"We've always used classroom lectures, and more recently professionally produced interactive CD's in training new drivers, but with video recordings showing our own drivers in action doing their jobs we're able to take our training to a whole new level," said CEO Greg Cook. "Our students are able to learn from the successes as well as from the mistakes of fellow drivers. It brings it home much more soundly when a student realizes he or she is watching a fellow employee driving an AATA bus, not some professional actor pretending to be a driver in some make-believe city.
"The use of in-house videos in our training program serves as an inspiration to all our new operators," Cook continued. "They are inspired by the thought that a video of them doing something particularly well could be shown someday to a group of new students, as well as reminded that if they do something particularly badly, that, too, may make them a star on the big screen.
"The next step in the use of cameras for training," Cook said thoughtfully, "will be to equip our onboard digital camera and sound system so it can be accessed in real time via the radio. That way our students can watch drivers operating their vehicles and interfacing with customers when it's actually happening. Thought is even being given to interfacing two-way radio communication so drivers can talk directly with students who are watching them at work from their classroom and give them pointers or answer their questions."
The Wave Transit System
At The Wave Transit System, safety is instilled in all of our new operators from their fi rst day of employment. The term, “If you can’t do it SAFELY, don’t do it!” is introduced to trainees immediately by our training team. Under contract with the city of Mobile to manage The Wave, First Transit places strong emphasis on personal safety through slogans such as above and through other safety programs.
The training program used by The Wave is the Transportation Safety Institute's Bus Operator Training Program. This program serves as the foundation for bus operations training. To complement the TSitraining program, the Smith System Driving Improvement Institute Inc.'s Defensive Driver training program is taught. This program uses five themes, or "keys," toward accident prevention. Also, extra training is afforded those trainees who do not possess a CDL license. This training includes help with the written test as well as the road test.
Strong emphasis on providing good customer service is another of The Wave Transit System's core values. During the training period, a member of our marketing department meets with the training class for a day and provides valuable customer service training tips and insight on the proper handling and treatment of riders. In addition, each new employee is given eight hours of sensitivity training by a person with a disability. This training provides a "real-world" look and feel from the perspective of a disabled person. Additionally, we have added severalother training modules that cover security awareness and blood borne pathogens.
Our training efforts do not end after a new employee has graduated and becomes a full-time employee. During the new employee's 90-day probation period, a number of safety audits and observations are performed. The audits and observations are performed by the employee's field manager and safety director. Upon successfully completing their 90-day probationary period, an annual safety audit is performed.
To support our training efforts, we use citizens' reports from our fleet monitoring program named Safety Alert Network. This program encourages the public to report any unsafe driving action performed by a bus or van operator. The program allows our safety department to identify any risky or unsafe activity or situation that may need immediate attention. Recently we received numerous reports of vehicles making unsafe lane changes on one particular road. This data allowed us to address the problem before it escalated into a more serious, accident situation. To energize our safety efforts and reward employee behavior, a safety incentive program named, Peavey's Safety Jackpot is used. We also award National Safety Council "Safe Driving" pins and do a "suggestion" of the month award.
Through these extra training measures, we have achieved a 20 percent reduction in accidents.