5 key ingredients to a new bus operator training program

Posted on September 9, 2011 by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

Goodnight, Irene — Irene, Goodnight!

I sincerely hope that any inconveniences suffered by those exposed to Irene were not unbearable and injuries, if any, were minimal. Condolences are in order to those who may have lost a friend or family member. I would like to commend those transit agencies that worked with their respective elected officials in making the decision to keep their bus and rail equipment "in the house." Although a complete shutdown of service may have been a first for some agencies, I'm sure their actions may have prevented even more injuries from occurring.

On another note, during the course of my presentations to large groups, I have come to believe that they are some of the most exciting and inspiring events for transferring critical information regarding bus operator training and safety. Large group presentations are an excellent time to unveil new training concepts and strategies. There is a distinct feel and energy to the room that cannot be duplicated in any other setting.

I will have the distinct honor of conducting a presentation at BusCon 2011 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Sept. 12 to 14. My presentation will outline how to infuse new operators with a solid core curriculum in under 13 hours, at a time when some agencies might be devoting 40-plus hours to this training. This presentation defines a training process that starts — and stays — on the bus until students are able to demonstrate operational proficiency.

My presentation focuses on standardizing curriculum with five proven specific criteria listed below to increase an agency's efficiency.

  • Standardized Criterion-Based Curriculum-To predict the safety performance of student bus operators after training.
  • Supplemental "Training Tool" Driving Simulator - To expose the student in a controlled environment where neither the public nor equipment is at risk.
  • An Effective Train the Trainer Program - To ensure a smooth transfer from the training bus instructor to the depot "route familiarization" operator.
  • Corrective Action/Refresher Solutions - Fixing the problem and attacking known risks.
  • Post-Training Programs- Ensuring a "Hire to Retire" philosophy.

The lack of a standardized curriculum and a set time limit makes it impossible to determine whether the identical protocols and techniques being taught to all students and whether those students are learning the material.

If you are considering attending BusCon 2011, please stop by to say hello and introduce yourself as a reader of this blog and consider remaining for the presentation.

At your agency, what does your "ingredient" list contain? What can you add to my "Five?"

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Getting America back to work," here.

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