Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
(SEPTA) won the Grand Champion Award at the American Public Transportation Association
’s (APTA) 38th International Bus Roadeo. Held in conjunction with the Bus and Paratransit Conference in Indianapolis, it was hosted by IndyGo and took place at the Allison Transmission Test Track.
The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team combined score. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) took second place overall achievement honors, while the team from Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) won third place overall achievement honors.
"I want to congratulate the winners of the 2013 International Bus Roadeo," said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. "All the winners are model examples of excellence in the public transportation industry."
In the 40-foot bus competition, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Paul Klimesh of Iowa-based Ames Transit Agency was named best driver in North America, beating out 50 other competitors to win first place. Taking second place in the 40-foot bus competition was Daniel R. Schmidt of Ben Franklin Transit in Richland, Wash. Third place was claimed by SEPTA’s Zenon Rinylo.
In the 35-foot bus competition, Gabriel Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit won first place as the best bus operator in North America, beating out seventeen of other competitors. Taking second place was Julian Carranza Jr. of Texas-based Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, while third place went to the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s Howard Yoder.
Thirty-two teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly. SEPTA won first place in the maintenance competition. The team from OCTA earned a second place finish and the team from Metro received third place honors.
Will Webb of Delaware Transit Corp. was the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards, which was also held at the conference. This competition judges professionalism, customer service skills, and problem-solving creativity.
Competitors in this year’s Bus Roadeo represented 28 states and three Canadian provinces.