PHILADELPHIA –The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on May 24 announced the reappointment of Leslie S. Richards as the agency’s General Manager and CEO. The SEPTA Board and Richards agreed to terms of a four-year contract that runs through January 2027.
Richards started as SEPTA’s General Manager and CEO in January 2020, after serving as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) first female Secretary. Her accomplishments at PennDOT include the launch of the Transportation Investment Plan, a metric-driven strategic investment approach for the 12-Year Capital Program.
Just months into her SEPTA tenure, Richards began guiding the agency through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, she kept SEPTA “focused on its core mission of providing critical transportation services for the city and region, both for the short- and long-term,” SEPTA said.
According to the agency, Richards, who previously served on the SEPTA Board, has been the “driving force” behind SEPTA Forward, the Authority’s strategic plan—advancing major initiatives, including Reimagining Regional Rail, Trolley Modernization and Bus Revolution. In addition, the agency says innovative programs, such as SEPTA Key Advantage, are helping with efforts to “rebuild ridership and enhance mobility.”
According to SEPTA, Richards has led efforts to implement a more equitable fare structure, and prioritized capital improvement projects that are making the system more accessible for riders across all modes of travel. Internally, Richards has fostered a workplace environment that “promotes efficiency, accountability, diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“We are thrilled that Leslie will continue to lead SEPTA moving forward,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “When Leslie came to SEPTA, she brought not only her expertise in transportation, but a vision for where she wanted to lead the Authority. Her productive relationships with our funding partners in Harrisburg, as well as at the local and federal level, have served SEPTA well during what has been a very challenging time. This Board is confident that Leslie will continue to successfully advocate for the needs of SEPTA and the customers we serve.”
“I am grateful to the Board for its continued support, and I am excited about the opportunities that we have in front of us,” Richards said. “We continue to strive for a better SEPTA, one that our customers can count on to deliver service that is reliable, safe, and secure.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead SEPTA’s talented and dedicated workforce in the coming years. We have accomplished a lot together, and I truly believe that the best is yet to come,” Richards added.