Tri Delta Transit, officially known as Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, of Antioch, Calif., became the first-ever small operator to be named grand champion of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 2003 International Bus Roadeo.
Held in conjunction with APTA’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, the event took place Sept. 27 in the parking facilities of Utah Transit Authority’s Murray Central Station. The 28th International “Best of the Best” grand prize honor was given to the operator and maintenance teams with the top combined score.
The operators’ event measured various professional skills, including bus operation and knowledge of safety regulations, equipment and right-of-way rules and procedures. In the maintenance contest, mechanics were judged on their ability to trouble-shoot maintenance problems.
Operating a fleet of 60 fixed-route buses and 18 paratransit buses, Tri Delta outscored much larger counterparts such as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the King County (Wash.) Department of Transportation with a total score of 1,493 out of a possible 1,525. The two others placed second and third, respectively, with scores of 1,487 and 1,464.
Tri Delta Operator Gilbert Castro placed first in the 40-foot bus operator category. Its maintenance crew, consisting of mechanics Kevin Moody, Frank Garcia, Rich Babcock and Director of Maintenance Bill Luckhurst, placed sixth. This was CastroÕs fifth APTA roadeo appearance and the maintenance team’s fourth.
“As you can imagine, we’re very thrilled,” said Tri Delta CEO Jeanne Krieg, “and very, very proud of our team members and all of the other operators and mechanics.”
The entry of the maintenance team meant Tri Delta temporarily lost three of its eight mechanics, leaving the remaining staff working even harder to keep the system running smoothly.
“The mechanics left had to really put in some extra effort and time,” said Krieg. “It’s a little more significant to have our people gone than for a larger operator.”
Designed to encourage excellence and professionalism in bus transit operations, APTA’s 2003 International Bus Roadeo attracted 100 teams, including more than 200 participants from bus transit systems across North America. The association’s next roadeo competition will be held on Oct. 9 in Atlanta.