Central Ohio Transit Authority Wins Top Honors as Grand Champion at 2015 APTA International Bus Roadeo

 Best Transit Bus Operator, Maintenance Crew, Grand Champion
and Customer Service Challenge Winners Named

Fort Worth, TX – The Central Ohio Transit Authority of Columbus, OH was crowned the Grand Champion this year taking the top spot at the 40th Annual International Bus Roadeo.  The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team score.  The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, TX) team took second place overall achievement honors, while the team from Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia, PA) 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 Fort Worth, TX this week.  The T hosted the event at Billy Bob’s Parking Lot. 

“Our industry has highlighted the best of the best of talented drivers and maintenance professionals over the past 40 years and this year’s winners are shining examples that continue that legacy,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “I appreciate all the work these professionals put into maintaining and operating a safe and reliable fleet day in and day out. Thanks to all who competed and congratulations to the winners.”

In the 40-foot bus competition, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Kevin Grady driving for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, CA) was named best driver in North America.  He beat out 56 other competitors to win the first-place award. Taking second place in the 40-foot bus competition was Raul Abarca driving for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Dallas, TX). Third place was claimed by Robert Miles driving on behalf of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Washington, DC).

In the 35-foot bus competition, Gabe Beliz driving for Ben Franklin Transit (Richland, WA) 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 Howard Yoder driving for Central Ohio Transit Authority (Columbus, OH). Claiming third place in the competition was Julian Carranza, JR driving for the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority (Corpus Christi, TX).

Thirty-five teams competed in the Maintenance Competition, which tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly.  The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (Kansas City, MO) won first place in the maintenance competition.  The team from Oahu Transit Services, Inc. (Oahu, HI) earned a second place finish and the team from Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, TX) received third place honors.

In addition to recognizing excellence among bus operators and mechanics, APTA also crowned Victor A. Duran of SunLine Transit Agency (Thousand Palms, CA) as the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards.  This competition judges professionalism, customer service skills, and problem-solving creativity.

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. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.