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The TAPS Public Transit (Texoma Area Paratransit System, Inc.) elected new officers at a special meeting of the Board of Directors held on Oct. 7.
The Board of Directors elected Chris Hill, chairman; Bill Magers, vice-chairman; and Spanky Carter, secretary/treasurer, effective immediately.
Chris Hill, a Collin County Commissioner, replaces outgoing chairman, Jay Davidson. Hill joined the TAPS board in May 2013 and has been vice-chairman since November 2014.
Magers joined the TAPS board in January 2015. Magers is Grayson County Judge and former mayor of Sherman, Texas.
Carter joined the TAPS board in September 2011. Carter is Fannin County Judge.
Tim Patton, Interim CEO/Executive Director, said he looks forward to working with the board and its new leadership during this difficult time for the transportation agency.
“This board is strong and independent; that’s what TAPS needs right now,” Patton said. “My staff and I are ready to work with the board to get this agency back where it needs to be, providing dependable public transportation.”
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TAPS Public Transit (Texoma Area Paratransit System) announced that Tim Patton has been named interim chief executive officer and executive director. Patton has been chief operations officer since 2012.
The appointment comes after former CEO and Executive Director Brad Underwood notified the board of directors at their regular meeting this week that he would resign, effective immediately.
Jay Davidson, chairperson of the TAPS board, said he knew Underwood was wanting to move on after nearly 7 years at the helm. “The TAPS you see today is a testament to what Brad Underwood brought to the agency, with an unlimited vision of how much public transit could offer the communities it serves,” said Davidson.
Going forward, Davidson said the core mission is to develop a plan that takes into consideration changes in how public transportation is funded.
“TAPS has always been innovative in creating public and private partnerships. We will continue to rely on creativity to improve and expand service,” he said.
Patton joined TAPS three years ago as the agency’s first-ever chief operations officer. During TAPS’s aggressive growth from six counties to 17 counties —including entry into Collin County in 2013— Patton was at the forefront of designing plans to bring new communities into the agency’s service area.
“Next year is the 30th anniversary of this little agency that grew to be one of the most visible in the nation,” said Patton. “My commitment is to continue that momentum and dedication to service as we transition to new leadership. Growing pains are inevitable, and we’ve had them.”
TAPS Public Transit has grown its ridership dramatically, providing over 364,000 trips over the past 12 months.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers, the newest member of the TAPS board of directors, knows the value of public transportation to his constituents.
“Transportation is an essential public service that provides a lifeline to people in this county,” said Magers. “As both a public official and a board member, I am dedicated to seeing TAPS Public Transit get back on track and regain the level of service that brought it to statewide attention.” Grayson County is home to the agency’s headquarters.
Grayson County accounts for more riders per capita than any other county in the agency’s service area, surpassing 150,000 trips per annum.
TAPS began as a van and station wagon service in 1986, serving Cooke, Fannin and Grayson counties. Today, TAPS Public Transit’s service area spans over 13,000 square miles across 16 counties in North Texas, and Bryan County in Southeastern Oklahoma. The agency has a fleet of 140 vehicles with 278 employees. TAPS Public Transit also provides non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid members through a contract with the State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission.