November 25, 2015
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Bus Operator Summer Review

School may be out for the summer, but here at MTD classes are in session. Bus Operator Summer Review Training began June 9 and continues through August. Every summer, classes of operators are brought in daily to spend time with staff in the classroom and with trainers out on the road.

Morning, Classroom!

Report time is 7:00 am. Jim Dhom, Safety & Training Director provides a year-in-review for 30 minutes. He covers safety reminders, issues (good and bad) from the past year, and areas to focus on in the coming year.

Then between 7:30 and 9:00 am, four different staff people come through to give presentations on sustainability, market research results, website training, and employee benefits.

The final presentation is from Adam Shanks, Safety & Training Director Designate. Shanks covers attention performance and improved awareness through a one-hour training that provides operators with resources they can tap into while driving.

Afternoon, Bus Roadeo!

This year, Dhom and Shanks put together a bus roadeo of activities. Five experienced MTD trainers guide the operators in summer review through six different rounds of activities. Each lasts 45 minutes. Drivers rotate through five different skills in each of the six rounds (which gives each operator one break). The first rotation begins at 10:15 am and the day is shut off at 2:45 pm.

Skill 1: Evacuation, Fire Extinguisher, and Wheelchair Securement

Vehicle: 2011 40-foot bus

"CUMTD" "MTD" "practice fire extinguisher" "fire"

The best time to practice using a fire extinguisher is when the fire is planned and controlled!

"fire extinguisher" "safety"

Bus fires are rare but they happen. Knowing how to use the tools available in an emergency is key to safety!

Skill 2: Air Brake Test and Maneuvers

Vehicle: 2011 40-foot bus

The air brake test is one portion of the Commercial Driver’s License test along with three driving maneuvers. Pictured below is one of the three; it is called a judgment stop because the operator cannot see the cone once s/he gets very close to it.

"CDL maneuver" "judgment stop"

The bus approaches the judgement stop.

"judgement stop" "maneuver" "cone"

The operator must be six to twelve inches from the cone in order to pass.

Another maneuver operators are doing is parallel parking a bus. This is a new maneuver and will be added to the Illinois CDL test this year. Nearly every operator in summer review will be doing this maneuver for the first time.

"parallel parking" "bus" "cones" "cumtd" "mtd"

A new maneuver for MTD operators and the CDL test.

Skill 3: Smith and Safety Drive Evaluation

Vehicle: 2013 40-foot bus

This skill involves driving around the community. But the difference from day-to-day work is having the close examination of an MTD trainer.

Skill 4: Serpentine

Vehicle: 2001 60-foot bus

This maneuver is impressive! A 60-foot bus snakes through a line of cones to prove awareness of the articulated bus’s pivot point. And of course it is (ideally) completed without hitting a single cone.


"serpentine maneuver" "60-foot bus" "articulated"

The bend in a serpentine maneuver is extreme. The bus gets close to a 45 degree angle so it can pivot around the cones.

"serpentine" "maneuver" "cumtd" "MTD" "bus"

Close to the cones is good with this maneuver! But if a cone goes down, so does your score.

"serpentine maneuver" "cumtd" "mtd"

Around the cone the other way!

Skill 5: Smith and Safety Drive Evaluation

Vehicle: 2011 60-foot bus

The goal is the same as in Skill 3 only this time the operator is in a 60-foot bus instead of a 40-foot.

Cheers to Dhom, Shanks, and MTD’s knowledgeable trainers for planning another year of Summer Review Training!


About Amy Snyder

Amy Snyder is the Customer Service Manager at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. She writes and manages content for this blog, The Inside Lane, as well as the social media pages for CUMTD.
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