Reflections on a Year at Culver CityBus

By Diana Chang | 3/28/2024

Chief Transportation Officer
Culver City (CA) Transportation Department (Culver CityBus)

I was honored to officially take the wheel as the Chief Transportation Officer for Culver CityBus on March 3, 2023. It was meaningful in many ways. It was the 95th Anniversary of Culver CityBus. It marked the first time a woman was at the top of this agency, and it was Woman’s History Month – what a trifecta!

I began my employment for the Culver City Department of Transportation in 2005. Over the years, I’ve developed a profound appreciation for both the dedicated individuals within our agency and the meaningful work we undertake.  Since my first day of work, I found in this agency a place to practice my passion for mobility services as part of a team that shares my vision of improving people’s quality of life through mobility. As the leader, I will continue to use that passion to drive the agency forward. My focus is on establishing long-term financial sustainability, delivering on our agency’s mobility vision, and creating an environment for our employees to thrive and innovate.

In 2024, we embark on our 96th year of service, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team we have assembled and the work that we are doing. Culver CityBus is an essential component to providing public transit service to the greater Los Angeles County region.

In addition to being a transit agency, we are fortunate to also be the City Department of Transportation, positioned to shape mobility policy and infrastructure. We are dedicated to shaping a future where transportation is efficient, equitable, and sustainable.  We take a holistic approach to improving mobility, addressing transportation issues and sustainability challenges through a multifaceted strategy encompassing policy, infrastructure, services, and programs to create meaningful changes. 

As we prepare for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics, we are strategically aligning our initiatives to support the region and leave a lasting legacy of accessible, resilient mobility.  Moreover, we are actively crafting a 20-year strategic plan aimed at transforming mobility services and promoting sustainable mobility options.  I applaud every employee for their contributions and look forward with excitement to providing and improving mobility services to the people who live and work in and around Culver City for many years to come.

Like many in our industry, Culver CityBus is challenged by an aging workforce, retirements, recruiting challenges, and other impacts from COVID-19. For that reason, I prioritized creating an environment for our employees to grow and thrive.  I created an Employee Wellness Committee and support their work to foster a stronger community within our agency and improve the quality of life for our employees. I have enjoyed watching the progress of the initiatives they created like the Summer Wellness challenge which encouraged many of our team to find ways to incorporate exercise, healthy eating, and self-care into their routines, and to share fun facts, information, and opportunities to participate and connect!

As co-workers, we spend many hours of the day together. That is why I want to make sure that our workplace is one that helps maintain and improve employee health. Good health is a resource that helps us all meet our goals. I strongly believe that the everyday choices we make can help us live healthier and happier lives, both at work and at home.

It goes without saying that our buses don’t drive themselves. As we restore service to pre-COVID levels, we need team members who are healthy and want to come to work. We count on our team to maintain the high level of service our riders have come to expect. We need employees who are able to maintain a work ethic that is dedicated and committed to providing our riders with a remarkable experience.

With a foundation of wellness, we can expand to take on leadership roles in the region. By providing reliable transit, we provide convenient, affordable, choices that allow our community the freedom to move in a way that driving alone does not.

My intention is to continue to be a transformative leader and to continue to modernize the agency and work to achieve its vision while prioritizing employee wellness. I look forward to working with my team continue to reimagine mobility, connect community and enhance the quality of life of the communities that we serve, and to uphold our Core Values of Safety, Communication, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Kindness & Respect.

I am a proud graduate of the Leadership APTA Program. That program allowed me to visualize the type of leader I would be. This is an exciting time to be a “Woman in Transit,” and an exciting time to be a leader! As Chief Transportation Officer, I can now create an agency that maintains a forward-thinking focus on improved mobility services, a continued dedication to customer service, fiscal responsibility, and wellness for our team. We may be a small agency, but we play a BIG role in supporting the mobility of the region. When we “Start with Wellness,” there is no telling what the NEXT 96 years will look like!