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Posts in Category: Awards

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.

Awards

Maple Grove Transit named state’s System of the Year 

Posted by John Komarek | Monday, October 22, 2018 12:27:00 PM

Maple Grove Transit was recognized this week as a leader among Minnesota transit agencies.

The Minnesota Public Transit Association announced Maple Grove Transit as its “System of the Year” during its annual conference on Monday.

The award follows decades of continued growth for Maple Grove Transit, which is led by a group of commissioners and customers.

Twenty years ago, there were just seven buses in Maple Grove’s fleet, with service between a few suburban churches and downtown Minneapolis. Today, there are about 40 Maple Grove Transit buses based out of the Martin J. Ruter Garage.

Metro Transit has been a contracted provider for Maple Grove Transit’s express bus services for the past 30 years. Staff from Metro Transit’s fare collections, street operations and customer relations departments also support Maple Grove Transit.

In 2017, customers took 836,000 rides on Maple Grove’s express bus routes.

“Our growth has been tremendous,” Transit Administrator Mike Opatz said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of the community members in our transit commission, the city council, front-line employees and Metro Transit. We thank them all for their continued partnership.”

Among several recent innovations is a service that allows Maple Grove Transit customers who leave their vehicles at a park and ride to have it picked up for service during the day.

 

 

Awards

Light rail leader named top transit professional 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, September 14, 2018 10:58:00 AM

Joan Hollick, Interim Director-New Starts Projects, at Target Field Station in Minneapolis. A leader in Metro Transit’s efforts to expand light rail in the Twin Cities has been recognized as one of the transit industry’s top young professionals.

Joan Hollick, who is serving as the interim director of Metro Transit’s New Starts program, is included on Mass Transit magazine’s annual Top 40 Under 40 list. The magazine published its tenth annual list of top professionals this week.

Hollick joined Metro Transit in 2015 as a deputy project director for the Green Line Extension. In this role, she was responsible for the budget, grants, environmental agreements and data management, among other areas.

She was named interim director of Metro Transit’s New Starts program following the retirement of Deputy General Manager Mark Fuhrmann. As interim director, Hollick is overseeing both the Green Line Extension and Blue Line Extension projects.

The Green Line Extension will bring light rail from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. Construction on what will be the largest public works project in state history is set to begin later this year. Service is scheduled to begin in 2023.

The Blue Line Extension will bring light rail from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park.

Hollick grew up in south Minneapolis, in a neighborhood that would later be served by the METRO Blue Line. She earned her undergraduate degree at Loyola University and a master’s in public policy and administration at Northwestern University.

After three years with the Chicago Transit Authority, she returned to Minnesota to work on the Green Line Extension.

“When I came home to visit, I could see how dramatically the neighborhood had changed for the better since the Blue Line opened in 2004,” she said. “Joining the Green Line Extension project was an incredible opportunity to leverage my experience in transit and make a positive impact on my community.”

While there have been challenges, Hollick has remained optimistic about bringing additional light rail service to the Twin Cities.

“We have overcome so many obstacles to advance projects that are vital to our region’s growth and sustainability,” she said. “We have achieved many milestones against the odds, and I’m proud to be part of this team.”

Several Metro Transit employees have been included on Mass Transit’s Top 40 Under 40 list over the years. The most recent recipients include Katie Roth, Manager of Bus Rapid Transit Projects, and Assistant Transportation Manager Chang Yang.

   > Read Mass Transit's profile of Joan Hollick

    > Awards and recognition 

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.

Awards Bus Safety

Bus operator training efforts receive national recognition 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, May 11, 2018 9:57:00 AM

Metro Transit’s efforts to improve safety through repeated and enhanced operator training have earned national accolades.

The American Public Transportation Association awarded Metro Transit with a Certificate of Merit at its Bus Safety & Security Awards this week. The awards recognize programs or projects that lead to documented success.

The Certificate of Merit acknowledges a range of training efforts led by the Safety Department, including:

  • > The use of on-board video footage to provoke conversation about avoidable safety incidents among new operators and operators going from part- to full-time. 
  • > Safety conferences with operators for all responsible and non-responsible collisions.
  • > Regularly-scheduled Safety Keys courses, coupled with customized training focused on winter driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety and distracted driving.

“The innovation is not that there is training, but rather that the training takes many forms, and is repeated, data driven, measured and season-specific,” Director of Safety Mike Conlon said.

There were 2.88 collisions for every 100,000 bus passenger miles in 2017, a historic low. The rate is especially notable since nearly half of bus operators have been at Metro Transit less than five years.  

In 2017, Metro Transit earned a Gold Award in APTA’s Rail Safety & Security Awards for outreach efforts related to light rail safety. 

Learn more about other recognition for Metro Transit and its employees

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