district’s commitment to improving the environment.
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