Skip to main content For screen readers, our previous mobile pages might be more easily navigated while we continue to improve the accessibility of our website.

 

Posts in Category: Safety

Bus Safety

Born in Twin Cities, Bus Roadeo becomes enduring tradition 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, September 13, 2019 12:42:00 PM

Bus operators who compete in Metro Transit's Bus Roadeo are continuing a tradition that began with a simple idea nearly a half-century earlier.

Mike Hughes became a bus operator for what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) in 1972. After a few years, he moved into the executive department and offered a suggestion.

"I always thought it'd be great to find out who the best driver in the system was so I came up with this idea that we should have a skilled driving competition," Hughes said. "I proposed the idea, and six months later I was called up to the office. They pulled out my memo and said, 'We decided we want to do this and, since you came up with the idea, you can put it together.'"

Hughes left the the MTC in 1984 and recounted his role in the Roadeo's history from his home in Grand Rapids, Minn.

After getting the go-ahead, Hughes spent the summer of 1975 figuring out what the competition would look like. Like today, it included a written test, pre-trip inspection and a course where operators weaved through cones, drove in reverse and completed other maneuvers that demonstrated how precisely they could handle the bus.

Around 80 operators participated in the first competition, held in the parking lot of the old Metropolitan Stadium in September 1975. Police officers from around the region served as judges.

"When you're doing something for the first time there's always that little shadow of doubt and you wonder, 'Is this going to work?'" Hughes said. "But when we all got together for breakfast before the event, I just knew this was going to be a great thing and it was."

Thirty top finishers competed again in a second round held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Hughes can't recall who won, but photos from the award competition ended up on the front page of American Public Transportation Association's monthly newsletter.

After that publicity, transit agencies across the country began calling MTC asking for advice on hosting competitions of their own. To help spread the idea, Hughes put together a guidebook and spent several years on a national organizing committee.

APTA hosted its first international Bus Roadeo in 1976 in San Francisco, Calif. Top bus operators from across the country have been competing annually ever since. The competition also now includes technicians.

Looking back, Hughes, who has never competed himself, said he never imagined his idea would become so widespread or enduring. "I didn't know how far this would go, if it would be a local event or what would be the deal," he said.

Repeat Roadeo champ earns another title

View the list of Metro Transit Bus Roadeo champions

Awards Bus Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis Safety

Sarah Gibson claims Rail Rodeo crown with calm demeanor 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:42:00 PM

Rail Supervisor Connie Skinner (top left) scores Train Operator Sarah Gibson during Metro Transit's 2019 Rail Rodeo. Train Operators Joe Bretto (top right) and Mose Mahir (bottom right) perform pre-trip inspections during the contest.

Train Operator Sarah Gibson’s laid-back approach won her Metro Transit’s Rail Rodeo crown last Saturday.

“I really didn’t do much to prepare. This is what I’ve been doing for five years now so operating a train is almost second nature, and I’ve always been pretty good at written tests,” said Gibson, who has worked for Metro Transit for seven years, the first two as a bus operator.

Gibson will represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Rail Rodeo in Toronto in June. She also was named the Green Line’s Garage Champion, a new award this year, and won a jacket.

Joining her in Toronto will be fellow Train Operator Joe Bretto, who placed third. Train Operator Paul Gillespie placed second but is unable to attend.

During the skills competition, operators were judged on the thoroughness of a pre-trip inspection and their operation of a light rail vehicle in the rail yard and on the Blue Line. They also took a written exam on light rail rules and had to pass a uniform inspection.

This wasn’t Gibson’s first Rail Rodeo. In 2017, the only other time she’s competed, she finished third. She was also a finalist in the 2013 Bus Roadeo.

Gibson is taking the same relaxed approach to the international competition that she took to the local one.

“I enjoy my job and do it the best I can every day, so I suppose I’ll just keep doing that,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s family will join her in Toronto to cheer her on. They also hope to catch a Toronto Blue Jays game since the team will be at home during the competition dates.

Meanwhile, Metro Transit’s reigning Bus Roadeo champion, Heywood Operator Jack Berner, will compete in APTA’s International Bus Roadeo in May. This is expected to be Berner’s final Roadeo before retirement. He has won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo seven of the past 12 years.

Metro Transit’s annual Bus Roadeo will be held in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 14, Tuesday, Sept. 17, Wednesday, Sept. 18 and Thursday, Sept. 19.

Safety Transit Police

New transit police officers speak many languages, share desire to be role models 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Friday, December 21, 2018 11:15:00 AM

Growing up in Cambodia, Soonem Teng’s family fled their home several times to escape raids by the Khmer Rouge.

