BSOOB Transit executive director Tony Scavuzzo has announced he will be leaving the company in mid-March after a two-year gig with the agency. Journal Tribune File Photo/Liz Gotthelf

Tony Scavuzzo, hired as executive director of Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit two years ago, is leaving the position when his contract expires in mid-March.

Members of the Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit Committee say they are in the process of looking for a replacement and plan to post the job opening soon.

Members of the committee say Scavuzzo will be missed.

“Tony was hired as the executive director of BSOOB Transit in April 2019 and has performed exceptionally in his position,” said BSOOB Committee Chair Greg Tansley in a prepared statement.”He has transformed the transit system into a well-run, successful organization. We are extremely pleased with the work Tony has done while here at BSOOB Transit. (He) brought tremendous experience and organization skills that will be missed. His project and financial management expertise have provided an excellent foundation for the BSOOB Transit system in a post COVID-19 world. We sincerely thank Tony and wish him the best.”

Scavuzzo, who is said to be moving on to a new opportunity, has been a change agent for the transit company, said committee Vice Chair Alan Minthorn. “He brought an incredible professional management skill set when it was needed to change the arc of our organization. His accomplishments are too long to list. I would happily endorse Tony for any organization. He is an exemplary executive director.”

During his tenure, BSOOB Transit introduced new payment options that allow riders to pay fares using either a mobile app or a re-loadable smart card. As well, the transit system has recently taken delivery of two of 12 new vehicles coming this year  — including eight trolleys and four buses, two of which are electric.

Prior to joining BOSOB, Scavuzzo worked in the mapping industry, managing a group of cartographers who produced work used by the Department of Homeland Security, Microsoft and Garmin, and by car manufacturers, and later overseeing a group of 50 to 60 people in project management, according to a 2019 Journal Tribune story.

The pandemic produced challenges, he told member communities at recent presentations. Ridership plummeted by 50 percent as more people began working remotely, attending university classes remotely, or lost their jobs — a situation similar to transit woes across the country.

According to polling by the advocacy-based nonprofit called TransitCenter, overall transit ridership nationwide declined about 75 percent in the second quarter of 2020, but the number of people who ride has not fallen so steeply. Among survey respondents, TransitCenter said the share of people who say they ride transit at least a few times per week fell much less — 36 percent, suggesting people may now be riding sporadically, not avoiding transit altogether.

The BSOOB transit system applied for and received federal aid through the CARES Act, has undertaken measures to boost ridership, and Scavuzzo told the member communities he is hoping for a “normal” summer.

“We have done everything in our power to return ridership in a pandemic state including implementing contactless fare payments and daily vehicle sanitation using electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and foggers to ensure complete disinfectant coverage in preparation for each day of service,” he said in January. “We have installed hand sanitizer on board for public use, are physically distancing on board, have installed driver partitions for operator safety and require masks to ride. Until we return to a more predictable societal routine, we will not see what the expected potential of our recent evolution and updates will truly be.”

Scavuzzo said he will remain BSOOB’s biggest fan.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as executive director of Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit. My only regret is that I will not be here to see the continued success and evolution that is in place to continue,” said Scavuzzo. in the statement. “Our presence has been rejuvenated both locally and regionally through transparency, collaboration, innovation through the pandemic, and continued partnerships. New incoming rolling stock and implementation of modern technology are helping us become the asset our owner municipalities expect us to be. I appreciate the opportunity to give back professionally to our community.”

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