By Lookout Staff
September 26, 2023 -- Services for former Big Blue Bus (BBB) director Stephanie Negriff -- who guided the agency's transition to a clean energy fleet two decades ago -- will be held Saturday. Negriff, 67, died on September 11.
Negriff was a behind the scene's force for 15 years before becoming the first woman to head Santa Monica's transit agency, first as interim director in 2001, then as director the following year.
Before retiring in 2011 after 25 years of service, Negriff oversaw the creation of Downtown Santa Monica’s Transit Mall and the completion of the Big Blue Bus campus expansion project.
She also oversaw development of an award-winning, state-of-the-art bus maintenance facility and spearheaded innovative fare programs for college students.
“Stephanie was a visionary leader who helped established a bedrock of enduring programs and services that continue to support our community’s transportation needs,” said Anuj Gupta, interim director of the City's Transportation Department.
“She led with care and compassion for Big Blue Bus staff and customers, and embodied the agency’s values of teamwork, community service, integrity, innovation, and continuous improvement. She will be greatly missed.”
Before being tapped as director after an extensive nationwide search, Negriff served in various capacities, including assistant director for operations, manager of transit development and intergovernmental relations and assistant director of operations-administration.
Shortly after assuming the top post, Negriff began replacing diesel buses with a fleet that included gas/electric hybrid, biodiesel and compressed natural gas vehicles.
She also played a key role in negotiating policies that led to the distribution of funding generated by regional ballot measures that ensured "economic sustainability" for municipal transit systems in Los Angeles County, including BBB, City officials said.
Under Negriff’s leadership, the agency won the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award in 2011. That same year, the association named her the nation's Outstanding Public Transit Manager.
Born in Los Angeles, Negriff moved to a small Texas town when she was 10 and studied transportation in Austin. She became a planner for the Austin transit system before moving to Oklahoma City, where she helped establish that City's first shuttle system.
From there, she went to St. Louis before returning to California and working as a senior transportation analyst, hammering out policy and securing funding for the Big Blue Bus.
Negriff’s funeral service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Chapel of the Gardens, Mountain View Mortuary, 2300 N. Marengo Avenue in Altadena.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Negriff’s name to the Westside Family Health Center, where she served on the Board of Directors until her passing.
Negriff is survived by her husband, Larry, stepchildren Sonya and Liza and one grandchild.