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Outgoing Big Blue Bus Director's Career Capped with Prestigious National Award  

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By Jason Islas
Lookout Staff

October 20, 2011 -- Santa Monica's former Big Blue Bus director Stephanie Negriff has been recognized with the American Public Transportation Association's “Outstanding Public Transportation Manager” award.

Stephanie Negriff recognized by the American Public
Transportation Association. Photo courtesy of Pam O'Connor

Negriff is “a forward-thinking, customer-focused and motivating leader,” Dan Dawson, Big Blue Bus' customer relations manager, told The Lookout Wednesday.

Councilmember Pam O'Connor, who attended the APTA ceremony in Negriff's place earlier this month, said she was pleased to accept the award on Negriff's behalf.

“This prestigious award recognized Stephanie's career in transportation – her service at Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus,” O'Connor told The Lookout.

And Councilmember Terry O'Day, who presented Negriff with a commendation for her service from the City Council at a get-together in her honor Monday, said that Negriff “was always an advocate for the transit rider as well as the expansion of transit service.”

Negriff's tenure in Santa Monica began in 1986 when she came here from Austin, Texas where she had worked with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Negriff was appointed Director of Big Blue Bus in 2002 after a stint as interim director.

She officially retired as director earlier this month.

“She helped us grow our sustainability practices,” Dawson said. Under Negriff's leadership, the Big Blue Bus fleet was converted to an alternative fuel fleet.

Big Blue Bus started the “Rapid” program, as well as the Mini Blue lines that service local routes for commuters who need more local service, within Santa Monica.

She also led Big Blue Bus' efforts to complete a “state of the art maintenance facility,” Dawson said.

“It's the cornerstone that will allow us to bring in new fuel technologies and larger, articulated buses,” he said, and it received the 2010 Project of the Year award from the Southern California Chapter of American Public Works Association.

The maintenance facility – as well as the expansion of the Big Blue Bus fleet to include 16 articulated buses as well as several new 40-foot long buses – led to Big Blue Bus receiving APTA's award for “Outstanding Public Transportation System” in the category of transit systems that service 20 million riders or more a year.

But Negriff's impact wasn't limited to Santa Monica.

She also served as the co-chair of the APTA Authorization Task Force, which advocates for Federal funding for public transportation.

Dawson called Negriff “an outspoken leader in getting funding,” from Los Angeles' Metro Transit Authority to municipal systems like Big Blue Bus.

“She's taking with her many friendships and a reputation for dedicated service,” said O'Day.

“She will be missed by everyone at Big Blue Bus,” added Dawson.

Edward F. King, currently Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, has been named Santa Monica’s new Director of the Big Blue Bus system.

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