As Billings continues to grow, Stan Barr Jr. sees an expanding role for MET Transit, the city’s bus system.
MET Transit provides more than 610,000 rides per year, and the para-transit service provides about 54,000 rides per year. Ridership has been on the upswing, in part because routes have been changed to improve service and increase efficiency.
“We’ve seen increased ridership on the West End, and we’ve added ridership on the South Side,” said Barr, who is operations manager for MET Transit.
The city’s bus system is safe, reliable and affordable for users, he said.
“We need to spread the word about MET Transit,” Barr said. “We have a lot of loyal riders who are very dedicated.”
Describe how you got where you are in your work today: After college, I was hired by a company called W.P. Rentals to sell and rent construction equipment. I was fortunate to have excellent mentors to show me how the business operated and guide me to the next level. I was in a management role for approximately four years when I decided to move back to Billings. A position became available with the city that was similar to what I was doing for W.P. Rentals.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? Trying to overcome the stigma associated with public transportation. While we do transport many people who do not have access to their own vehicle, our service is for everyone. Riding the MET is incredibly safe and a great way to save wear and tear on your vehicle, reduce traffic, help the environment and meet new people. We have some of the best drivers in the world and I would encourage everyone to take a look at the routes we run.
What did you learn from that challenge? It’s a constant battle that we can win one person at a time by continuing to offer exceptional service to the City of Billings.
What’s the best business advice you have received? The idea that your business is only as good as the people you have working with you has always rung true. I believe we have the best group of drivers, dispatchers, mechanics and office personnel in the city. By treating everyone we have here with respect we are able to retain this talent.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Since our business is improving the community, I would like to see some technological improvements with the transit system to help provide additional information to the riders we currently have and draw in some new riders.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? Getting passengers to and from their destination in a safe and timely manner. If the MET can get our riders to their doctor appointment or job on time and bring them back safely I feel we have been successful, and obviously the more people we can do that for the better.
Which living person do you most admire? Both my parents have worked hard to provide for my sister and myself. Without them I would not be where I am today.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My wife, Rae-an, for letting me marry her, and our newborn son, Ryker.
I’m happiest when I’m… Watching the Griz play on a Saturday and the Bears play on a Sunday.