Topeka Metro Recognizes Success of Bus Operators

July 17, 2018
Topeka Metro recognized two outstanding bus operators for their recent achievements.

Topeka Metro recognized two outstanding bus operators for their recent achievements. Robert "Bob" Distefano, Topeka Metro bus operator, was named the 2018 Andrea Rakocy Burton Hospitality Award winner by the Greater Topeka Partnership on May 10th, 2018 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. Distefano was nominated by Visit Topeka. The award honors Burton’s service as Capitol Tour Center Coordinator, as well as her passion for tourism in Topeka. Distefano has worked in public transit his whole career (most of it back East), and he has a love for Topeka that he shares with passengers — especially people new to the city. 

Topeka Metro bus operator Michelle Brown competed in the 29th Annual National Community Transportation Roadeo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taking place on June 9th and 10th. Brown was the 1st place winner of the Kansas Transit Roadeo and was invited to compete in the 2018 National Roadeo competition courtesy of Kansas Department of Transportation. The national roadeo is an annual event featuring the best community and public transportation drivers in the nation, followed by a banquet and awards to the top competitors. 

Brown has been a bus operator for ten years with Topeka Metro. “We were thrilled to learn that Michelle was going to nationals," said Topeka General Manager Susan Duffy. "Topeka Metro is proud of Michelle’s accomplishments in Kansas and her representation of Kansas at the national level. She is a conscientious and safe driver and is very caring of her passengers; we are fortunate to have her as an operator." 

The National Community Transit Roadeo is the only national venue to honor and celebrate the value of rural and community transit operators, the backbone of the Community Transportation industry. This event draws drivers from around the country to compete for top scores on a course that tests skills on every level of the drivers' abilities. Brown competed in the Body-on-Chassis (BOC) vehicle portion of the competition, often known as cutaways and minivans. The national Community Transportation Roadeo is sponsored by the Community Transportation Association of America.