BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL TRANSIT SYSTEMS
Hugh Mose '71 (civil engineering) turned his childhood love of trucks and buses into an award-winning 34-year career managing public transportation systems. Recently named the American Public Transportation Association's Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, Mose has led small public transit systems in Iowa, California and Washington, and is general manager of the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) in State College, Pa.
While his focus is on small transit systems, he's never been one for small ideas. Since coming to CATA 15 years ago, Mose has spearheaded innovative initiatives: CATA has developed its own iPhone and Android apps, its 60 buses are equipped with GPS systems and it has been using natural gas to fuel its buses for nearly 15 years.
"We are able to do things that are more typical of a major urban area because we have a progressive and technologically savvy community that has embraced public transportation," Mose says of State College's university-dominated populace. Of CATA's 7 million annual riders, 90 percent are affiliated with Penn State in some way, he estimates.
Running this thriving bus system comes with a broad array of challenges and rewards that Mose relishes. "In one week, I may be involved in labor negotiations and service planning, conferring with state legislators and business leaders and meeting with individual customers," he says. He's also involved in state and national transit industry associations and many local community groups.
That diversity also translates to the challenges Mose faces. Despite raising fares and cutting service, CATA is dealing with budget constraints at a time when its bus fleet and maintenance facilities are overdue for updates. It is also battling rising health care costs for its 150 workers. And the clock is ticking for Mose's agenda. He plans to retire in 2014 with his wife of 39 years, Janyce Reimer Mose '73, whom he met at a Bucknell fraternity party.
But Mose is still focused on moving CATA forward. "I have a lot to do in the next three years," he says. "I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll be able to find a way through this transportation funding crisis and carry on with our agenda."
— Amy Roach Partridge
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