Kansas City, MO – The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority of Philadelphia, PA (SEPTA) achieved the great feat of being crowned the Grand Champion two consecutive years as they again took the top spot at the 39th International Bus Roadeo. The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team score. The State of Florida team took second place overall achievement honors, while the team from Oahu Transit Services, Inc. (Honolulu, HI) won third place overall achievement honors. The event was held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City, MO this week. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority hosted the event at Kemper Arena.
“I congratulate the competitors for an impressive display of skill in this year’s Bus Roadeo,” said APTA President and 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, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Gabe Fernds of Spokane Transit Authority (Spokane, WA) was named best driver in North America. He beat out 53 other competitors to win the first-place award. Taking second place in the 40-foot bus competition was Daniel Schmidt of Ben Franklin Transit (Richland, WA). Third place was claimed by Kevin Grady of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, CA).
In the 35-foot bus competition, Gabe Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit (Richland, WA) won first place and was crowned the best bus operator in North America in this category. He beat out 17 other competitors. Taking second place was Julian Carranza Jr. of Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority (Corpus Christi, TX). Claiming third place in the competition was David Hornbrook of Fort Worth Transportation Authority (Fort Worth, TX).
Thirty two 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 Oahu Transit Services, Inc. (Honolulu, HI) received third place honors.
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 Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (Birmingham, AL) as the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards. 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.