SamTrans Bus Roadeo Set to Return on August 30 by Will Reisman
The SamTrans Bus Roadeo—a skills test that allows operators and maintenance workers to show off their talents and abilities in a series of friendly competitions—is set to return on August 30 after a seven year absence.
The event will take place at the SamTrans North Base operating facility in South San Francisco, and will feature nearly three dozen competitors. Friends and family are also welcome at the Roadeo, which is expected to draw about 500 people overall.
Four different categories of operators will compete in a bus-driving course, where participants will be required to perform a series of difficult and technically-challenging driving maneuvers. The four categories will be comprised of SamTrans operators, maintenance workers and instructors, as well as contracted bus drivers.
In the maintenance competition, three 3-person teams will face off against each other in multi-test challenges that will feature a series of simulated vehicle problems and breakdowns. The respective squads will be tasked with diagnosing and repairing the issues in the timed contest.
The winners of the bus driving and maintenance courses will qualify for the International Bus Roadeo competition hosted by the American Public Transportation Association, a national advocacy group. That event is scheduled for May 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
SamTrans’ employees have an impressive history at the international level. In 1990, SamTrans operator Gary Johnson—competing against drivers from across America and Canada—captured the top prize at the International Roadeo in Houston. Edwin Freeman finished second in 2005 at Salt Lake City. In the last three years that the SamTrans maintenance team competed at the international level, they garnered three top-10 finishes.
The SamTrans Bus Roadeo was temporarily suspended in 2009, 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.
Along with the bus driving and maintenance competitions, the August 30 events at North Base will include activities and entertainment for children, BBQ dishes prepared by SamTrans employees, prize raffles and other family-friendly activities.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 76 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.