Victor Valley Transit’s Executive Director, Kevin Kane, was honored recently at CalAct’s Spring Conference Awards Luncheon in Newport Beach, CA, where he received their annual “Wall of Excellence” Award. Each year the award is given to individuals who have a long and distinguished career in public transportation and have made outstanding contributions to CalACT and the transportation industry. CalAct Executive Director Jaclyn Cuddy shared, “Kevin is a dedicated advocate for public transportation and has gone to extreme lengths to serve the transit community in California and so deserving of the CALACT Wall of Excellence award.”
When COVID hit and other transit agencies could not obtain PPE equipment, VVTA stepped up to assist CalAct with financing the bulk order purchase of safety equipment. The order amount was over $100k, and CALACT did not have the resources to purchase the PPE. VVTA provided a purchase order to cover the cost of the PPE until CALACT could reimburse the agency. In addition, Kevin received over 400,000 masks and hand sanitizers for southern California members and collaborated with his staff to break up the shipments into the amounts requested by members. He then held PPE orders until agencies were able to pick up and coordinated shipment to local members. Obtaining affordable PPE when you could not find it was a considerable feat and helped over 225 CALACT members receive PPE for their employees to keep them safe. Transit operations across the state would have suffered even more if agencies had not been able to obtain the necessary PPE for drivers.
Kevin Kane was inducted by Amy Hance, General Services Manager with the City of Clovis. “It was an honor to present Kevin Kane the CALACT Wall of Excellence Award at the Spring Conference Awards Luncheon,” noted Amy. “Kevin is a leader in public transit and has made significant contributions to the industry. His ability to develop creative solutions to tough problems has set the standard for public operators throughout the state. He is generous with his time knowledge and is always willing to pitch in and provide assistance to others.”
As the Executive Director of VVTA, Kevin arranged the finance and construction of a large, Gold & Silver LEED-certified transit facility with administrative offices, operations offices, a maintenance facility, and covered parking for transit coaches. Under his leadership, VVTA created a CTSA program that provides services to residents in Needles who previously had no lifeline services to the court system and medical facilities in San Bernardino County. They created a volunteer driver program and a nationally recognized vehicle rental program. Kevin led the way in transitioning his fleet and operations to zero emissions and has twelve battery-electric buses providing transit services in the Victor Valley and Barstow communities.
Under Kevin’s leadership, VVTA operates out of two facilities, the primary operations and maintenance facility in Hesperia and a second in Barstow, California. The agency has always been environmentally conscious, starting its change to CNG buses in 1998 to reduce its GHG emissions. By 2012, 100% of its fixed-route fleet was CNG, utilizing Renewable Natural Gas. After implementing the California Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit regulation (ICT), VVTA purchased its first Battery Electric Buses (BEBs) in 2018 and put them into service in 2019. The agency currently operates 12 BEBs and is switching to a hydrogen fuel cell, with the goal of 100% of its fixed-route fleet being zero emissions by 2035.
Victor Valley Transit Boarch Chair Joy Jeanette added, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are so proud of Kevin and his many accomplishments. He has changed the face of transit in the Victor Valley and has been a shining example of leadership to agencies nationwide.”
Before a 28-year career in Public Transportation, Kevin Kane, a native of Rockaway, NY, attended Brooklyn High School and graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. He began his career working as VP of Sales Development, Eastern Region for the Newspaper Advertising Bureau in NYC, and then served as Marketing Director for the Knoxville News Sentinel. After a long, illustrious career, Kane Kane is set to retire from Victor Valley Transit in December 2022.