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Metro hires new chief operating officer

Brian Dwyer replaces former chief operating officer Joseph Leader, who resigned in May amid a safety lapse

The Gallery Place-Chinatown station in Washington. (Gaya Gupta/The Washington Post)

Metro announced the hiring of a new chief operating officer Tuesday who the agency said will lead efforts to end a train shortage and get Metrorail back to full service.

Brian Dwyer, who has three decades of public transit experience in the private and public sectors, will start Aug. 8 and report to General Manager Randy Clarke, who is in his second week on the job.

Dwyer replaces Joseph Leader, who resigned in May after six years as chief operating officer. Mike Haas, a Metro senior vice president, had been serving in the role in the interim.

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Dwyer will be responsible for managing daily operations of Metrorail, Metrobus, MetroAccess paratransit services and Metro Transit Police. The agency said his first priorities will be opening the long-delayed Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, and overseeing bus service that will replace the Yellow Line for eight months starting in September as Metro rehabilitates a bridge and tunnel.

Dwyer, who will earn $359,705 annually, also will focus on returning to service Metro’s 7000-series rail cars, most of which remain suspended because of a defect in wheels and axles that has been found in several of the cars. The series is Metro’s most advanced and makes up nearly 60 percent of the transit agency’s fleet. Metrorail’s regulatory agency, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, has allowed Metro to return 64 of the cars to service on any day if they are inspected daily for signs of the defect.

The inspections are being done manually, but Metro is testing an automated system that would screen the wheels instantly and could — if approved by the safety commission — allow for the reinstatement of most of the missing cars.

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Dwyer last worked for three years at WSP, a multinational engineering and professional services consulting firm, where he was a vice president in the Transit and Rail division, Metro said.

Before WSP, Dwyer served as vice president of the transportation and infrastructure division at STV Inc., a Pennsylvania-based engineering and consulting firm.

In his consulting jobs, Metro said, Dwyer has worked with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority in Atlanta, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, the Maryland Transit Administration and the Toronto Transit Commission on various projects. He also performed peer reviews and contracted safety reviews on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association since 2000, Metro said.

Before consulting, Dwyer worked for the MBTA for nearly 25 years, starting as a Red Line train attendant in 1988. He retired in 2011 as director of light-rail operations, according to WSP. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University while working at the National Transit Institute, according to WSP.

Metro officials said Dwyer’s key areas of experience include improving policies and procedures for control center operations and implementing rules and compliance programs.