The bus industry got a chance to discuss some of the latest technological advances, including alternative fuel, power systems and non-bus technologies, at METRO’s Bus Technology Conference.
More than 100 people attended the conference held March 6 to 7 in Anaheim, Calif., where industry maintenance and technical staff, along with vendors and suppliers, were exposed to informative speakers and exhibits.
In his welcoming address, Al Pierce, maintenance manager for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), spoke about the rapid pace at which technological advances are being made and the importance of responding to those changes. “It’s important that everybody gets trained and up to speed on this new technology,” Pierce said.
Some notable forums: The Diesel Engine Update presented by Cummins Cal Pacific discussed onboard diagnostics, and I/O Controls explained electrical-multiplexing systems and their innovative capabilities. Also on hand with industry knowledge were Detroit Diesel and Allison Transmission.
Along with new technology comes the issue of retraining and updating staff.
“If we expect employees to repair these highly technical systems, we must give them the means to do so,” said Paul Condran, equipment maintenance assistant at the Culver CityBus.
To do that, Condran recommends supporting technical maintenance curriculums at community colleges, partnering with manufacturers for research and development and supporting technical staff by budgeting dedicated funds. He also said it is important to collaborate with other transit agencies and provide some computer-based or Internet training.
“Don’t expect technicians to understand the new system until you have reaffirmed the training several times. Train before and train after the equipment arrives,” he said.
Darrel Gaslan of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) said that CARB is trying to support maintenance programs at community colleges.
“It’s important PR to conduct proper maintenance per the manufacturer’s recommendations,” he said. “Test smoke levels at regular intervals after the engine has run.”