Archive for the Director’s Corner Category

Time For A New Chapter

GWTA DirectorThis is my 28th and final Director’s Corner. It is time for a new chapter in my life as I transition into retirement. My final day as director at GWTA is August 3. My first day was August 18, 2014. These past four years have been the most rewarding in my 42 year career in transportation. I have been welcomed into a community that I had never visited before. Before I came to work here, Goldsboro had been a spot on the map on my way to the coast.

As my first Director’s Corner in June 2015 mentioned, it takes a community for transit to prosper and grow. I am thankful for the support received from the Wayne County Commissioners, the Goldsboro City Council, countless human service agencies, the GWTA Board of Directors, riders, but most importantly, the GWTA staff and drivers. Without the staff and drivers, none of the changes made over the last four years would have succeeded.

GWTA is left in capable hands. Don Willis has been working at my side for the past six months. He is a man of vision, integrity, and passion for transit who has been a transit professional for more than 20 years. He has been a transit advocate on the local and state level and has been instrumental in a number of transit-related initiatives across North Carolina. GWTA will continue to move forward under Don’s leadership.

Thank you Goldsboro and Wayne County. You will always be in my heart.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Have Heard

GWTA DirectorThank you to all the riders who participated in the annual customer satisfaction survey held during the week of April 2. We heard from you about what GWTA is doing right, what we could do better, and what you would like us to do in the future. Many of your suggestions from prior years have been implemented. For example, you requested extended bus hours and that was done. This year, as always, we wanted to know your thoughts on our four basic focus areas: safety, cleanliness, courtesy, and on-time performance.

This year’s survey results are similar to prior years. GWTA is most proud of our safety record. Safety is always our number one consideration. Overall, 99% of the riders feel safe on the vehicles. Less than 5% of the riders feel unsafe at the bus stops.

Cleanliness is also important to us. 93% of respondents feel the vehicles are clean and 72% feel the bus stops are clean. Drivers are being encouraged to inform the office when stops or shelters need cleaning. Custodial staff will be sent out immediately to clean these areas. 87% tell us that the transfer center and its restrooms are clean. This is always a challenge and will continue to be a high priority.

GWTA is proud that only 1% of the riders are dissatisfied with driver courtesy and friendliness. Only 2% stated that the drivers were not helpful. Driver and staff courtesy has been one of my major goals since taking over as director in 2014.

Finally, one of the areas needing attention is on-time performance. Only 75% of bus and van riders are satisfied with on-time performance. Sometimes, traffic conditions, weather, or accidents affect this measure. However, efforts are being made to make sure the drivers leave the transfer center as on-time as possible. We need to do a better job explaining what on-time performance is on the van side. Actually, our on-time performance is 95%. On-time performance is measured in terms of the passenger drop off time; however, riders think about it in terms of their pick-up time. This question will also be reworded next year to explain it better.

Overall, our riders have given GWTA a 92% approval rating. While this is good, we aim to do better. Let us know what GWTA can do to improve your ride. We are always listening. Your voice will be heard.

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Most Grateful

GWTA DirectorThe Director’s Corner this time is not about GWTA. It is about something much more important and meaningful to all of us.

May is one of my favorite months of the year. The weather has finally changed to mostly warm and sunny days. The humidity has not yet become unbearable. It is possible to sleep with the windows open and enjoy the cool night breezes.

May is also the time of the year when we honor our mothers. We are all grateful for the woman or women in our lives that raised us, molded us, wiped our noses and other places, taught us right from wrong, and made sure that we were loved. For many this precious lady may not have been our biological mother. It may have been a grandmother, aunt, sister, teacher, or neighbor that cared for and about us.

As Mother’s Day on May 13 approaches, please take time to thank the person that made a difference in your life. If that person is no longer with us, remember them in your prayers and thoughts. Tell them that you love them.

Love you mom!

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Listening

GWTA DirectorIt is that time of year again for you to tell us what you think. GWTA will be conducting the annual customer satisfaction survey during the week of April 2. Surveyors will be riding all the buses and making phone calls to van riders. We will provide Wayne Opportunity Center, Services for the Blind, and Senior Services surveys for passengers that may need special assistance. During the week of April 9, area human service agencies will also be given an opportunity to share their views of the GWTA service.

