The Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) 2018 Conference featured Charlotte DiBartolomeo, CEO of the Red Kite Project, discussing Transit’s Crisitcal Role at a Crossroads in Our Society. DiBartolomeo described transit as a challenging service to provide as transit drivers take on roles in human services on top of the role as vehicle operator. The complex role that transit and drivers play in the everyday lives of riders is that of a human service professional. According to DiBartolomeo, transit drivers are first responders to conflict and crisis, mentors, role models, and local guides just to name.
Transit driver burnout results in high turnover rates and absenteeism, costing billions of dollars of lost productivity. DiBartolomeo suggests addressing these challenges with thoughtful hiring and supportive training that includes trauma informed practices to better equip drivers to respond to the vulnerable populations they interact with on a regular basis. Additionally, DiBartolomeo suggest working with local stakeholders such as the media and politicians to help change the narrative of public transit in America.
DiBartolomeo, M.A.C.T., CEO of Red Kite Project, earned a Master’s in Conflict Transformation with a specialty in Intercultural Service, Leadership & Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Vermont. She has studied post-war development in Sarajevo, Bosnia and has served as an NGO delegate to the United Nations at the 2003 Economics Conference for Women. She has trained in the transportation industry for eight years, presented at APTA’s Sustainability Conference in 2012 and has been published numerous times in Metro Magazine.