News Release: GET Selects New CEO

Kathleen McNeil
(661) 401-1729

Golden Empire Transit Selects New CEO

Bakersfield, California, January 18, 2024: The Board of Directors of Golden Empire Transit District (GET) have selected a new CEO who will take command of the transit district on February 20, 2024. Michael Tree will succeed Karen King who will be retiring after serving the District for more than 15 years.

Mr. Tree has a vast background in leading public transit agencies in California and Montana. He grew up in Porterville, California and looks forward to returning to the Central Valley in a leadership role.

Most recently, Mr. Tree has served as the CEO/General Manager of Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District in Santa Cruz, California, where he focused on growing ridership and converting the bus fleet to zero emission vehicles. From 2018-2022 he was the Executive Director of the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority in Livermore, California while simultaneously serving as the Executive Director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority.

“We feel very fortunate to have found a new CEO with the caliber of Michael Tree. He brings vast experience in transit and a unique knowledge of our community having grown up in Porterville,” said Cindy Parra, Golden Empire Transit District Board Chair. “We hate to see Karen King retire, but we look forward to the possibilities that Mr. Tree will bring to the District in the coming years.”

The Golden Empire Transit District (GET) was formed in July 1973. It is the primary public transportation provider for the Bakersfield Urbanized Area. GET is the largest public transit system within a 110-mile radius. The District’s legal boundary includes Bakersfield city limits as well as adjacent unincorporated areas. GET has a fleet of 90 compressed natural gas buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. GET services 16 routes, which operate 7 days a week and transport more than 3.5 million passengers each year with its fixed-route buses. In addition, GET operates 21 compressed natural gas On-Demand buses and 10 Hydrogen Fuel cell buses.