Four SamTrans employees will represent the agency at an international skills competition next year as a result of their victories in the SamTrans Bus Roadeo, held on August 28.
A friendly contest among colleagues, the SamTrans roadeo featured a bus driving course, where participants showed off their skills by navigating vehicles through narrow pathways while also performing technically difficult maneuvering and parking exercises. The roadeo also included a maintenance competition, which pitted three-man teams of mechanics responsible for diagnosing and solving a series of simulated vehicle problems.
SamTrans operator Ariel Hale captured the driving competition, while the team of Ryan Plante, Bruce Jenson and Gabriel Kozlosky took home the top prize in the maintenance contest. The maintenance team repeated their victory from last year’s event.
As a result of their victories, the four SamTrans employees qualified for the International Bus Roadeo Competition, to be held in Reno, Nevada from May 5 – 9, 2017. Hosted by the American Public Transportation Association, an advocacy organization, the international roadeo showcases bus operators and mechanics from agencies across North America.
The quartet of winners will look to repeat the past successes of SamTrans employees at the international competition. In 1990, operator Gary Johnson finished first in the bus driving competition, while SamTrans’ maintenance teams compiled top-10 finishes in the last three years they competed.
The SamTrans Bus Roadeo was temporarily suspended after the 2008 event, due to the economic recession and the long, slow national recovery. With the economy showing increasing strength, SamTrans’ union and management collaborated to bring back the event last year.
SamTrans declined to send the winners of last year’s Bus Roadeo to the International competition in Charlotte, due to North Carolina’s HB2 law.
Along with the maintenance and driving competitions, the SamTrans Bus Roadeo on Sunday featured plenty of family-friendly activities, food prepared by agency employees and a raffle with assorted prizes. Some 600 people attended the roadeo, which was held at the SamTrans North Base facility in South San Francisco.
This year’s Roadeo took on particular significance, as it coincided with the 40th anniversary of SamTrans. The agency will host a free public event on September 10 to formally celebrate 40 years of bus service on the Peninsula. That gathering will take place at the San Mateo County Event Center, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 79 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.