Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) was crowned the Grand Champion for the second consecutive year at the 39th International Bus Roadeo, held in conjunction with APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Show in Kansas City, Mo., this week.
The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team score. The team from Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority of Clermont, Fla., (LYNX) took second place overall achievement honors, while the team from Oahu Transit Services Inc. (Honolulu) won third place overall achievement honors.
“I congratulate the competitors for an impressive display of skill in this year’s Bus Roadeo,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “These drivers and maintenance professional are dedicated to ensure that buses are in top form and driven with care and precision. Thanks to all who competed and we appreciate their focus on keeping passengers safe throughout the year as buses ride through summer sun, winter snow, and spring showers.”
In the 40-foot bus competition, Gabe Fernds of Wash.-based Spokane Transit Authority was named best driver in North America, beating out 53 other competitors. Taking second place in the 40-foot bus competition was Daniel Schmidt of Richland, Wash.-based Ben Franklin Transit (BFT), with Kevin Grady of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency taking third place.
In the 35-foot bus competition, BFT’s Gabe Beliz beat out 17 other competitors to take first place, with Julian Carranza Jr. of Texas’ Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority and David Hornbrook of Fort Worth Transportation Authority going home with second and third place, respectively.
Thirty-two teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly, with San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit taking first place, while the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Oahu Transit placed second and third, respectively.
The International Bus Roadeo is comprised of bus operators and mechanics from public transit systems across North America who participate in separate competitions, which showcase their skills in safe driving and vehicle maintenance.
The Operator Competition includes events such as judgment stops, turning and clearing obstacles. The Mechanic Competition requires skills in the identification of defects in engine, transmission, brake and HVAC modules. The pre-trip inspection for operators and multiplex troubleshooting for mechanics are incorporated as scored events.
In addition to recognizing excellence among bus operators and mechanics, APTA also crowned Kiunta Adamson of Ala.’s Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority as the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards, which judges professionalism, customer service skills and problem-solving creativity.