Metrolink CEO Brief – August 30, 2019
New Guest Conductor Recordings a Success
Pictured left to right Byron Scott (former Lakers player and coach), Stephanie Wiggins (Metrolink CEO), and Jeffery Osborne (Grammy nominated singer).
Last Wednesday, I watched in excitement as each one of our future Guest Train Conductors graced the microphone with their unique flare. From the smooth vocals of Grammy-nominated singer Jefferey Osborne, three-time NBA Champion and former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott, NFL Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Ram Eric Dickerson, to actor/comedian Cedric the Entertainer, each was nothing less than amazing!
First introduced in May, our guest train conductor program has been quite a rewarding experience and with the Northridge Metrolink Station in his neighborhood, Jeffrey Osborne agrees.
Jeffery Osborne (Grammy nominated singer)
"Public Transportation is great! Going from one point to another point is a lot easier. Going and coming is so simple when you ride public transportation. I love it," said Osborne.
Cedric the Entertainer (Comedian and co-star of CBS television show “The Neighborhood”)
Cedric the Entertainer came directly from taping his CBS television show, “The Neighborhood,” to record his message for Metrolink riders. It was a pleasure getting to know him, even more so because Cedric is a big supporter of the American Heart Association, an organization whose Board of Directors I recently joined and will be a partner of Metrolink Cares. Cedric’s neighborhood Metrolink Station is Chatsworth.
“I hope my participation brings a joyous experience to Metrolink riders and causes laughter as they are riding to their destinations. I also hope that my message about Metrolink Cares helps inspire riders to get involved. I want to give riders a new shared experience,” he said.
Eric Dickerson (NFL Hall of Famer)
Meeting Eric Dickerson was a thrill especially since he cares so deeply for our community.
“I’ll do anything to help the City of Los Angeles,” Dickerson said. “I’ve been here for almost 40 years now. I’m from Texas, but I’m almost a native of L.A. and this is my city.” His neighborhood Metrolink Station is also Northridge.
I’m so proud of all Metrolink employees for making the program a success. The idea of leveraging local celebrities and community leaders to voice recordings welcoming passengers onboard, announcing station stops and points of interest along the route brings the experience to life.
Through the guest conductor program, customers experience a fun and unique traveling experience during their commute. Byron Scott is excited about the possibilities of the service and the program.
Byron Scott (former Lakers player and coach)
“I hope they get a sense of my personality by listening to my voice, but I also hope they just get a sense of what Metrolink is about; which is, a healthier life style, as far as cleaner air, less traffic,” Scott said. “For most people you don’t have to drive, it’s less stress.”
Our collaborative efforts with some of LA’s most talented people are only the beginning. The recording was so successful that all of the celebrity guest conductors have agreed to a future ride along!
On Tuesday, I went to the Google campus in Playa Vista to participate in a “Talks at Google,” billed as where “the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers and doers are all in one place.” “Talks at Google” tackle many important issues and on Tuesday, naturally, we talked about transportation, technology and how Metrolink is a necessary part of Southern California’s transit ecosystem.
The panel was moderated by the Head of Ecommerce Southwest, Google Customer Solutions Katie Wilson and my co-panelists were Los Angeles Department of Transportation Assistant General Manager Monique Earl and Delilah Lanoix, a co-founder of ButterFli, a provider of transportation services for disabled persons in Los Angeles
In the one-hour, wide-ranging discussion, we discussed topics such as L.A.’s notorious traffic, the growth of on-demand transportation and its role with Metrolink, and our plans to prepare for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Metrolink has a very good story to tell. We are “the” alternative to traffic congestion. We know that 85 percent of our customers have access to a car, but choose Metrolink. Every year, Metrolink service accounts for 8.7 million car trips not taken. In terms of on-demand transportation, Metrolink has partnered with L.A. Metro on a pilot program to provide on-demand first/last mile options at the El Monte and Burbank Airport-South stations with ride hailing service Via. The results of the program will help us make decisions going forward.
