Ms. Linda Deavens
Ms. Linda Deavens
Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Deavens has served as Paratransit’s CEO/Executive Director since January 1, 2008. She served most of the previous 29 years as the Deputy Executive Director of Paratransit after beginning her career as Paratransit’s part-time temporary Secretary in 1979. Throughout her tenure Ms. Deavens has been directly responsible for designing, implementing, and managing all consolidation, coordination, and service expansion activities of the agency, including the successful transition of paratransit service to full ADA compliance before the statutory deadline.
Ms. Deavens has been responsible for conducting all public participation activities related to ADA service provision, including development of the ADA certification and appeals processes and policies related to riders. She has designed strategies to encourage use of fixed route transit by persons with disabilities, which are coordinated with the ADA certification process (initially managed by Paratransit staff under her direction), and which included consumer orientations to public transit, one-on-one mobility training, and fixed-route fare incentives.
Her expertise includes development of cost-sharing policies and procedures applicable to social-service agencies to prevent agency reliance on ADA complementary paratransit for agency program service delivery. Ms. Deavens has also implemented operating procedures designed to increase ADA capacity and improve productivity by reducing the consumer cancellation rate. These promising ideas were featured in the Transportation Research Board’s Best Practices workshop in Monterey, California in 1997, as ideas worth replicating in other operating environments.
Paratransit uses automated scheduling software to develop manifests for its drivers and those of its taxi and van service providers. Its entire fleet is equipped with automatic vehicle location technology and Mobile Data Computers to facilitate paperless, real-time dispatching of trip data. This system is interfaced with Interactive Voice Technology to provide passenger database access to real-time data for on-line booking, automatically generated passenger phone calls providing “where’s my bus” information and day-before ride reminders with cancellation opportunities all without speaking to a dispatcher or reservation agent. Likewise, similar satellite-based hardware and software is used for paperless reporting of vehicle defects identified on the road or in the pre- and post-trip driver vehicle inspections and it is interfaced to transportation and maintenance operations personnel so reporting occurs in real-time. Ms. Deavens has considerable experience successfully managing the transition to automation, including development of technical specifications, orderly implementation plans, ongoing comprehensive staff training programs, and consumer orientation services.
Ms. Deavens has served on the Board of Directors of the California Association for Coordinated Transportation (CalACT) for the past several years having held every office and is its current Chair. CalACT is the largest statewide transit association in the United States with nearly 300 members dedicated to promoting professional excellence, stimulating ideas, and advocating for effective community transportation. Ms. Deavens led the statewide effort to establish operation by CalACT of California’s Rural Training Assistance Program (RTAP). Ms. Deavens was the first transit professional to receive CalACT’s Leadership Award presented at CalACT’s first-ever Wall of Fame Awards Ceremony in spring of 2007. Among other things, she was selected for this award because of her role in guiding CalACT through a transition of executive leadership with the departure of its long-standing executive director at a time when CalACT was rolling out a national summit a landmark event focusing on critical challenges the transit industry faces today and in the future.
Recent experience includes development of the transportation element of California’s Long-Range Strategic Plan on Aging, which includes implementation of a California Mobility Council, Mobility Task Force, and establishment of Mobility Management Centers throughout California. Working with the Transportation Task Team (TTT), which she currently chairs, Ms. Deavens helped organize and participated in California’s United We Ride Mobility Summit “Convening Aging and Mobility Leadership” in March of 2005. She also chaired various TTT subcommittees, including the CTSA Mobility Management subcommittee. In 2003 Ms. Deavens was invited by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education to participate with other leaders in transportation in the first United We Ride Region IX Workshop for Coordinating State and Local Human Services Transportation building on the President’s Executive Order on Human Service Transportation Coordination.
In the summer of 2006 Ms. Deavens and three other Californians formed a statewide team and successfully competed for a scholarship to attend the Institute for Transportation Coordination (ITC) sponsored by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). This was an intensive training and planning forum created to enhance the capacity of communities to provide cost-effective and customer-focused transportation services by coordinating funding, information, services, and equipment. This opportunity brought additional training dollars to California to further the work of the TTT in implementing California’s Mobility Action Plan. CTAA is a nationwide network of public and private transportation providers, local workforce development and human services agencies, public officials, transit associations, community-based organizations, and others working together to improve transportation access for all. Ms. Deavens is a long-term participant in CTAA activities and is recognized by its executive leadership as the “go-to person” at Paratransit, Inc. and CalACT. She has been featured in its national magazine as an early adaptor to transit technology and served as a national peer trainer in transportation management.
In 2007 Ms. Deavens was invited by the American Public Transit Association to participate in its first effort to address the broad range of mobility issues for people with disabilities, seniors, and the transportation disadvantaged through the establishment of the APTA Accessibility Standards Program. The standards or recommended practices developed as part of this national program may potentially impact all bus and paratransit, commuter rail, and rail transit operations in the United States as well as on a variety of issues with regard to policy and planning, legal affairs and legislation. This group is guided by a policy committee and technical committee, on which Ms. Deavens serves. She also serves on two of the initial three working groups: Call Center Management and Fixed Route Stop Announcements recently hosted at Paratransit, Inc. Working Group meetings are sponsored and paid for by APTA and are conducted at transit systems all across the country.