Dallas Area Rapid Transit of Dallas, TX won the Grand Champion Award at the 37th International Bus Roadeo held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, CA, this week. The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team combined score. Winning second place overall achievement honors was the team from VIA Metro Transit (San Antonio, TX), and third place overall achievement honors went to the team from Oahu Transit Services, Inc. (Honolulu, HI).
Acknowledging the winners of the Bus Roadeo and the sixth annual Customer Service Challenge Awards, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said: “Today’s winners are shining examples of professional bus operators with high level skills, not only in driving, but in trouble shooting and customer relations. I congratulate all the winners and thank them for their dedication to providing first rate service to the riding public.”
In the 40-foot bus competition, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Ramon Farfan of Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Jacksonville, FL) was named best driver in North America, beating out 52 other competitors to win first place. Second place was awarded to Kevin Grady of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, CA), and Zennon Rinylo of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia, PA) received third place honors.
In the 35-foot bus competition, Arthur Murillo of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, TX) won first place as the best bus operator in North America, beating out 19 other competitors. Gabe Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit (Richland, WA) received second place honors, and Lloyd Eisemen of Jefferson Transit Authority (Port Townsend, WA) earned third place.
Thirty-one teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly. VIA Metropolitan Transit (San Antonio, TX) won first place in the maintenance competition. The team from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, (Los Angeles, CA) earned a second place finish and the team from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Dallas, TX) received third place honors.
Gerald Waters of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno, NV) 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.
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.