Metrolink Says Goodbye to Oldest Locomotive
Today, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) visited the Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) to certify the engine block of Engine No. 800 was drilled, permanently disabling the engine. Engine No. 800 was removed from service with the arrival of the Tier 4 locomotives. As part of a grant from the SCAQMD, older engines had to be permanently disabled.
Engine No. 800 was the oldest, continuously active engine in Metrolink’s fleet having started its service in1981 in an Amtrak locomotive before coming to Metrolink in 2005.The community will be pleased to know their least favorite piece of equipment has taken it’s last ride.
Tier 4 locomotives reduce emissions between 65 and 85 percent compared to older models, provide 64 percent more horsepower than engines like No. 800 and save engine fuel by 8 percent compared to their replacements. Currently, we have taken delivery of 23 Tier 4s with more on the way.
We can look wistfully on the service that engine No. 800 gave us and how integral it was to the success we enjoy today. Let us now look to the future of safer, cleaner and more efficient rail service.
Rail Safety Summit Coming Soon
Metrolink’s Rail Safety Summit on Sept. 12 is quickly approaching.
The Rail Safety Summit will feature NBC4 Chief Political reporter Conan Nolan as the master of ceremonies, three rail safety panels with speakers from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Amtrak, Operation Lifesaver, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and more! Please visit metrolinktrains.com/summit for a list of the speakers.
The summit, which will be held at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles and include a dinner the night before, will feature keynote speaker, NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy. The sessions will cover topics of grade crossings and Right-of-Way (ROW) safety, the latest Positive Train Control (PTC) update, a discussion on mental health and rail safety, along with quiet zone implementation. In addition, the event will highlight technological developments from industry partners including an opportunity to take a PTC simulator tour.
LA County Fair Service and Social Media Giveaways
In our continued partnership with the LA County Fair, they have allocated 100 tickets for us to provide riders through social media contests and giveaways. The giveaways began last week, continuing every weekday through today on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.
On Labor Day, Sept. 2, an LA County Fair Writing Contest will launch on Metrolink’s Facebook and Twitter. The prompt: submit a paragraph about what the LA County Fair means to you. The five best entries on each channel as determined by a panel of judges will earn their writers a family pack of four LA County Fair tickets!
Lastly, on Tuesday, Sept. 10, we are sending our social media team out to five stations along the San Bernardino Line to hide an envelope of tickets. Once all the tickets are hidden, clues to the location of these envelopes will be posted to Metrolink’s Twitter and Instagram until they are discovered by our most crafty riders!
To connect people to the Fair, San Bernardino Line trains on Saturdays and Sundays after 9 a.m. will make special stops at the Fairplex through Sept. 22. In addition to Metrolink’s regular schedule, a special train has been added departing the Fairgrounds at 8:30 p.m. back toward LA Union Station. For schedules and more information on special fair admission discounts please click here.
Doing Business with Metrolink: Procurement Update
We currently are accepting proposals for E745-20 - On-Call Professional Engineering Design Services through September 17.
We also have released the RFP for the bundled operations and maintenance contract - MSOP150-20 - Rail Operations, Maintenance and Support Services Procurement - due October 11. The objective of the bundled contract is to obtain a single firm or joint venture that will operate and maintain our system for an anticipated base term of 10 years with two 4-year options.
Maintenance activities will include inspection and repair of tracks, bridges, structures, wayside signals, communications, rights-of-way, grade crossings and Level 1 train control systems for the entire system. Responsibilities will also include maintenance of SCRRA facilities and all equipment, locomotives, rail cars and rail car components, along with mechanisms such as brake systems, motors, seats and passenger communication equipment.
The vendor portal can be found here and an up-to-date list of open and upcoming procurements can be viewed here.
Social Media Spotlight
It’s always a joy to read how Metrolink is woven into the lives of our commuters. A simple comfortable getaway turned into a behind the scenes adventure. This is what Metrolink is about; connecting people to the things they love!