APTA Honors SamTrans Board Member and Former General Manager

APTA Honors SamTrans Board Member and Former General Manager


At this year’s American Public Transportation Association Annual Conference, the organization honored SamTrans Board Member Shirley Harris by naming her Outstanding Board Member of the Year.  At the same event, APTA inducted retired Transit District General Manager and CEO, Michael J. Scanlon, into the APTA Hall of Fame. 

“I am honored to have worked closely with both Shirley and Mike over their public transportation careers. Shirley and Mike worked together with the rest of our team, over nearly 20 years, to chart a course for the District that would help to modernize its services and bring it into the 21st century. Today our organization removes more than 450 million vehicle miles from our region’s roadways every year.  That is made possible by the vision and leadership these two transportation veterans have demonstrated over their careers,” said Jim Hartnett, Transit District General Manager/CEO.  Mr. Hartnett joined the District as General Manager and CEO in 2015. Prior to that, he served on the SamTrans and Caltrain Boards of Directors and as the board chair for each agency during his time on the Redwood City Council.

Shirley Harris – APTA Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member

Mrs. Harris has served as a public member of SamTrans Board of Directors for more than 20 years. During her tenure she has played a direct role in creating a sustainable San Mateo County bus system, selecting the two of the agency’s CEOs, and contributing to APTA’s Transit Board Members, Leadership, and Legislative committees. 

Mrs. Harris enjoyed a pioneering career with Pacific Bell, at the time the region’s phone company and has been an active member of her Daly City community through service to the local Planning Commission, local nonprofit organizations for homeless and impoverished women, the Service League, and the National Council of Negro Women. 

As a long-time champion of the underserved, Mrs. Harris brings an important voice to the SamTrans Board on behalf of the communities most reliant on public transportation services.

Michael J. Scanlon – APTA Hall of Fame

Mr. Scanlon joined the Transit District at a pivotal moment in the District’s history.  It had assumed responsibility for operations on the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco, San Jose and Gilroy in 1992 and was planning for the first infrastructure improvement project in the agency’s history.  Under Mr. Scanlon’s leadership that project would eventually result in today’s Baby Bullet express service.

Mr. Scanlon served public transportation systems across this country for nearly 50 years.  Starting his career in mail room of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Port Authority Transit provider and working his way up to the Director of Transit Operations Division over the course of 26 years with PAT.  In the early 90’s Mr. Scanlon took over as Director of the Broward County Transit system in Florida before leaving to join the San Mateo County Transit District as General Manager/CEO of SamTrans and Executive Director of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

During his time with the District he oversaw the passage of a reauthorization of San Mateo County’s Transportation self-help half cent sales tax by more than 75% of the voters, implemented Caltrain’s Baby Bullet service and launched the Grand Boulevard initiative a collaborative multi-organization effort to revitalize the El Camino Real corridor through transit-oriented development, improved public transportation and walkability along the historic roadway.

Mr. Scanlon graduated received a Masters in Intermodal Transportation management from the University of Denver. He retired in 2015.


About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 79 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976. 

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Media Contact: Jayme Ackemann, (650) 508-7934