Stephen Spade, Wichita’s transit director for the past five years, has decided to take a one-way ticket to Tucson.
Spade has resigned his post running Wichita’s bus service to take the job of assistant general manager of transit in Pima County, Ariz., a system about five times as large as Wichita’s.
“It was a tough decision. We really like it here,” Spade said of himself and his family. “We’ll miss (Wichita) but this is one of those opportunities that doesn’t come often.”
Spade will work for McDonald Transit, a private company that runs numerous municipal bus systems under contracts with local governments.
The Pima County system has 250 buses and 600 employees, compared with the 50 buses and 140 employees Spade oversees in Wichita.
Spade said his focus as Wichita’s transit director has been to improve the customers’ experience.
While the system doesn’t provide a high level of service in terms of overall routes, “we want to be the best at what we do” in terms of customer service.
Spade also said Wichita Transit has been willing to try new things like the free Q Line trolley service downtown.
Spade’s last day at work here will be Sept. 1. He starts his new job the following week.