Congratulations to Electronic Repair Manager, Chris Weil, who was selected as a recipient of the 2020 Mass Transit 40 under 40 award.
Chris has been with the Greater Cleveland RTA for 6 years in the Electronic Repair department, which mainly services and maintains destination signs, fare collection, radio communications, turnstile gates, and vehicle video system hardware. Chris began as an electronic repair technician and worked his way up to supervisor and then manager.
Due to the widepread integration of our systems into the operations of the Authority, Chis has had the privilege of working with every district and department in this organization. He leads several new preventive and predictive programs to extend the operational "up-time" of our equipment while boosting reliability. One of the areas that we have applied predictive maintenance to is the GFI fareboxes, where we use probe data and analyze error percentages for fare media being misread or being printed with errors. Based on the pattern of errors, we have structured maintenance and replacement parts for different conditions. The first year of the program resulted in a 33% reduction in errors. This last year saw improvements of another 27% reduction in errors. That is a reduction of over 259,000 fare-media processing errors in the last 2 years. Today the program is continued and constant refinements are being made. We ended 2019 with an annual record low 2.28% error rate signifying a 65% improvement in the error rate from before the predictive maintenance program.
Another modification in the administering of this program reduced the parts consumption by 69% while maintaining the record low error rate in 2019. The optimization of our fare collection hardware is paramount in boarding our customers quickly and reliably. Excessive time spent processing fare when boarding directly affects our schedule adherence and the customer's riding experience. Since the success of this program, we have initiated conditions based programs for replacing Apollo DVR hard drives and module rebuild and servicing in our fixed location ticket vending machines.
Like other transit agencies we have equipment and fleets that are very old. One of the areas that improvements needed to be made was the video recording systems in our light rail fleet (trains used on the Blue and Green Lines). The light rail fleet was purchased in 1983 and is still in service today. The video system was designed years ago by a vendor and incorporated components used in office conferencing applications. There were power supplies and inverters engineered into the video system design that powered a passenger intercom, DVR, touchscreen operator video monitor, MPEG encoder and decoder, video input switcher, and video/audio control unit. Basically, all Integrian DVRs at the heart of the system were obsolete and unsupported.
Working with the rail camera technician to redesign the system, Chris was able to incorporate a modern Apollo DVR into the design with all of the peripheral hardware. After months of inter-departmental cooperation we piloted and vetted the design allowing us to use in-stock DVRs to retrofit the Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) within a day of the old system failing. Based on the design and the large cost savings over hiring a vendor to design a new system with new hardware, Chris was recognized as employee of the month in June of 2017 for this project.
Additionally, over the last 2 years funding was secured to replace the GCRTA radio communications system. Our legacy radio system was obsolete EDACS analog radios that were out of both production and support. Working alongside the project manager for 2 years as the technical lead in the hardware selection, system design, installation plan, and operational execution of this program, Chris was able to assist in making sure the project is still on pace to finish the installation on all of the fleets by Fall 2020, even with COVID-19 delays.
Chris is an integral member of this organization and allows GCRTA to improve technology and focus on collecting and processing data for optimizing operations. We are proud that Chris Weil has been selected as one of Mass Transit's 2020 40 Under 40! Congratulations, Chris!