Transit Riders Picks Director

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The San Francisco Transit Riders (SFTR) has announced Vinita Goyal as its new Executive Director. Goyal became interim director in September after Mark Cordes departed from the 11-year-old organization. “San Francisco Transit Riders has a crucial role to play in reimagining what an improved infrastructure in the city might look like and there are several priorities: centering the needs of transit riders, particularly the ones that have been historically neglected, and identifying new revenue sources for funding efficient and equitable transit options. Serving as an Interim Executive Director during these past few months, I have been excited about collaborating on SFTR’s pathway towards these priorities,” said Goyal in a prepared statement.

Vinita Goyal. Pic: SFTR
Vinita Goyal. Pic: SFTR

Goyal’s name may sound familiar to Streetsblog’s readers. She was previously an architect and urban planner and even freelanced for Streetsblog, writing about the last-mile problem. According to the SFTR’s announcement, Vinita worked in many fields including transportation, affordable housing, small businesses, arts, placemaking, sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.

In her brief time at interim director of SFTR, Vinita “secured an up-to-three-year grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, co-led staff to a successful End of Year Celebration with Rider Appreciation Awards at a North Beach venue, and worked towards developing a strategic vision for SFTR.”

The SFTR, meanwhile, started as a scrappy grassroots organization of “transit Ninjas,” founded by Thea Selby, the Transit Rider’s Chair, Peter Straus, and Reed Martin. In 2016 its founders put together a six-figure grant, secured an office, and hired its first executive director, Rachel Hyden, the following year.

The Transit Riders has become a force to be reckoned with, helping to push the SFMTA and the Board of Supervisors to put the rider first. Streetsblog expects its positive impact on SFMTA and city politics will continue to grow under Goyal’s leadership.

“We are so excited to have Vinita Goyal joining us as our Executive Director,” said Dominique Monie, Co-Chair of the San Francisco Transit Riders, in the statement. “She has already helped us make huge strides in her short time as interim Executive Director, and she is well deserving of the full-time position. We know that with her at the helm, our grassroots organization will become an even stronger advocate for equitable and efficient transit in San Francisco. We could not be more pleased.”

Look out for an upcoming, detailed Streetsblog Q&A with Goyal.

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