David D. King, who took charge of Triangle Transit in 2006 after the three-county agency’s first plan for regional rail transit fell apart, said Wednesday he is ready to retire.
King, 68, worked with local leaders to develop a long-range plan for rush-hour commuter trains, beefed-up local and regional bus fleets, and light-rail service. Durham and Orange now are designing a light-rail line between Chapel Hill and Durham, while Wake County leaders have just begun to update a trains-and-buses plan they ignored for nearly three years.
King said he will step down as general manager in mid-May, or as soon as his successor begins work.
“It’s the right time,” he said. “Everything here is on a good trajectory. We’ve got momentum in Wake County. We’re in good shape with Orange-Durham light rail. I don’t know any ticking time bombs that would cause me great angst.”
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It is his second retirement. King had wrapped up a 33-year career at the state Department of Transportation – ending up as deputy secretary for transit – when Triangle Transit asked him to oversee a new plan for bus and rail transit service in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.
During his eight years as its leader, Triangle Transit doubled its bus ridership from 865,000 in 2006 to 1.7 million this year – with an emphasis on commuter express routes between cities and expanded hours, including the addition of Sunday service this year. Triangle Transit has taken over the management of Durham’s DATA bus system and has developed a GoTriangle brand to be shared by local bus agencies in the three counties.
Durham Mayor Bill Bell, chair of the Triangle Transit trustees, said King helped the agency strengthen the role of transit in the region.
“He’s also actively worked with the public, elected officials and business leaders on preparation for dealing with the responsibilities of population and development growth in the future,” Bell said. The trustees will form a search committee to find King’s replacement.