September 20th, 2019

City’s bus drivers showcase ‘road-eo’ skills

By Medicine Hat News on August 24, 2019.

Dwight Lampart performs a pre-trip walk-around inspection, part of city bus drivers' performance at the transit department's "Bus Roadeo" competition on Friday. A dozen drivers took part in the friendly competition, earning marks for driving skill and on-the-job knowledge under the watchful eye of judge Melissa MacKenzie (right) of the city's health and safety office.--NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT

Local bus drivers took their know-how and driving skill to the “road-eo” on Friday, taking their trade to the Stampede grounds for a driving competition.

It was described as part team-building exercise, part refresher course for drivers, and a chance for dignitaries and the media to experience the difficulties of piloting a 40-foot vehicle.

The event was the first of its kind in Medicine Hat in nearly 25 years, and the morning included an event for media and dignitaries to try their hands at navigating the course.

About 13 city drivers took part, with volunteers acting as spotters and judges.

“The main objective to test the driver’s skill and ability to manoeuvre around obstacles,” said Simon Amos, head of the transit department. “It’s an eight-hour day of city driving, and they’re professional drivers, and they have to be skillful.

“It’s a formal but fun environment … that reinforces safety.”

The city’s drivers, who hold class 2 licences with air brake certification, were graded on a pre-trip inspection performance and scored points for thoroughness as well as spotting several areas of concern.

The main event was a run-through of a course on the Medicine Hat Stampede fairgrounds, including accurately judging curb stops, a low-clearance obstacle, slalom and pulling through a narrow stretch that measured the width of the bus plus eight inches.

Public transit drivers and mechanics compete in provincial and international competition each year, but local officials say, having just restarted the event in Medicine Hat, there’s no immediate plans to send employees on to higher competition.

A similar provincial school bus competition was held in Red Deer in June ahead of the international competition in July.

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