​Reno, NV – The Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver, CO took the top spot this year and was crowned the Grand Champion at the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 42nd Annual International Bus Roadeo.  The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team score.  Oahu Transit of Honolulu, HI team took second place overall achievement honors, while the team from Orange County Transportation Authority of Orange, CA won third place overall achievement honors.  The event was held in conjunction with the APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference in Reno, NV this week. 

“Congratulations to these individuals and systems which represent the best of our industry,” said APTA Acting President and CEO Richard White.  “This event defines who we are as an industry and what we do. It highlights how we excel at delivering safe, reliable transportation to the public every day. These bus operators and maintenance professionals provide access for people to earn a living, to connect with their community and contribute to the economy.”

In the 40-foot bus competition, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Kyle Jones driving for the Riverside Transit Agency (Riverside, CA) was named best driver in North America.  He beat out 61 other competitors to win the first-place award. Taking second place in the 40-foot bus competition was Kevin Grady driving for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, CA). Third place was claimed by Darvy Traylor driving on behalf of the Orange County Transportation Authority (Orange, CA).

In the 35-foot bus competition, Douglas Rego driving for Oahu Transit (Honolulu, HI) won first place and was crowned the best bus operator in North America in this category.  He beat out 19 other competitors. Taking second place was Robert Wood driving for the Intercity Transit (Olympia, WA). Claiming third place in the competition was Arthur Murillo, driving for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, TX).

Thirty-eight teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly.  RTD won first place in the maintenance competition.  The team from the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (Los Angeles, CA) earned a second place finish and the team from Oahu Transit (Honolulu, HI) received third place honors.In addition to recognizing excellence among bus operators and mechanics, APTA also crowned Benito Zavalza of OMNITRANS (San Bernadino, CA) as the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards.  This competition judges professionalism, customer service and problem-solving skills of bus operators as they face real-life scenarios.

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.

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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.  

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