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DCTA appoints new CEO, GoZone turns 1

DCTA appoints new CEO, GoZone turns 1

DCTA appoints new CEO, GoZone turns 1
September 29
10:30 2022

The Denton County Transportation Authority has promoted its interim CEO to the head position and recently recognized the 1-year anniversary of ride-share service GoZone. 

After Raymond Suarez’s resignation in March, DCTA selected former deputy CEO Paul Cristina to take his place as interim CEO. Three closed session meetings were held between the dates of Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, and they officially announced the decision to promote Cristina to the agency’s CEO position at their public board meeting on Sept. 22. 

As a resident of Denton County since 2010, it is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to lead the dedicated men and women of DCTA into the future,” Cristina said in a press release posted after the board meeting. “The team possesses tremendous expertise and pride in what they do, and I look forward to all we will accomplish to enhance the quality of life for our customers through high-quality transportation services.”

Prior to becoming the deputy CEO at DCTA, Cristina served as a civil engineer officer in the United States Air Force and as the director of Public Private Partnerships at BNSF Railway Company. His contract states his employment will last two years and two months from Sept. 22.

“The DCTA Board appreciates Paul’s collaborative communication and leadership style, and he has gained the trust and confidence of the Board over the last six months,” said Cesar Molina, chair of the DCTA Board of Directors. 

Additionally, GoZone had its 1-year anniversary on Sept. 7. The rideshare service has received numerous complaints regarding wait times, safety and the reduction of bus routes due to its launch. A Denton resident mentioned at the Sept. 22 meeting that two GoZone drivers recently crashed into each other after performing illegal U-turns. Brittney Farr, DCTA senior director of engagement and administration, said they are constantly working to improve GoZone.

“We’re always wanting to look at ways that we can make providing transportation options for the public better,” Farr said. “So there are certainly opportunities for us to take a look at how GoZone and the fixed route buses interact with one another for improvement.”

In the year of service, GoZone provided 575,000 rides, Farr said. Additionally, it has provided data for DCTA regarding where future bus routes may be necessary.

“The cool thing about GoZone being driven primarily through apps and algorithms is it gives us an opportunity to really see where people are picking up GoZone and where they’re getting dropped off,” Farr said. “It helps us take a look at adding fixed route buses and more shuttles for the university where they make sense.” 

In the most recent proposed budget for 2023, $10,415,980 was allotted to GoZone, roughly 21 percent of the total DCTA budget. $339,000 is currently slated for GoZone early morning hours, quality improvements and the expansion to Lewisville. 

At the recent board meeting, Javier Trilla, assistant vice president of innovation and information technology, discussed how GoZone will soon be integrated into different apps to make it more accessible and user friendly

“We’re working towards multimodal and intermodal apps as we’ve discussed in the past […] and what it allows you to do is be presented with different modalities to take on different trips,” Trilla said. “For example, you could book a GoZone ride, but you could also be presented with a fixed route as an option if it makes more sense over a GoZone vehicle.” 

The next DCTA board meeting will take place on Oct. 27. 

Featured Image: Passengers enter the DCTA bus on Sept. 25, 2022. Photo by Katie Hendler

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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