Photo courtesy of the RTA
India L. Birdsong serves as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). She joined RTA in September 2019 and brings nearly 15 years’ experience working in positions of increasing responsibility in the public transit industry. Birdsong began her career in 2006 when she joined the Central Region for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), where she served in planning, operations, and finally as Senior Manager of Bus Supervision and Instruction. In 2016, she was appointed Chief Operating Officer of WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, where she served until coming to Cleveland.
At RTA, Birdsong oversees more than 2,300 employees at the largest transit system in Ohio, which provides more than 35 million annual rides to customers using the bus, rail, paratransit, trolley and bus rapid transit system across the county’s 457 square miles. Responsible for managing the Authority’s $292 million operating budget, Birdsong is committed to transparent leadership, management accountability and sound financial oversight.
Birdsong is providing strategic leadership to advance RTA’s initiatives at a critical time for the organization. Paramount issues include replacing its aging rail fleet and securing additional and sustainable funding. Birdsong is leading the organization toward innovative solutions to significantly increase RTA’s customer base, improve service frequency and coverage, and expand RTA’s role in contributing to the economic development of the region.
Birdsong is an active member in several industry organizations, including the American Public Transportation Association, Transit Cooperative Research Program, and Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. Proficient in Spanish, Birdsong earned her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia.