By ANNETTE THEOBALD, Semcac Planning and Development Director
It was a sunny 83 degrees in St. Charles, Minnesota on August 1st. At 9:00am, Rolling Hills Transit bus drivers and other Semcac Transportation staff gathered at the St. Charles County Fair Grounds for their first Transportation rodeo event! This was a fun reason to gather the bus drivers for a day filled with entertaining and competitive driver challenges. Transportation Director, Erlene Welshons, was very pleased that the event came together so smoothly with the coordinating efforts of the Compliance & Marketing Manager, Mike Rizzo, and the Operations Manager, Amber Duncan.
The various tests polished driving skills and refined, already remarkable, customer service and safety knowledge. The first station was a bus driving obstacle course, where carefully plotted neon cones were placed on the lawn. The driving course consisted of a curb stop or “passenger assistance area”, “diminishing clearance”, a sharp right turn and concluded with a quick “judgement stop” (after reaching 20 mph). Each of the course challenges were scored. The obstacle course was followed by a staged pre-driving inspection; a bus was prepped with a total of 8 items that were purposely removed or tampered with that the drivers needed to identify. The rodeo challenges concluded with a test of the driver’s wheelchair skills. Drivers were tasked to load a wheelchair rider onto the bus using proper lift technique, secure the chair and strap the rider inside of the bus with correct shoulder/lap belt placement. Steps were scored. There was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner for the entire rodeo, based on total score.
Since this was a Saturday event, the drivers were welcome to bring family. Children’s giggles floated among dancing iridescent bubbles and twirling hula hoops in the pavilion, spouses tossed bean bags. After the rodeo challenges were complete, everyone gathered for a delicious pulled pork sandwich and salad lunch. It was a successful and amusing event and everyone left wearing a Rolling Hills Transit Rodeo t-shirt and a smile.
Read online — http://mpta-transit.org/newsletters/August2015InTransit.pdf (see page 10)