Chief Executive Officer Larry Rubio has announced his retirement from the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA), ending a 33-year career of distinction, leadership and passion for fostering a world-class workplace and providing unsurpassed public transportation to the residents of Riverside County.

Since he arrived at RTA back in 1988, he held a range of different positions before becoming the chief executive officer in 2001. Rubio was no ordinary leader. While he was at the helm, the Agency led the charge in clean-burning fuel; established a legacy of superior financial health and years of clean audits for operating and capital budgets that soared above $130 million; emphasized a commitment to innovative new services such as mobile ticketing and free WiFi on buses; and created thriving partnerships with area colleges and universities to provide free rides to thousands of students every year.

“I’m thankful to the many great people in my life who mentored and guided me along this journey,” Rubio said. “I am appreciative of all the employees who make this Agency the best in the nation, and I’m grateful to my supportive wife and family who were always by my side. I know our extraordinary employees and members of the Board of Directors will continue to move RTA forward with their innovative and dedicated service to the Agency and our community.”

During Rubio’s tenure, RTA gave customers more reasons to ride the bus and more places to get on board thanks to the creation of major transit hubs in Corona, Perris, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Temecula. The Agency also established itself as a model workforce that, at one point, climbed to nearly 900 talented drivers, skillful mechanics and people working behind the scenes who all worked tirelessly to keep buses rolling every day, carrying nearly 10 million boardings a year.

All this hard work didn’t go unnoticed. Among his accolades and awards, Rubio in 2004 was named Hispanic Magazine’s Most Influential Latino in the Inland Empire. In 2008, RTA was named one of the 10 Great Transit Systems to Work For, and in 2011, Larry earned California Transportation Foundation’s Manager of the Year.

Perhaps Rubio’s leadership was put most to the test during the coronavirus pandemic, which sidelined bus routes, crippled the economy, and shuttered businesses and schools. During that time, Rubio remained a steady leader, even postponing his retirement as RTA fought hard to keep buses rolling and staff employed.

RTA’s Chair of the Board Linda Krupa credits Rubio with creating a culture of innovation, efficiency and customer service. “Larry Rubio has been an excellent leader, dedicated public servant and a steady guide for progress,” Krupa said. “His deep knowledge of the transit industry, uncommon humility, ability to form lasting partnerships, innovative thinking and success in making RTA a thriving, community-focused agency has put RTA in a class of its own.”

The RTA Board of Directors is expected to name a successor later this month.