Your participation in the surveys is critical. We want to know how we can better serve our riders. Most importantly, do you feel safe on the buses and vans? Are the drivers and office staff courteous? Are the vehicles and transfer center clean? Are the buses and vans on time? Would you recommend GWTA to a family member or friend? What concerns or comments do you have about GWTA?

Last year you told us that you wanted GWTA to operate later in the evening. This was done. You asked us to purchase new shelters and benches. GWTA is in the process of installing them throughout Goldsboro. Previously, you told us to add service to the Social Security office. That was done as well. While all suggestions may not be put into place, all are reviewed and considered. Keep your suggestions coming.

The surveys are your opportunity to share your thoughts with us. Thank you for your participation.

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Moving On

GWTA DirectorSome of you may know that I plan on retiring later this summer. In preparation for this event, GWTA has hired an Assistant Executive Director. Below is the press release announcing the new hire. Don will be starting on February 19. Welcome him aboard.

Goldsboro – The Goldsboro Wayne Transportation Authority (GWTA) Board of Directors has hired Don Willis to fill the newly created position of Assistant Executive Director for GWTA effective Monday, February 19. In this position, Mr. Willis will serve as assistant to Executive Director Fred Fontana and will replace Mr. Fontana upon his scheduled retirement in August.

Don New Assistant

Mr. Willis received his BS in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. He currently serves as Demand Response Operations Manager for EZ Rider for the Town of Chapel Hill and has worked as Transportation Manager for Wake County Human Services and as the Rural Grants Program Administrator for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Public Transportation Division. He also served as an apprentice for the Charlotte Area Transit System.

“Knowing Don for many years, I have no doubt that he is the right person for this position,” said Director Fontana. “He understands public transit and has passion for it. I look forward to working with him and am confident that GWTA will continue to grow and maintain its high level of customer service under his direction.”

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are a New Beginning

GWTA DirectorHappy New Year from GWTA to all our passengers and the entire Goldsboro and Wayne County community. Throughout 2018, GWTA will continue to enhance our service with new improvements to make riding the buses and vans easier and even more convenient.

Soon, you will be able to get bus route directions on this website. The home page will have an area where you will simply enter your starting location and where you want to go. You will be given the location of the bus stop nearest your starting point and the time of the next bus. You will also see the bus stop location closest to your destination and the time your bus will arrive there. For the more ambitious, walking options to the closest stops will be available.

GWTA has also ordered new bus shelters for six locations. We have already determined sites for two of the shelters that should be installed within the next two months. Please let us know of stops that need new shelters or stops that currently do not have shelters and need one. We will be conducting the annual ridership counts of all the bus stops in March, to further assist in the process of determining where to place the shelters.

In April, you will again be given the opportunity to express your opinion on both the bus and van service when GWTA conducts the annual onboard customer satisfaction survey. You will be given the opportunity to rate us on safety, customer service, on-time performance, cleanliness of the vehicles and transfer center, and to provide any other comments. The agencies that many of you utilize will also be given the opportunity to express their opinions.

These surveys provide GWTA with valuable information. As a result of past surveys, GWTA has extended bus hours into the evening on the Blue and Purple routes as well as all the routes during the Christmas holiday season. Please take advantage of the opportunity to express your opinions.

These are some of the activities taking place during just the first four months of 2018. January is only the beginning of what promises to be an exciting new year for GWTA and our community. We wish you and yours a prosperous and healthy 2018.

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

‘Tis the Season Again

GWTA DirectorLast year around this time I was complaining about how early the Christmas season begins. I am going to do it again. Christmas trees and ornaments were on display in most of the stores by the middle of October. The Halloween candy came and went in a jiffy. No time for Thanksgiving again this year. In my family the Christmas season does not begin until the Charlie Brown Christmas special is on TV.

At GWTA, we will kick off the Christmas season on Saturday, December 2. Our vans and buses will be in the Christmas parade in Mount Olive at 10:00 a.m.; in Fremont at 1:00 p.m.; and in Goldsboro at 4:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you and your families there.

For our holiday service, GWTA has listened to our riders and will provide extra service hours from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We will extend bus hours on all five routes from Monday, November 27, through Friday, December 22, except Saturdays. The last bus will leave the transfer center at 7:30 p.m. Take advantage of these two extra hours to shop, run holiday errands, and visit family and friends.

