The annual skills competition offered awards in five categories, each designed to measure the abilities of either bus operators or technicians.
"All the winners are models of excellence in public transportation," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy, noting that this year’s Roadeo was held at the Allison Transmission Test Track. “I also want to thank Allison Transmission for working to make this year’s Roadeo a tremendous success. That partnership is a good example of teamwork."
Allison Transmission has long partnered with organizations engaged in promoting excellence within the city bus industry inside North America, where it is the largest supplier of both fully-automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems for city buses.
An Allison-equipped hybrid test vehicle was used in the 12-meter bus competition, characterized by APTA as the “ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills.”
Paul Klimesh of the Ames Transit Agency in Iowa was named ‘Best Driver in North America,’ beating out 50 other competitors to win first place at his 13th Roadeo appearance.
“You cannot beat automatics for a smooth ride,” said Klimesh, who has been driving for almost 20 years, “but I also like hybrids because of the regenerative breaking feature.”
Approximately 500 people attended this year's Roadeo, with the overall grand prize awarded to the public transit system with the highest combined operator and maintenance team scores. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) won the Grand Champion Award, also beating out all other 31 teams in the Maintenance Competition, which requires timed identification and resolution of performance related issues in seven different events.
Joe Miller, SEPTA Technician First-Class and Maintenance Competition team member, reveled in earning first-place honors at his fifth Roadeo. “Our fleet is extremely hard on transmissions,” Miller admitted. “Philadelphia streets are steep, and congested traffic means excessive heat and wear on our buses. That is why we prefer Allison transmissions. Issues are rare and minor, meaning they can be addressed internally, which saves us a lot of money.”