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11.8.18 – SPOKES Notes & Photos

SPOKES Notes writeen by Roger Morgenstern

Our Speaker  

  • Peter Varga has seen many changes to the nation’s transportation system since he was driving a New York City cab while a college student in the 1960s.
  • He said the world is more “disruptive” with many different forces affecting public transportation’s future. Although he recently retired as the CEO of The Rapid, Varga remains on the board of a national transportation association and is keenly interested in transit’s future.
  • He said public transportation needs to take a private business approach and see transit as a service offering to individuals. It has to compete with a lot of other transportation services, including companies such as Lift and Uber. And public transit needs to develop more smart phone technologies because the other “services”  have all aspects of that customer experience connected to the phone, from reservations to payment.
  • Varga said it took America 13 years, from 1900 to 1913, to convert from horse and buggies to streetcars. He said future evolutions will come much quicker.
  • “This disruption is a result of a convergence of different technologies” which also include electric and autonomous vehicles in addition to the ride-hailing services. Other competitive transportation forces include electric scooters and better access for bicyclists on public roads.

News and Notes

  • President Chelsea inducted our two newest members this week, Ben Crompton, an accountant with Culver CPA Group and Greg Sanial, vice president for finance and CFO for Grand Valley State University.
  • Chelsea introduced our current “inbound” Rotary exchange student, Masayaki (Masa) Yamato, of Japan. We hope to hear more from him soon. She also introduced Jacob Starner, our “outbound” student, who will be going overseas next year. While his country is not yet known Jacob would like to go to Germany.
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