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Ventura County Transportation Chief Named New Head Of Southern California Commuter Rail System

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Ventura County Transportation Commission Executive Director Darren Kettle named new Metrolink Executive Director.

Darren Kettle set to become Metrolink's Executive Director.

The man who’s headed Ventura County’s transportation programs for more than a decade has been named as the new Executive Director of Metrolink, Southern California’s commuter rail service.

It’s a huge move for Ventura County Transportation Commission Executive Director Darren Kettle.

He’ll head Metrolink, the third largest commuter rail system in the country. Its routes cover more than 530 miles of rail line in five Southern California counties, including Ventura County.

Kettle faces a big challenge: a major slump in ridership. “With the pandemic, and work at home, and stay at home orders, ridership dropped by 75%,” said Kettle. “So a big part of this job as I come into it is to help get ridership back.”

Kettle said he’s proud of many of the things they’ve accomplished during his 14-year tenure with the VCTC. Kettle said bus service has expanded, they’ve widened sections of Highway 101, they’ve improved the Highway 101-Highway 23 interchange, and they’ve started the ball rolling on building a separated rail crossing for Rice Avenue in Oxnard.

Kettle and his family will stay in Ventura County, and he’ll use Metrolink trains to get to the agency’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.