Industry Forum

Reno, Nev.

David Jicklilng

Director of Public Transportation and Operations

Regional Transportation Comission of Washoe County, Nevada

In Reno, Training Makes Transition to New Buses Easy

When the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada, prepared to launch its brand new bus rapid transit service known as RTC Rapid, it chose eight New Flyer articulated diesel-electric hybrid vehicles to run on the Virginia Street corridor. Putting them into operation required valuable hands-on training provided by New Flyer.

A heavily traveled route for tourists and employees who enjoy the resorts and casinos the region has to offer, the Virginia Street corridor extends from downtown Reno to the region’s major mall. The RTC received a combination of federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds and Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction money to purchase the accordion-style vehicles that will serve at least 14 new stations along the bus rapid transit route. Virginia Street is zoned as a transit-oriented development corridor, identified by the city of Reno as a place where bus rapid transit will stimulate economic development.

Vehicles went operational on October 31, coinciding with the opening of the RTC’s brand new transit center RTC 4th Street Station in downtown Reno. When the buses rolled, employees of Ride, the operations provider for RTC, were well prepared and ready to roll with the new route and station.

Within a month of the new launch, New Flyer representatives came to Reno to deliver hands-on, up-close and personal training on the new vehicles as part of their purchase. The 60-foot diesel-electric hybrid vehicles have their own unique electronics so having experts on site to show-and-tell was a real benefit.

Ride Maintenance Chief Joe Jackson said it was excellent training that really benefited the technicians here. Since training dollars are limited and travel restricted, having the quality training onsite saved resources for the system.

New Flyer sent Bobby Anderson, field service representative, to Ride maintenance for additional training on the articulated joint which is manufactured by Man Inc., and installed at the factory by New Flyer. Training included further extensive instruction on troubleshooting of problems that may occur. With New Flyer’s help in training the trainer, as new employees come online, the new technologies will be introduced as part of standard training conducted on a one-on-one basis.

Training in new technologies has become more critical as the bus industry utilizes new and innovative ways to maximize fuel and operational efficiencies. New technologies are typically implemented with new fleet purchases.  Vendors are required to provide on-site training at least three weeks in advance of vehicle delivery. All shop supervisors and technicians attend classroom and hands-on training sessions. A shop supervisor and a master electronic technician are assigned to provide annual refresher classes, as well as to provide on-site technical expertise. Proficiency for troubleshooting components by the technicians is evaluated periodically. Refresher training is provided.

New Flyer’s good foundation will make future training easier and less expensive for transit providers.