Coaster train
A North County Transit District Coaster train heading north from Torrey Pines State Beach. Courtesy NCTD

 Matthew O. Tucker, executive director of the North County Transit District, announced his retirement Monday after nearly 15 years heading the transit agency.

“Matt has been a strong and steady hand at NCTD, a remarkable steward of our region’s transportation assets, and a national leader in the transit industry,” said NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson. “He has served the San Diego region as a reliable champion for public transit and for the customers who rely on NCTD’s services every day.”

When Tucker joined NCTD in December of 2008, the agency faced a projected five-year structural deficit of $80 million. According to an NCTD statement, he implemented a plan that eliminated the deficit, established financial reserves, and created a path toward eliminating all current long-term debts.

“I want to thank the board of directors for their strong support in leading what is one of the most unique and multifaceted public transit agencies in the country,” Tucker said. “I would also like to recognize and celebrate the employees of NCTD and its contractors who show up every day to serve the public.

“Their hard work and their commitment to public service are so important to this region and to the people who rely on NCTD’s transit services,” he said. “It has been an honor to work with you.”

Some of Tucker’s highlights while serving as executive director include securing funding for a new downtown COASTER station, set to open in 2026, establishing a real estate redevelopment program, replacing all of NCTD’s locomotive fleet with more emission-efficient models, and advancing the transit agency’s transition to zero-emission bus technology.

Before joining NCTD, Tucker served as executive director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, chief operating officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, deputy public transit director for the city of Phoenix, and deputy general manager for the Greater Richmond Transit Company.

His retirement is effective Sept. 1. The Executive Committee of the NCTD Board of Directors will meet on Thursday to develop recommendations for the full Board of Directors regarding the appointment of an interim executive director and a process for selecting a permanent replacement for Tucker. The Board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 14 to consider the recommendations.

–City News Service