The State of Florida (Broward County and Orlando, Fla.'s LYNX) won the Grand Champion Award at the 35th International Bus Roadeo held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, this week. The Grand Champion award recognizes the bus operator and maintenance team that has the highest combined score.
Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro) garnered second place, while third place went to the team from Seattle, Wash.'s King County Metro Transit.
Frank Gonzales of Houston Metro was named best driver in North America, beating out 38 other competitors to win first place in the 40-foot bus competition. Second place was awarded to Rendol Whidden from The State of Florida (Broward County) and Zenon John Rinylo of Philadelphia's Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority received third place honors.
Abdel Kadar Tenouri of Star Tran/Capital Metro in Austin, Texas, won first place as the best bus operator in North America in the 30-foot category. Howard Yoder of Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus, Ohio received second place honors, while Julian Carranza Jr. of Texas' Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority earned third place. Fifteen bus operators competed in the Operator Competition for 30-foot buses.
Twenty-five teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics' abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly. The State of Florida — LYNX — won first place in the maintenance competition. The team from VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, Texas, earned a second place finish and the team from Community Transit in Everett, Wash. received third place honors.
The fifth annual Customer Service Challenge Awards, which judges professionalism, customer service skills, and problem-solving creativity, were also held at the conference. Frank Gonzales of Houston Metro was also the first place winner in this competition. Raymond Robertson III, of Texas' Fort Worth Transportation Authority earned a second place finish.