Metro Transit

MN: Metro Transit Honored with Industry's Top Safety Award

Metro Transit’s commitment to safety earned top honors this week from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Metro Transit earned APTA’s Gold Award for Bus Safety Excellence for the second time in five years in competition with other large transit agencies with more than 20 million annual rides. The award was presented to Metro Transit at APTA’s 2013 Bus Safety & Security Awards held during the organization’s annual Bus and Paratransit Conference which concluded yesterday in Indianapolis.

“We are fully committed to a culture of safety,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb. “The skill and dedication of our bus drivers is the cornerstone of our strong safety record, but this award also recognizes the ongoing efforts of our entire staff, including operations, maintenance, training, safety and communications.”

Beginning in 2009, cross-departmental teams at Metro Transit focused outreach and training on specific safety behaviors. These efforts helped the agency reduce the annual number of major collisions by 6.5 percent, saving $419,000 in annual claim payments. Metro Transit’s annual incident rate is about one-third lower than peer bus systems.

The Gold Award recognized these efforts by Metro Transit drivers and staff taken since 2009:

• A “Look & See” campaign focused on safe operation around pedestrians. It included creation of displays in bus garages, onboard ‘blind spot reminder’ decals as well as a training video about cyclists and traffic safety.

• Introduction of three-year mandatory recertification on the “Safety Keys” professional driving system.

• Production of a winter driving training video for bus drivers and addition of new aggressive-tread tires on the drive axles of longer 60-foot articulated buses to improve traction, especially in winter.

• Mandatory Transportation Safety Institute-certified coursework and testing on distracted driving and access to a distracted driving training simulator during annual Health and Safety Fairs for all bus operators.

• A policy change on electronic device use: As of 2009, bus drivers must turn off and stow devices while behind the wheel or face significant penalties.

Each year, APTA’s Bus Safety Committee appoints an independent awards subcommittee to choose the top agency for implementing programs or projects that achieve documented success in addressing specific safety areas. Metro Transit last won the Gold Award in 2009.