That experience helped point Teng toward a career in law enforcement. On Thursday, he was among 16 new officers sworn in by the Metro Transit Police Department. 

“As a kid, I always wanted someone to step up and help,” Teng said. “Now I want to be that person for others.”

Teng’s experience was not uncommon among his peers. Several of the department’s new officers grew up during warfare in faraway lands, became refugees and were befriended at some point by police officers.

In addition to Teng, who speaks Cambodian, the new group includes officers who speak Burmese, Chinese, Somali, Spanish, American Sign Language and Igbo, a West African language.

Ahmed Dualeh was born in Somalia while the country was in the throes of a civil war, an experience that led him to see police as peace keepers. Dualeh’s outlook has also been formed by his time at a Ramsey County Corrections Officer.

As a police officer, he hopes to be a positive force before troubles mount. “I can talk to younger people and help them by being a role model,” he said.

The prospect of becoming a role model also appeals to Peter Wameng Yang, who is fluent in Hmong. “Becoming a role model to the Hmong population and teaching the community about the Hmong culture is a goal I set many years ago,” he said. “I am getting a step closer.”

The new group of officers also includes former security guards, volunteer police reservists, military veterans and Community Service Officers.

The department gained its first sibling duo, too. Kevin McCabe’s older brother, Pat McCabe, has been with the department since 2014.

With the additional officers, the Metro Transit Police Department now has 101 full-time officers and 59 part-time officers. The new group was brought in partly to support the C Line, a Bus Rapid Transit service replacing Route 19 in 2019.

Before Thursday’s swearing in ceremony, the recruits completed the department’s custom, 10-week academy and spent another four months working alongside field training officers.

Metro Transit police officers can respond to calls from throughout the seven-county region but primarily focus on patrolling the transit network.

 

Metro Transit Police Department Swearing in Ceremony

Bus Safety

Repeat Roadeo champ earns another title 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Heywood operator Jack Berner won the 2018 Metro Transit Bus Roadeo. The sleeve of Jack Berner’s grey Metro Transit sweater is already home to an impressive collection of blue chevrons commemorating each of his 13 Bus Roadeo wins.

And now he has one more. After earning a near-perfect score, Berner was named the 2018 Bus Roadeo champion this week.

With each win, he earns bragging rights, a trophy and a blue chevron to stitch onto his uniform. “I think I can fit another one on there,” the 29-year operator said this week. 

Berner has competed in 22 Bus Roadeos and won six of the past seven years. He narrowly missed the top spot in 2016.

On the Roadeo course, operators maneuver around cones, tennis balls and signs, winning points for precision. Top finishers can be separated by less than a few inches.

Berner says his success comes not just from experience but an innate ability to judge distances.

“I don’t really have a set thing, I’ve just always been really good at estimating,” Berner said.

Participating in the Roadeo for the first time, fellow Heywood operator Bradley Schnieder turned to the perennial champ for advice.

It worked. Schnieder, a five-year operator, had the best score among this year’s first-time participants, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

Heywood operator Kenneth Schmoll took second overall and East Metro operator David Palm took third. The top finishers from other garages were:

  • > Timothy Hnida, Ruter Garage
  • > Mark Ogburn, Nicollet Garage
  • > Doug John, South Garage
Awards Light Rail Safety Transit Police

Super Bowl Security efforts gain national acclaim 

| Tuesday, June 12, 2018 2:20:00 PM

U.S. Bank Stadium Station, shortly before Super Bowl LII.Efforts to safely transport thousands of Super Bowl fans were recognized last week by the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA presented Metro Transit with a Gold Award for Rail Security on Sunday during an awards ceremony in Denver, Colo. The awards were part of APTA’s International Rail Rodeo activities.

The award reflects the extraordinary efforts Metro Transit put forward on gameday and during more than a week of pre-game festivities.

To maintain a secure perimeter while still allowing fans to take light rail to U.S. Bank Stadium, ticket holders who took light rail on gameday were pre-screened at light rail stations – a first for the event.

Metro Transit also played a key role in event preparations, hosting table top drills and exercises and coordinating with more than 75 law enforcement agencies.  

The preparations helped Metro Transit overcome multiple last-minute challenges, including snow, system and light rail vehicle failures and a civil disruption on the Green Line.

More than 210,000 additional rides were taken over more than a week's worth of Super Bowl events, leading the Green and Blue lines and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line to their highest-ever January ridership totals.

The award comes just weeks after APTA presented Metro Transit with a Certificate of Merit at its Bus Safety & Security Awards. The award recognized efforts to improve safety through repeated and enhanced operator training.

Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >>

Skip footer navigation

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US ON: