Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District General Manager Sherrie Fisher has announced her plan to retire as of July 18.
Fisher began her career at MTD in May 1974, when she was hired as the agency’s first female bus driver.
She continued as a bus driver until 1979, when she moved into an administrative role as MTD’s scheduler and planner. She next moved up to be manager of planning and marketing, followed by manager of risk, personnel and operations.
In 1988, while retaining that position, she was also appointed assistant general manager. MTD’s Board of Directors selected her as acting general manager in 2003 and as general manager in 2004. She has remained in that role to the present day.
Under Fisher’s leadership, MTD has increased service and enhanced the stability of local transit funding. Thanks to the prudent management of Fisher and other MTD managers, MTD was able to avoid layoffs and major service cuts during the Great Recession.
MTD faced a crisis in 2013, when MTD drivers, supervisors, mechanics and utility workers (represented by Teamsters Union Local 186) expressed concerns about the impact of California’s Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) on bargaining rights. This disagreement threatened MTD’s annual federal funding and could have resulted in a major service cut. However, the differences were eventually resolved with no loss of funding.
In her well-earned retirement, Fisher will be greatly missed at MTD although she promises to be a frequent rider of the transit system she has led.
— Nancy Alexander is a marketing/community relations coordinator for Santa Barbara MTD.