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TransLink taps Maryland transit boss Kevin Quinn as new CEO

New boss to take the helm in July
Kevin Quinn is set to take the helm in July | submitted

TransLink’s post-pandemic ridership rebuild will be getting some help from south of the border.

The regional transit authority revealed Tuesday it’s hiring Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) CEO Kevin Quinn to take the helm this summer.

TransLink’s general counsel, Gigi Chen-Kuo, has been serving as interim CEO ever since former top boss Kevin Desmond departed in February to return to his family in Seattle.

Quinn, who takes on the new job July 19, had been CEO of MTA since 2017 after previously serving as the transit agency’s director of planning and programming.

He oversaw the deployment of MTA’s first mobile payment app — the CharmPass — and helped develop its real-time tracking technology for customers using bus and commuter rail services.

Quinn holds a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University.

MTA describes itself as the 13th-largest transit system in the U.S. with an annual operating budget of US$850 million ($1.02 billion).

While the Canada-U.S. border remains tightly restricted amid the pandemic, foreign workers on essential business have been able to travel into Canada.

TransLink said Quinn would be moving to Metro Vancouver with his wife and two kids in the coming months while following public health guidelines.

Quinn will be focused on rebuilding ridership as part of TransLink’s post-pandemic recovery, according to the transit authority.

This comes as predecessor Desmond revealed last November TransLink was initially “bleeding revenue” to the tune of $75 million a month as ridership plummeted by 83% at the outset of the pandemic.

“It was an existential crisis for us, certainly in terms of our funding going forward,” he said.

Since then, ridership has been climbing upward as more people have returned to work following the initial lockdown.

But Desmond said his organization was also focusing on examining the future of work as many people who previously relied on transit now find themselves working from home.

“It's going to have a profound or potentially profound impact on transit demand and our network planning,” he said during a virtual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

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