Picking up from my last blog, I would like to thank all those that came out to the three educational sessions conducted on Driver Training Simulation at the National RTAP and its partner organizations, the Federal Transit Administration and the National Tribal Transit Association in Fort McDowell, Ariz. I am looking forward to the follow-up conversations. It appeared the simulator hands-on training was well-received.
With that under your belt now, I thought the following words would be a nice follow-up to the sessions and questions that were asked:
Understanding how to blend simulator supplemental training into an existing training curriculum will most definitely lead to favorable results and positive benefits to a training program. Attempting to build a curriculum around the simulator is a mistake.
It can be a costly and unfavorable venture. The return on the training dollars that would have been invested in this tool in the form of favorable results and proven documented data to justify the purchase will be compromised. Curriculum in place first, then simulation supplementation.
Having the following three ingredients in place will minimize the possibility of not reaping the expected benefits of simulation training:
- Upper management buy-in.
- Instructor accountability.
- Pilot programs.
With regard to simulation, a lack of standardization in the application of simulator supplemental training can interfere with the process of obtaining the benefits one would hope to receive. When utilized properly in the hands of a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and creative instructor, the benefits will be easily recognized by all in the form of collision reductions, lower claims, a lowering of the student wash-out rate and an increase in only the cream of the crop of trainees being released to passenger service.
Chief training officers must remain aware that the lead simulator instructor can make or break a simulator program. They must be carefully selected and have the ability to identify a qualified back up ready to step in as necessary. The lead instructor is one of the most important, if not the most important, ingredient to ensure that simulator training remains effective and that the excitement generated early on during “Train the Trainer” sessions does not cease, causing the simulator not to be utilized as it should.
Training agencies can apply this supplemental training in different ways to improve training in general. Supplementation to an existing curriculum and not a replacement for curriculum is the correct application process.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: New paratransit aids customers, improves efficiencies" here.
Soon after reaching my 20th year in the transit industry, back in 1993, after a draining day of addressing routine bus issues, I would cross paths with another employee, who I always remember, seemed to be quietly “doing his own little daily gig.”
Years ago, I was with Louie Maiello when someone walked over and asked him for some advice: “We’re having problems with people remembering to secure the bus before they leave their seat. Do you have any advice? How can we get them to remember?” Without missing a beat, Louie said “PIN it.” The advice seeker happened to be a veteran mechanic, so he understood and walked away to resume his work. I stood there for a while scratching my head. Pin it?
Diagnose, Prescribe & Follow-Up, are the usual doctor’s actions that are utilized when visiting the doctor’s office for whatever is ailing us. This formula should also apply within your training department with regard to the ailment of Bus Collisions.
If we encourage our operators to treat operating a bus as a shift-long Zen moment, we may be able to reduce preventable crashes by a significant amount. The “Zen Operator,” who drives precisely at all times, is also less stressed. The Zen Operator flows through difficult, tight situations easily and their body language and vibe give passengers a sense of confidence. The operator whose passengers have a white-knuckle death grip on the back of the seat in front of them is not practicing “Zen Bus Operation.”
Ah, summer. Pool parties, barbecues, the smell of honeysuckle and the sight of lightning bugs. Or — a rise in crime, agitated riders seeking air conditioning, heat stroke, a new fiscal year, and the necessary, but unpopular, fare increases. However you view the summer months, with a direct correlation between high temperatures and increased crime, it's vital for transit leaders to be asking themselves, "Have we done everything possible to keep our people safe?"