2010 Better Transit Award honors Llew Lawrence

In 2005, Citizens for Better Transit launched an annual award program to recognize citizens who have made significant contributions to the improvement of public transit. Named after former city councillor and transit advocate Professor Gerry Wright, the 2009 award is sponsored by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569.

The 2010 Gerry Wright Better Transit Award recognizes the contributions of Mr. Llewellyn (Llew) A. Lawrence, former Director of Marketing and Director of Operations of the Edmonton Transit System.

Llewellyn A. Lawrence was born in 1929 in Hertfordshire, England, the son of a country baker. After immigrating to Canada, he accepted a position as a transit operator with ETS, quickly rising through the ranks to inspector, dispatcher and garage superintendent.

When the Rapid Transit Project was set up under D.L. MacDonald, Lawrence worked with Prof. John Bakker and Walter Mitchell on its organization. He produced a groundbreaking position paper outlining the important role transit had to play in making Edmonton a more liveable city. Lawrence portrayed transit as an investment in moving people rather than in moving private vehicles. Out of this came the ETS Marketing section of which Lawrence became director. He was tasked with revising transit routes from the radial system inherited from streetcar days, to one providing more convenient cross-town connections in preparation for the coming of LRT.

Lawrence was a "people person". He was known and admired by all who knew him--from City commissioners to the new recruits in the garages and offices. His greatest concern was for the customer. He set about the route changes with a series of public meetings throughout the city, presenting the department's ideas, then requesting and recording citizen comment. He earned a reputation for transit as the one City department that listened to its customers' concerns.

After LRT was opened, Lawrence was appointed as Director of Operations. He retired in 1988, and sadly passed away in 1992. However, the concept of marketing public transit, the role he set for transit as a "people mover" and the steps he took to involve citizens are still evident in the way Edmonton Transit operates today. Llew Lawrence is fondly remembered by those who worked for and with him for the betterment of the City of Edmonton and its transit system.

The presentation of the 2010 award takes place at 10:45 AM on April 24th at the ETS Community Fair at Southgate Transit Centre, held in conjunction with the opening of the South LRT extension to Century Park.


Citizens for Better Transit
"Moving to a Better Future"

Visit us at: www.bettertransit.ab.ca

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