Immediate Release - March 22, 2012
Bus Operators will put their safe driving skills to the test as they compete for a chance to be crowned the best during the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) annual Bus Roadeo. The Roadeo will be held Saturday, March 24, starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Charlotte Vehicle Operations Center, located at 2725 Beam Road.
The Bus Roadeo encourages excellence and professionalism in Bus Operators and symbolizes the important role operators play in providing customers with safe, reliable service every day. Competing this year are over 20 Bus Operators from CATS' Bus Operations Division (BOD) and Special Transportation Service (STS), and Mecklenburg County Transportation System (MTS). During the competition, Bus Operators will navigate their vehicle through an obstacle course that includes several driving elements such as judgment stops, serpentine turns, backing maneuvers and clearing obstacles. They will be judged on how safely and timely they complete the course and on their professional appearance, pre-trip inspection and a written safety test.
The Bus Roadeo is an important part of CATS’ safety initiatives, testing the skills drivers use every day to make sure they safely arrive to a destination. Operators undergo intensive training before they get behind the wheel of a CATS bus, including a five-week session to learn the dos and don’ts of the road, Smith System defensive driving and road training and additional year-round retraining.
This attention to safety has helped CATS decrease its accident rate each year. CATS ended fiscal year 2011 with an overall vehicular accident rate of 0.35 per 100,000 miles, down from 0.40 per 100,000 miles the previous year. Last year, CATS Bus Operators travelled over 15 million miles and carried almost 20 million bus passengers. “Traveling more miles and moving more passengers each year makes it essential that CATS maintains focus on safety. We put significant emphasis on training to prepare our operators to handle a variety of situations from traffic congestion to inclement weather to meet customers’ needs so they are ready for the uncertainties of Charlotte roadways,” said Bryan Leaird, CATS’ General Manager of Safety and Security. “The Bus Roadeo is another way that we show our commitment to safety, while giving operators the chance to demonstrate their safe-driving skills on a local, state and national level.”
To learn more about CATS and its services, visit www.ridetransit.org or call 704-336-7433.