Dallas Area Rapid Transit of Dallas, Texas won the Grand Champion Award at the 37th International Bus Roadeo held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, Calif., this week. The Grand Champion Award recognizes the system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team combined score. Winning second place overall achievement honors was the team from Via Metro Transit (San Antonio, Texas), and third place overall achievement honors went to the team from Oahu Transit Services, Inc. (Honolulu, Hawaii).
Acknowledging the winners of the Bus Roadeo and the sixth annual Customer Service Challenge Awards, APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy said: “Today’s winners are shining examples of professional bus operators with high level skills, not only in driving, but in trouble shooting and customer relations. I congratulate all the winners and thank them for their dedication to providing first rate service to the riding public.”
In the 40-foot bus competition, which is the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills, Ramon Farfan of Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Jacksonville, Fla.) was named best driver in North America, beating out 52 other competitors to win first place. Second place was awarded to Kevin Grady of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, Calif.), and Zennon Rinylo of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia, Pa.) received third place honors.
In the 35-foot bus competition, Arthur Murillo of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, Texas) won first place as the best bus operator in North America, beating out 19 other competitors. Gabe Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit (Richland, Wash.) received second place honors, and Lloyd Eisemen of Jefferson Transit Authority (Port Townsend, Wash.) earned third place.
Gerald Waters of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno, Nev.) was the first place winner of the Customer Service Challenge Awards, which was also held at the conference. This competition judges professionalism, customer service skills, and problem-solving creativity.