CUMTD managing director retires with lasting legacy

By Erica Quednau |

Published 06/30 2014 04:02PM

Updated 06/30 2014 06:29PM

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA -- Bill Volk is giving up the reins at CUMTD. It's a place he's known since 1974. Volk is retiring as managing director. He's held the title longer than any other. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau gives us a look at his career.

A lot has changed since Volk took over MTD. Some of his major milestones include building the terminal, increasing ridership and expanding buses onto campus. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's necessary to get around.

"When I really started out, folks were only concerned about cars. They were only concerned about getting cars from here or there and now, much more of the concern is mobility; walking, biking, taking the bus."

Bill Volk would know. He's made transportation his job since he was 25 years old.

"Actually, I started out as managing director in 1974. It was a much different system at that point. We only operated 13 buses in the peak. Now, we operate over 90."

Here are some more numbers for you: When Bill first got his job, CUMTD saw about 700,000 riders per year; today, more than 13 million take the bus.

"In 1977, we passed a referendum. In the 80's, we started the campus unlimited access program. In the 90's we opened up Illinois Terminal, so things just kept growing and eventually we decided this was a place we wanted to stay."

Bill says it's the changes and the growth which convinced him to stay. But, something else made the decision a little easier.

"We've got a great group of people. This last winter, we had, during bad weather, we had operators and maintenance people sleeping overnight at our facilities in Urbana. They slept overnight in the Illinois Terminal. They bunked with fellow employees and some of them even rented hotel rooms so that we could get out the next morning."

It's making the decision to retire bittersweet.

"We've got a dedicated group of people who understand public service and I'll miss those people the most."

Bill says he will still work on a few MTD projects into his retirement, but he'll mostly focus on traveling with his wife.

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