We also look forward for some family time for our riders and employees. GWTA will be closed on Monday, December 25. GWTA will operate on a reduced schedule on Tuesday, December 26, and Monday, January 1. The first buses will depart the transfer center at 9:30 a.m. and the last bus at 5:30 p.m.

You are GWTA. The bus and van service could not operate without the support of our riders and the Goldsboro and Wayne County communities. We do it all for you throughout the year. So, as we approach the holiday season, we take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2017 was a rewarding year for all of us. May 2018 bring you peace, health, and prosperity.

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Grateful

GWTA DirectorGWTA is grateful to all the men and women that have served or are serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is only through your unwavering efforts that this country remains strong and free. GWTA cannot ever begin to repay our military for your bravery in defense of our country.

As a small gesture of appreciation, GWTA is again offering free bus rides to all active military and veterans from Monday, November 6, through Saturday, November 11. All you need to do is show your military ID or DD-214 with a photo ID prior to boarding the bus, and your ride is on us.

This is our second year of recognizing our military riders. Last year, we provided over 300 free trips to active military and veterans.

GWTA salutes you!

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Your Gateway to New Adventures!

GWTA DirectorThe summer season is winding down. School is starting. Soon the leaves will be turning colors and falling off the trees. Fall marks the end of a period of enjoying outdoor activities and the beginning of a new period of change ahead. Fall is also a good time to reflect on how we do things and consider making changes to our own daily routines.

GWTA provides access to many positive life changing activities. Considering going back to school and starting a new career or finishing a degree that only needs a few more credits? The Green route goes directly to Wayne Community College. Three stops serve the campus. Van service is available daily to Mount Olive University. Cost from anywhere in Wayne County to UMO is only $5.00.

Perhaps, as I have, some of you have gained a little extra weight during the summer and want to lose it or start a new exercise program. The Blue route takes you to the YMCA. Sign up for an exercise class. Go for a swim or shoot some hoops at the W. A. Foster Center. The Purple route will take you there. There are many healthy activities offered at the Herman Park Center. The Blue route goes there. Goshen Medical Culture Center offers fitness classes at their location on US 70. Try a ride on the Red route.

Interested in doing more reading? Get on the Blue route to the Goldsboro Library or take a van to the libraries in Mount Olive, Fremont, or Pikeville. There are many activities taking place in these libraries. You can learn more about computers and job skills or enjoy a good book to read on a fall day.

Seniors, tired of staying at home staring at the tv? The perfect places to go in Goldsboro and Mount Olive are the Senior Centers. You can enjoy fellowship, make new friends, or have a nutritional meal at both locations. The Peggy Seegars Senior Center in Goldsboro, where you can also get tax tips or have insurance issues resolved, is conveniently located on the Yellow and Blue routes. The vans will take you to both locations if you are physically unable to get on a bus or the bus is not available in your area.

No excuses! Now is the time to start doing something different. GWTA bus or van service can be your gateway to new adventures!

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

We Are Cool

GWTA DirectorGWTA is cool, in so many ways!

Maybe I’m showing my age here since cool is a term from the 1960s and 1970s, but it is still a great word to use today. It is cool to ride the bus, especially since GWTA can take you so many places during the hot days of summer.

You can take a trip to the mall or the skating rink. Spend a refreshing day swimming or playing hoops at the W. A. Foster Recreation Center. Go to the movies. There are plenty of ways to stay cool this summer by riding the bus.

Seniors can ride the bus to attend many of the cool programs at the Peggy Seegars Senior Center. Call 919-731-1591 to get information on all the senior excitement. The Senior Center is definitely one of the coolest places in Goldsboro!

Take advantage of the extended bus hours on the Blue and Purple routes. These two routes run until 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can ride these cool routes to go shopping or out to dinner. Enjoy summer evenings with family and friends. In fact, encourage your friends and family to ride the evening routes too! We’re looking at the ridership numbers to decide if the extended hours will be extended beyond the summer.

Of course, the coolest way to stay cool is to get on the buses. All GWTA buses and the transfer center are air conditioned. Take a ride and see just how cool GWTA is this summer!

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA

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