How well do you think you could reverse turn a 40-foot bus around traffic barrels without hitting them? Or execute serpentine maneuvers? How about doing this all while being judged in a friendly competition?
If just imagining it intimidates you, you’re not alone! For the professional drivers from U-M Transit Services and AAATA (TheRide), though, it’s their real-life experience. For the last three years they have been eager to test themselves in a driving skills competition called the Bus Roadeo.
This fun annual tradition brings together bus drivers from each organization for good-natured competition. Transit Supervisor Faye Taylor shares that it began in 2016. “We were contacted by AAATA asking if we had a spot on campus large enough to accommodate a bus roadeo. So I asked if we could join them. I explained this could bring our drivers together in a light atmosphere and see we’re all one on the road.”
Taylor adds, “After the first year both transit authority’s drivers were clamoring to participate for bragging rights.”
Competitors maneuver a course at the NC51 (Glazier Way) lot and are judged on criteria including customer stops, left and right-hand turns, left and right-hand reverse, emergency stops, serpentine, and more.
Supervisors and select non-competing drivers serve as judges. Other drivers, family and friends cheer each other on!
According to Bill McAllister, general manager of F&O Logistics, Transportation & Parking, “U-M and AAATA drivers play a key role in delivering transportation services on campus and in the community. The event is a great opportunity to showcase the skills and professionalism of our drivers. It’s also a great way for friends and families from both organizations to come together and have fun.”