The Alexandria Transit Company, which operates the DASH bus system, won top honors while hosting the 2022 Virginia State Bus Roadeo from April 8-10.
The Virginia State Bus Roadeo tests the skills and expertise of Virginia transit agencies’ bus operators and maintenance professionals in a timed competition. Bus operators drive through an obstacle course reflecting maneuvers that bus operators encounter daily, including turns, courtesy stops and navigating tight spaces in either a 35-foot or 40-foot bus. Operators are also judged on the presentation and appearance of their uniforms, safety, the smoothness with which they maneuver through these obstacles, and their ability to identify defects on their bus during a pre-trip inspection. In the maintenance portion of the competition, mechanics must discover and diagnose defects in multiple critical systems, including the operator’s instrument panel, HVAC system and brakes.
DASH bus operators Yigereme Belayneh, Lonnell Glover, Clarence Jackson and Everett Warren won the First Place Overall Bus Operator Team award. This award is presented to the team with the highest combined scores from both the 35-foot and 40-foot bus categories. Lonnell Glover and Clarence Jackson placed first and third, respectively, in the 35-foot bus operator category. Lonnell Glover also took home the Virginia Transit Liability Pool Chairperson’s Award which recognizes the operator with the highest combined safety score. Additionally, Everett Warren won the inaugural Maria Boone Rookie of the Year Award. This award recognizes an operator who displays the same determination and passion in their first-ever Virginia State Bus Roadeo competition that Maria Boone, Williamsburg Area Transit Authority’s former Safety Security & Training Manager, brought to her many years of work within the Virginia transit community and the Virginia State Bus Roadeo. Rounding out the DASH operator awards was Lonnell Glover who received the First Place Overall Bus Operator Award. Glover will represent the Commonwealth of Virginia at the 2023 International Bus Roadeo.
DASH mechanics also wrangled a historic victory for the agency, with teammates Luis Oliva, Keion Piper and Elmostafa Guelfaa placing second in the Maintenance Team category. This is the first time the DASH Maintenance team has ever placed in the Virginia State Bus Roadeo.
“This year’s Roadeo was a resounding success for DASH both as the host and as competitors,” said DASH General Manager/CEO Josh Baker. “We are immensely proud of our operators and mechanics for their expert demonstration of all the technical skills, safety, and expertise that our riders and community benefit from every day.”
Participating transit agencies included: Alexandria Transit Company, Arlington Regional Transit, Blacksburg Transit, Charlottesville Area Transit, Fairfax Connector, Greater Lynchburg Transit Company, Greater Richmond Transit Company, OmniRide, Petersburg Area Transit and Radford Transit.
The 2022 Virginia State Bus Roadeo banquet and awards presentation included special remarks from Alexandria City Councilmember and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Chairperson Canek Aguirre as well as the Alexandria Transit Company Board of Directors Chairperson David Kaplan.
The 2022 Virginia State Bus Roadeo was sponsored by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, New Flyer, Sonny Merryman, United Safety and Survivability Corporation, Proterra, Gillig, Opticom Global Traffic Technologies, Cummins, Thermo King, Clever Devices, Downtown Garage and Auto Body, Rosemont Landscaping, Bus Stuff, Johnson and Towers and Classic Building.