Muni’s chief safety officer might be on the way out 

A little over a year after joining the agency, it appears chief safety officer James Dougherty is on his way out from the Municipal Transportation Agency.

Although he has not yet accepted any offers, Dougherty, who was hired by the MTA last March, has interviewed with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority about their chief safety position, and, based on the reactions from officials here, the indications are that he’ll take the helm.

If he goes, Dougherty’s tenure at the MTA will be a brief but eventful one. In the past year, Muni has had a string of high-profile incidents, including a collision involving two light-rail vehicles that injured 47 people, a derailment in the Twin Peaks Tunnel, and a series of stabbings on transit vehicles (the suspect was eventually apprehended).

Those low points were offset by a number of accomplishments for Dougherty, including the implementation of the Drive Cam program, a video monitoring system that has helped capture footage of Muni accidents, and a consistent drop in the agency’s accident rate.

“Jim has done a great for us over the past 13 months, and if he does indeed leave, we’ll be truly disheartened,” said MTA executive director Nat Ford. “He’ll be a significant loss to our operations, and there are very few people of his caliber available to replace him.”

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Will Reisman

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