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Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Riders walk to their buses just after dawn at the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) terminal on Florida Boulevard.

A transit executive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the Capital Area Transit System’s new chief operations officer.

Donald Palmer, who has worked in transit for more than 12 years, has come to Baton Rouge after serving as the director of road operations for the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh. The Port Authority is the second-largest transit authority in Pennsylvania and in the top 20 largest in the country.

Palmer started working there in 2003, after serving as a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant in Japan.

“Right now I am immersing myself in learning the intricacies of CATS’ operations so I can work with the employees here to improve how we serve Baton Rouge,” Palmer said in a news release. He began his job last week, CATS said on Monday.

CATS CEO Bob Mirabito said in a statement that he hopes Palmer will help the agency to become more efficient and expand ridership.

Bill Deville previously served as chief operations officer for CATS under a professional services contract to assist with administration under MV Transportation. Deville is now the agency’s chief revenue officer, a newly created position.