Indego Staffing Updates!

In the past few weeks, we’ve had some exciting staffing updates on the Indego, City, and Bicycle Transit teams that we’d like to share with you! Indego has a new Program Manager, Waffiyyah Murray, as well as a new General Manager, Nate Bowman-Johnston. Keep reading to learn more about Waffiyyah and Nate as well as hear a word from previous Indego Program Manager, Aaron Ritz.

Reintroducing Waffiyyah Murray

Waffiyyah Murray (she/hers) is a nationally recognized expert in the realm of transportation equity with a background in nonprofit leadership and youth development. She has presented at several national conferences and provided technical assistance to numerous bike share and micromobility systems working to incorporate equity within their work. As the Education Program Manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, she coordinated its Safe Routes to School program, a national initiative promoting safety and physical activity in school-age children through walking and biking.

In her former role as the Better Bike Share Partnership Program Manager for the City of Philadelphia, Waffiyyah worked to address barriers to the use of Indego bike share for individuals with low income and BIPOC communities, while increasing equitable access in micromobility systems worldwide. In her new role as Indego Program Manager, Waffiyyah is responsible for oversight, planning, and management of the City of Philadelphia’s bike share program and the relationship between the City and Bicycle Transit Systems, Indego’s contracted operator. Waffiyyah also serves as a board member for the North American Bikeshare and Scootershare Association. We sat down with Waffiyyah to learn more about her goals for Indego as they expand.

What are some things you hope to achieve in your new role?

I’ve been with the Indego team for 7 years now and serve in several different roles; Education Program Manager, Indego Community Coordinator, and most recently Better Bike Share Program Manager. I’ve learned a lot during that time about our system and most importantly our riders. I’m looking forward to bringing all the skills and lessons from those previous roles into my management of the Indego program.

Has the public perception of equity in bike share changed since you joined the industry?

Equity in bike share has definitely come a long way since 2014 when I started in this industry. At that time there were very few bike share systems and none of them really prioritized equity. Now systems are launching and relaunching with equity and access as a goal. Much of that is due to the awesome work of the Better Bike Share Partnership and Indego. We led by example and showed the industry that you can run a successful bike share system with equity at the forefront. With that said there’s still more work to be done, and I look forward to continuing to grow, learn, and innovate with my team and community partners to expand equitable bike share both locally and nationally.

What are your goals for Indego as they begin to expand into new communities?

I’m really excited about the Indego expansion. People have been asking for years “When are you coming to my neighborhood?” It feels so good to be able to give folks a timeframe for when that can actually happen. I’m looking forward to working with the Indego team to continue a community-led process for the expansion. While connecting with new community partners and residents to support not only the installation of a station but also its activation through hosting rides, classes, and other activities that support the use of the system and connect biking to valuable community needs and resources.

Waffiyyah will be taking over for previous Program Manager, Aaron Ritz who has spent the last 12 years at OTIS and its previous incarnation, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) where he found himself working at what his younger self would have called “The Dream Job.” Throughout his time with the City of Philadelphia, Aaron’s been involved in projects that make Philadelphia a more walkable, bikeable, and sustainable place. Aaron’s first years on the job included helping to implement new bike lanes on 10th Street and 13th Street, installing hundreds of new bike racks around the city, and helping to promote transit use for city commuters. In 2012 he jumped at the chance to help bring the new concept of ‘bike share’ from pipe dream to plans.  From that point on, he’s been all in – hundreds of community meetings, thousands of hours reviewing things from PowerPoints, to site plans, to contracts and regulations, all in an effort to bring Indego to life with its launch in 2015 and its growth ever since. 

Indego is about community, and would not be what it is today without the strong network of peers and partners across the city and across the country. Aaron counts himself lucky to be part of launching not just Indego, but also the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), and also represented the City of Philadelphia in the founding of the North American Bikeshare and Scootershare Association (NABSA). Throughout it all Aaron has tried to keep at least three “H”s in mind—hard work, humor, and humility.

As he leaves his role to pursue other adventures, he looks back on the Indego program with pride and looks forward to the next years with excitement,

“Waffiyyah’s been part of the Indego family since the beginning, and we’ve worked side-by-side for almost 5 years when she joined OTIS.  She has been committed to Indego from the start because she believes in the power of bike share to build bridges to the community. It’ll be bittersweet to leave the Indego work behind, but can’t wait to see where Waffiyyah leads the program next.”

Read the Better Bike Share Program’s blog on Waffiyyah’s new role, here.

Introducing Nate Bowman-Johnston

We’d also like to introduce you to Indego’s new General Manager, Nate Bowman-Johnston! Nate started his career as a social worker in Washington, DC, helping the unhoused get into shelters and access food and clothing. He’s always been passionate about helping people who have been marginalized realize a better future. He’s carried this motivation throughout his 20-year career in the non-profit sector and it continues to be the driving force in what he does today, leading teams and organizations. As a life-long cycling nut, he’s super excited to now have the opportunity to bring his experience and background into an organization like Indego that is using bikes to address some of the most pressing and urgent environmental and social challenges of our time. We sat down with Nate to learn more about his goals and impressions of Indego so far.

Can you share your hopes and plans for Indego in the future?

My hope is that Indego can help lead the way in establishing bike share as an essential part of public transportation in Philadelphia, available and accessible to everyone. I see a future where bike share is one of the preferred ways that people in every neighborhood of this city get around. I also see a future where bike share helps reduce air pollution, increases people’s overall health, and gives kids and senior citizens alike an experience of freedom and exhilaration. I know that Indego has a huge role to play in helping this vision come to fruition and I’m super excited to be a part of the team.

Did you always see yourself working in transportation?

I always wanted to work in the bike industry but never imagined that I would end up in bike share. I think it’s a great fit though, as it brings together my deep commitment to helping people with my passion for bikes and cycling. Really, this job is a dream come true.

What has surprised you the most in your time at Indego so far?

I’ve been surprised by the complexity of operating a bike share system. There are a lot of moving parts and the challenges are significant. At the same time, there are some really smart and innovative people involved in the enterprise and I have no doubt that the future is really bright for this team and for the city of Philadelphia.

Read the City of Philadelphia’s Press Release published on February 15th, 2022, about this, here.

Bicycle Transit Systems is a Philadelphia-based business that specializes in bike share launch, operations, and management. Comprised of the most experienced bike share operations team in the industry, Bicycle Transit Systems manages all operational elements of Indego, including bike and station maintenance, marketing, and customer service. 

This blog was written by Indego’s Communication Coordinator, Emily Hooven.

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