Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bus drivers compete in 2nd Annual Kansas Transit Roadeo

Kansas Transit Roadeo participants prepare to start an event. 

Bus drivers from across Kansas wrangled buses around obstacles during the Second Annual Kansas Transit Roadeo held Sunday, September 25 in Lawrence, Kansas.  The roadeo is a hands-on training event that highlights the skill set and camaraderie of transit drivers across the state. The drivers completed a series of obstacle courses, including backing up into tight spaces and maneuvering around tricky corners, while judges measured and observed their techniques, said Anne Lowder, training and outreach coordinator for the Kansas Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP).

A roadeo participant assists an individual in a wheelchair onto a lift during one of the events. 
“Bus driving is one of those skills that can always be improved. You can always be learning,” Lowder said.  “The transit roadeo shows off individual skills in a fun way, but it also provides the opportunity to demonstrate just how safe, knowledgeable, and customer-friendly transit drivers are when it comes to providing transportation to Kansas passengers.”

Lowder said the event also features skills such safely assisting an individual in a wheelchair onto a lift and into the bus, and pre-inspection of a bus. Part of the event includes outfitting a bus with various defects that the contestants must find.
Bob Nugent, director of Lawrence Transit, is one of the members of the Kansas Transit Roadeo Planning Committee and also a judge for the event. He noted that while the roadeo is a competition, it is lighthearted. “The event is for the employees who want to bring their families and show them what they do on a regular basis."      

This year 19 drivers from around the state competed. The 2016 Kansas Transit Roadeo winners were Michelle Brown, Topeka Metro, who took first place with a score of 698; Gabriel Valdovino, Unified Government Transit, who took 2nd place with a score of 670; and Brenda Martinez, City of Dodge City, who took third place with a score of 664. 
A judge observes a participant during the Kansas Transit Roadeo competition. 

The event was co-sponsored by Kansas Department of Transportation, University of Kansas Transportation Center, Kansas RTAP, ETSC, ATA Bus, Waters True Value, Kansas Truck, KPTA, GTM, Assurance Partners, Philadelphia Insurance, KCATA, Lawrence Transit, MV Transportation, Inc., The Merc Co-op, Lawrence CVB, and Unified Government of Kansas City/Wyandotte County.The 2016 Kansas Transit Roadeo was a great success, and plans are already under way for the next roadeo, in 2017. 

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