WASHINGTON -- The general manager of the Washington, D.C., transit agency says he is stepping down.

Metro says John Catoe told the agency's board of directors of his decision Thursday. His last day will be April 2.

Catoe says his retirement after three years at the helm would let Metro "move beyond the current distractions."

D.C. Council Member Jim Graham, who chairs the Metro board, says the board regrets Catoe's decision. He says Catoe continues to have the board's "full confidence."

Catoe's announcement comes after a string of accidents, including a crash in June 2009 that killed nine people. It was the deadliest crash in Metro's history.