Dear Community Colleague,
Every new year allows for an opportunity to start new things. That is why I am announcing that December 5th was my last meeting of the WMATA Rider’s Advisory Council. Two years ago I wrote to then-Board Member Elizabeth (Betty) Hewlett about my interest in serving in the vacant position from Prince George’s County. My goal was to bring a youth prospective to the body, push for a system that approached riders not as customers but shareholders, and looked to young people as potential solutions to problems we face and not just as issues to be solved. When I wrote Ms. Hewlett I promised to ensure that I fought for things deeply important to average riders everyday, and never did anything to make the county look bad. After two years I hope I delivered on those promises. In two years I’ve missed two meetings regular meetings, served on just about every task force or working group, co-chaired a Public Safety forum and chaired a Youth Town Hall. As an individual council member I sought to be available and accessible to other riders as often and frequent as possible through forums such as twitter, facebook, on my blog, through monthly reports to area listserves, and monthly meet and greets hosted at my home. I also had the honor of serving as Vice Chair for Prince George’s County.
As I leave the council there is still so much work to be done. The Public Participation Plan I initially wrote before a working group revised it is just getting under way. It goes a long way at increasing the role the average rider plays in the council business. It can be better and my hope will only get better. It also however sets a good model that I hope the full WMATA board might consider. Additionally the council has finally received a reply from the Board about a communications proposal we passed last summer after months of waiting. How the body responds to keep pressure on the system’s management to continue improving in the way it communicates with riders who because we support the system both through our fares and taxes are more than just customers.
Now as the council moves into another direction I look forward to continuing to invest time and energy in making sure the system lives by what I believe riders expect it to be, affordable, reliable, and safe.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and congratulations to the new council members.
Visit me at josephkitchen.com │Follow me on Twitter @josephlkitchen │ Like me on Facebook facebook.com/josephkitchen | Read my blog revkitchen.com
Joseph Lynn Kitchen Jr. is an ordained Baptist minister from Prince George’s County, MD where he serves as a community leader on issues of education reform, public transportation and youth empowerment. Joseph is Executive Vice-President of the Young Democrats of Maryland and National Policy and Platform Director of the Young Democrats of America’s Minority Caucus. He is also a former member of the WMATA Metro Advisory Council representing Prince George’s County. Learn more about Joseph’s work at www.josephkitchen.com.