St. Louis light rail chief to start work today as director of MARC

April 19, 1993|By Douglas Birch | Douglas Birch,Staff Writer

David V. Nogar, chief of operations for a light rail system being built to serve St. Louis, has been named director of the service Maryland commuters love to hate, the Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) system.

Mr. Nogar, until Friday division director of light rail operations for the Bi-State Development Agency in St. Louis, will assume the $66,000-a-year MARC post today, state transportation officials said.

He replaces William R. McCaffrey, a former delegate from Prince George's County who has been acting MARC director since August 1992. Mr. McCaffrey was brought in to oversee the agency after its on-time average plummeted to 81 percent in June 1992 and 73 percent in July 1992, triggering protests from riders.

For years, state officials struggling to keep up with the rapid growth in MARC ridership have been forced to use antiquated cars and other equipment that can break down frequently. Diana Rosborough, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said MARC's operating record has improved steadily since last summer with the delivery of new equipment. Over the past five months, MARC has had a 92 percent on-time record, she said. Performance peaked at 95 percent on-time in January.

"The biggest challenge is to make sure the equipment is reliable and to make sure the service is reliable," Mr. Nogar, 38, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "There's a real dedication on the part of the [Maryland] Mass Transit Administration to put the focus on customer satisfaction."

Each workday, about 20,000 commuters ride 70 trains on three lines serving eight Maryland counties as well as Martinsburg, W.Va., and Washington, D.C.

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