Our training program is constantly
being updated and evolving to meet
the ever-changing road environment
and the needs of our customers and
Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
The goals of a transit agency could be stated in grand terms. However, the goals continue to be rather basic - to provide safe, reliable and courteous transportation. A well-trained and motivated bus operator workforce is essential to achieving these goals.
At the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), each new operator receives six weeks of training, which consists of three weeks of classroom and vehicle-specific training and three weeks of in-service training. The course is designed to provide operators with basic skills.
In addition to being flexible with regard to training methods, KCATA instructors recognize that training doesn't stop with the completion of the initial training course. KCATA instructors closely monitor and mentor new hires throughout their probationary period. Our open-door policy allows operators to contact instructors to discuss any problem they may have.
KCATA recently started a new program with the establishment of a formal refresher- training program. The goalof this program is to rotate half of the bus operator workforce through the program per year, so that alloperators willexperience the refresher training biennially.
KCATA refresher training courses are designed to reinforce training and information previously given to operators. Our current refresher-training curriculum includes modules on the Americans with Disabilities Act - Provision of Service Requirements, Customer Service, Defensive Driving, Fares, Radio Operation and Operating Rules. The small group setting allows for lively interaction between new and veteran operators as well as management. Operators are encouraged to express their concerns, and management is committed to responding and addressing the concerns. Response to the training has been overwhelmingly positive, with 95 percent of the operators rating the program "very good" to "excellent".
On an as-needed basis, remedial training sessions are tailored to a specific performance deficiency. When situations arise with an individual student, the instructors will give the necessary attention to that student to resolve the matter. Sometimes, the situation requires one-on-one training to address a specific skill deficiency. If one instructor is not successful in addressing the problem, another instructor will work with the student.
The strength of our training is the actual training staff and the individualized attention given to our students. The training staff is annually required to attend classroom instruction on effective training and teaching techniques. In turn, they are expected to bring this "best practices" knowledge back to KCATA and apply it to our workforce.
Always looking for innovative ways to improve, the next phase of the training and safety program is currently moving forward. Plans are underway to construct a separate facility at the KCATA headquarters for the purpose of housing and expanding the agency's training program. This facility will include training classrooms, offices for the training staff and workstations for the newly created transitional work program. The centerpiece of this new training complex will be a state-of-the-art bus driving simulator system and supporting workstations. The simulator will become an integral aspect of new hire training, as well as remedial training and accident avoidance training.
KCATA continues to be proactive in promoting its training efforts. In a unique program, we are collaborating with a local educational institution, Longview Community College, in the development of a precision driving facility. The facility is designed to simulate various driving situations and conditions. It will include a 200' x 500' skid pad, a 200' x 200' skills pad and an urban driving course. The facility will allow reinforcement of training skills introduced on the bus simulator and provide a permanent roadeo and CDL skills course. While this will be an outstanding facility for KCATA, the community college will use this permanent site for the purpose of retraining displaced workers for jobs that require CDL certifications.