The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) elects OC Transpo’s Renée Amilcar as President for 2023-2025. Also, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) fires General Manager of Rail Operations Deltrin Harris.
UITP announced June 4, via a Twitter post, that Renée Amilcar, General Manager of Transit Services at Ottawa’s OC Transpo, has just been officially voted in as the new President by the association’s membership.
The vote was held during UITP’s General Assembly and Amilcar’s term in office will begin in the following days, once the association’s Summit concludes.
Amilcar replaces CEO and Managing Director of the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) Khalid Alhogail, who was elected in 2021 and has completed his two-year term, according to a Sustainable Bus report.
According to the report, Amilcar has been the “first Canadian woman to be appointed as the President of the Bus Committee by UITP from 2017 and 2019 and has also served on the UITP Executive Board starting from June 2019.”
As the General Manager of Transit Services at OC Transo, Amilcar has “played a pivotal role in shaping Ottawa’s public transportation system and promoting sustainable mobility solutions,” according to the Sustainable Bus report.
According to the report, Amilcar is an “experienced professional in the public transport industry,” currently serving as the General Manager of Transit Services for the City of Ottawa since October 2021. Prior to this role, she held the position of Executive Director of Bus Operations at the Société de transport de Montréal for 19 years. During her tenure, she successfully implemented strategies to expand the bus fleet by 15% and played a key role in defining the vision for electrifying the bus network, aiming for a 100% electric fleet by 2025.
With a background in engineering, Amilcar has extensive experience in managing bus operations, maintenance, and planning, overseeing large teams and complex facilities.
Following criticism from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) of CATS’ safety procedures at the light rail system this year, the agency has fired its General Manager of Rail Operations Deltrin Harris, according to a WFAE 90.7 report.
According to the report, City Manager Marcus Jones has suspended the search for a new leader, while Interim CATS Chief Executive Brent Cagle “works to reform the department.” Harris will be replaced on an interim basis by Gary Lee, who has worked with CATS for 20 years.
Harris held the General Manager of Rail Operations position since December 2020, but in the wake of a Lynx Blue Line train derailment in May 2022, the state said the transit system’s response to the accident was “unclear, insufficient and not acceptable,” according to the WFAE 90.7 report.
According to the report, though the train did not top over, and no one was hurt, NCDOT criticized CATS for “not performing the required maintenance on its trains,” and set a speed limit of 25 mph on all Lynx Blue Line trains, which “need to be repaired to correct a wheel bearing fault that could cause them to derail.
According to the WFAE 90.7 report, the state also “threatened to shut down one of the system’s rail lines if it didn’t staff its rail operations control with at least two people.”
Harris’s termination letter, WFAE 90.7 reports, did not go into any details about his job performance. It only said he was being fired for “unsatisfactory performance and the department’s ‘lack of confidence in his leadership ability.’”
According to the report, Harris is the latest leader to leave CATS, which has also seen its CEO, CFO and COO depart in the past year.
Additionally, Tony Creech, who was the rail controller on duty during the derailment, has sued the city over his firing, stating that the “center was routinely staffed with only one person creating undue stress on him and other controllers.” According to the report, CATS terminated Creech for “not following procedures after the accident.”
According to the WFAE 90.7 report, Interim CATS Chief Executive Brent Cagle last week said, “he could not comment on Creech’s case because it involved pending litigation.”