May 25, 2018
Rolling out Wi-Fi on buses, creating four mobile applications, negotiating a union contract and keeping safety as the agency’s top priority are just a few of the areas the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) focused on in 2017-2018 under the management of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edward Johnson.
Johnson was named one of the Orlando Business Journal’s 2018 CEO of the Year for his leadership, a tireless effort in championing new innovation and re-imagining the way LYNX provides transit service throughout Central Florida.
A big change for the agency was the adoption on the mobility management model. This was done through an innovative approach in managing and delivering coordinated transportation services to a variety of customers. His plan accomplished this by mixing individual customer needs, providing a wide range of transportation options and through fiscal efficiencies with public policy makers and the taxpayers who underwrite the cost of service delivery. The method in simple terms is to put an individual in the most cost effective and direct mode of travel for the passenger and LYNX.
Along with the Wi-Fi rollout were four apps published within six weeks during late 2017. They include PawPass, a mobile payment system; LYNX Bus Tracker, real-time information; NeighborLink, a trip booking app; and LYNX See & Say, incident reporting. These apps have been successful in sharing information with the agency’s more than 83,000 daily passenger trips.
Under his leadership the third leg of downtown Orlando’s LYMMO system opened serving the Parramore area and the under construction Creative Village along with a downtown University of Central Florida campus.
When Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida, Johnson made sure services stayed on the road as long as possible and put buses back into service as soon as safely possible. Then a week later Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Johnson and his team were there to lend a helping hand for neighbors in need.
Several departments won national, state and local awards highlighted by operator Melinda Demers as the Florida Public Transportation Association Operator of the Year.
Always looking for ways to maximize local taxpayer operating dollars, Johnson instituted a pharmacy rebate program saving LYNX more than $540,000 in its first year. The agency saved thousands of dollars by restructuring contracts, eliminating duplicative or unnecessary services and increased interest income from $20,000 to $200,000 with projections of earning $600,000 this fiscal year.
Under a firm position by the Board of Directors to not eliminate service or increase fares the agency managed to maintain LYNX’ funding partners increase at a nominal level.
While customer service is a major focus for the agency, safety will always be the top priority for LYNX. In 2017 Johnson introduced the LYNX Safety & Performance Award for operators based on driver statistics. The first 18 winners ranged in experience from 2-35 years. Each operator received a safety award certificate, a specialized patch for their uniform, a lapel pin and a specially designed bus card to display their driver number on agency buses.
This past year LYNX established partnerships with local colleges and universities to generate new ridership and with other human service agencies for job placement and aiding in reduction in homelessness in Central Florida.
Johnson encouraged the executive team to be active in the community by serving on two community boards with one being a human service agency.
Johnson currently serves on the Board of Directors at Lighthouse Central Florida. During his previous tenure he served on various local boards including the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region, MetroPlan Orlando Economic Development Commission – Investor Relations Committee, Central Florida Urban League and the Hankins-Johnson Education Foundation.
A recipient of the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award, Johnson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He also is a graduate of the Eno Transportation Executive Leadership Program, Leadership Orlando and served in the U.S. Army Reserves as an infantry platoon leader.