Gary C. Thomas, the president and executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, has informed the DART Board of Directors of his intention to retire from his position after almost 20 years of leadership.
According to DART, the board will begin the process of searching for a successor for Thomas.
"It has been my privilege and honor to be part of Dallas Area Rapid Transit for this moment in time," Thomas said. "I have seen many "firsts" throughout the years and have been able to work with many dedicated board members and team members as DART has evolved into an indispensable resource for our residents throughout North Texas and beyond. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to our current management team and our almost 3,700 employees, as well as all of the DART team over the last 20 years that without whom our shared success would not have been possible. I'm extremely proud of what we have built with help from our communities and elected officials with whom we share a vision for our future. I have complete confidence that DART will continue to improve the quality of life in North Texas."
Thomas joined DART in 1998 as the senior vice president of project management with almost 20 years of experience as an engineer and architect, consulting for national and international projects going back to 1986.
He was appointed as the president and executive director in 2001 when DART's rail system was only 20-miles long, DART said. Thomas led the agency to provide North Texas residents with a 93-mile light rail network, the longest in the country.
Thomas directed DART's commitment to sustainability and conservation with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to provide clean, alternative transportation options that help decrease the number of cars on the road, DART said.
This commitment focused on renewable energy and involved the transition of the entire DART bus fleet to natural gas fuel rather than diesel.
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According to DART, the agency was also an early proponent and adopter of electric buses, adding seven buses to the fleet in 2018.
Thomas led the effort to make DART's multimodal transit system flexible, reliable, affordable, and more available to everyone by developing new technologies and services including fare equity, cash to mobile options, and GoLink.
DART said Thomas developed polices that engaged development projects near the agency's light rail stations, generating billions of dollars in revenue, taxes, and jobs for the local economy and enhancing mobility opportunities that improved the quality of life of North Texas residents.
"On behalf of the DART Board of Directors, I want to thank Gary for his service to the agency, the member cities of DART, and the residents of North Texas," Paul N. Wageman, chair of the DART Board of Directors, said. "Through his leadership and dedication, he has earned the respect of city leaders, the DART board, its employees and his peers in the industry for his passion and innovation. Gary is leaving DART in a strong position, as the quality of the management and operations teams has never been better. We are grateful to Gary for his leadership of DART and his friendship. We wish him the best as he embarks on this chapter of his life."