BART General Manager Grace Crunican speaks before a ribbon cutting for one of the new Market Street canopy entrances over the Powell Street BART Station on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. Crunican announced she will step down as general manager in July at a BART Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

BART General Manager Grace Crunican speaks before a ribbon cutting for one of the new Market Street canopy entrances over the Powell Street BART Station on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. Crunican announced she will step down as general manager in July at a BART Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

BART’s top official, Grace Crunican, announces ‘surprise’ departure

The general manager led the agency through a strike that crippled the Bay Area and also helped secured a $3.5 million bond

BART’s top staffer is headed out the door.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican announced her departure Thursday at the BART Board of Directors meeting, which directors called a “surprise.”

“Despite my challenges and ups and downs at BART I am proud,” Crunican said.

She added that her top staff are “customer-focused and have made operational changes,” and are prepared to take over for her when she leaves.

“All of the above make me proud and very sad to announce that July 6 will be my last day here,” Crunican said.

Crunican served the district as general manager for just shy of eight years. The BART board appointed her in August 2011 after a nationwide search.

Crunican brought 32 years of experience in the public transportation agency. She served as a deputy director for transportation in Portland, Oregon, and served as a Federal Transit Administration deputy administrator, among other positions.

Her time at BART wasn’t without controversy. Crunican led the agency during tough negotiations that led to two worker deaths in 2013, after agency management tried to train replacement train operators to supplant strikers. BART was ultimately fined for those workers deaths.

But Crunican also led BART on a path to fiscal solvency — during her tenure, BART proposed a $3.5 billion bond to voters in 2016, which they ultimately approved. The funding will propel BART into the future with a new fleet of train cars long after Crunican’s departure.

At the meeting Thursday, her announcement seemingly shocked directors.

“This is a big surprise to us,” said BART Board of Directors President Bevan Dufty, who represents San Francisco.

“You’ve served this district with tremendous distinction and worked incredibly hard,” he said.

The directors praised Crunican for her tough demeanor and willingness to push back on BART board ideas she disagreed with.

“I’m going to miss the confrontations,” BART board member John McPartland said. McPartland represents Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and other counties.

BART board member Lateefah Simon, who represents San Francisco, among other counties, also praised Crunican’s “tenacity.”

“You are tough,” she said. “That toughness, you gain it from years and years of muscle and not letting anyone railroad you.”

Simon added, “I’m gonna buy Grace a T-shirt that says, ‘Fight like a girl.’”

Transit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrate after Mostert scores his fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
49ers on prime-time TV five times in 2021

Usually a team that finishes in last place and won only six… Continue reading

Most Read